For the third time in his tenure, and the second year in a row, Mitch Gaspard's Tide team has failed to reach an NCAA regional.
This year was a dominating campaign for the SEC, moreso than usual for the juggernaut conference. Of the conference's fourteen teams, seven finished the season in the top 10. Those seven not only made the tournament, but are hosting regionals: LSU*, Florida*, Texas A&M*, Ole Miss, Mississippi State*, Vanderbilt, South Carolina -- those four marked with asterisks? They are half of the national seeds for College World Series play.
Meanwhile, the SEC's middle tier, Alabama and Florida, finished 62nd and 60th respectively in RPI. Neither were invited to the dance, and both finished nearly 20 spots below the lowest-ever RPI for an at-large bid (43rd.)
What will happen, will happen. Gaspard has a year-to-year contract, the most recent of which is expiring this season. It is a bad look -- at some point, numbers do not lie: Gaspard's clubs have finished fully 20 games below .500 over seven seasons; in nearly half of those campaigns Alabama has missed a regional; the Tide has only advanced once -- Mitch's first season. Overall, the former recruiting coordinator for Jim Wells has won just over half his games in Crimson and White: 233-191 (.554).
The other number is this: $30 million dollars -- that is the price of the newly-renovated Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Those dollars are not earned easily nor justified without results.
We will not call for Gaspard's firing here: by all accounts he is a very good man that players love and has brought in talent to the Capstone. But, at the end of the day -- RPI, regional berths, regional record, conference record, overall record, attendance, and $30 million dollars -- those numbers will be considered by Mitch's bosses and by ticket-holders, stake holders, boosters, and alumni who demand better.
****UPDATE: The University announced Gaspard's resignation Monday:
"While that conversation was supposed to serve as a prelude to our annual postseason discussion on the state of the program, I accepted his resignation only on the basis that it would not officially be in effect until our season had formally concluded. It's clear to me that Mitch had made up his mind, and I respect his wishes."
Good luck to Mitch in his future endeavors, and we will keep you updated on the search for a replacement.
Roll Tide, and thank you to all of the players, coaches and staff on this year's squad who gave so very much en route to Alabama's 32-24 campaign.