West Alabama Thursday Briefing
It is Thursday January 11, 2024, the day after now former University of Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban rocked the world of Tide fans and college football in general with the abrupt announcement of his retirement.
For 17 years, Nick Saban has ruled the sidelines at the Capstone, taking home six national championships in Tuscaloosa to go with the one his LSU team won. During his tenure he earned the endearing title of "The G.O.A.T.", "Greatest of All Time".
The many accomplishments on the field have been many and Saban has been at the top of his profession for a long time. But his impact is more than just Xs and Os, it is on lives. He genuinely wants his players to leave the program, not just better players, but better men. He has always emphasized the value of hard work, commitment and doing things the right way, not just for a career in the NFL, but for the remainder of their lives. That is one reason Alabama annually has one of the highest team graduation rates to go along with winning seasons and championships.
And it is not just players whose lives have been impacted by Saban's tenure at UA. The Tuscaloosa community and state as a whole has prospered because Saban is more than a football coach.
When Tuscaloosa was devastated by the April 27, 2011, tornado it had an effect on Nick and Terry Saban. Those close to the legendary coach believe it caused him to reconsider his impact on people and the community.
"To see so many people who lost everything -- they lost their house, they lost everything," Nick Saban recalled in a recent phone interview with ESPN, "it was shocking."
What followed was the Sabans drawing nearer to the Tuscaloosa that had embraced them so lovingly. Habitat Houses, planning of the Saban Center and numerous other projects found the Sabans deeply involved. Not to mention Nick's Kids that has raised millions for youngsters and their families in need.
In a written statement yesterday, Terry Saban called Tuscaloosa home. The much-traveled coach was in Tuscaloosa 17 years, the longest stop on his fabled career. So, they are indeed neighbors.
The Saban's may retire to the south Florida beach but to us, Tuscaloosa will indeed be their home. We will miss you Coach and Ms. Terry!
The second of three major storm systems is forecasted to move into West Alabama tomorrow morning. From 9:00am until about 2:00pm West Alabama will be in a Slight (2 in 5) Risk for strong to severe thunderstorms with tornadoes possible. Wind gusts to a near hurricane force 70mph is expected to topple trees and power lines.
All modes of severe weather are possible, including tornadoes, damaging winds, and quarter-sized hail.
Then the first of next week ushers in the coldest temperatures of the season and even some freezing precipitation from about Samantha northward.
Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 63. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
Tonight:A 40 percent chance of showers after 3am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 50. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.
Friday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 3pm, then a chance of showers. High near 64. Windy, with a south wind 25 to 30 mph becoming west 20 to 25 mph. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 29. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 49. West wind 5 to 10 mph.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53.
Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31.
MLK Day: A 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 40.
Monday Night: A slight chance of freezing rain before midnight, then a chance of snow showers and freezing rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Remainder of the Week: The coldest temperatures of the season with highs near freezing and lows in the teens. The skies will be clear.
Topping the News:
Everyone knew it would come before long but Nick Saban rocked the world of Alabama fans and college football by announcing his retirement yesterday. In a written statement the GOAT summed up what his career has been all about. “It is not just about how many games we won and lost, but it is about the legacy and how we went about it. We always tried to do it the right way.” Eli Gold, the Voice of the Crimson Tide, stated that what UA is today is largely because of what Nick Saban has accomplished.
UA has begun a replacement search and Athletic Director Greg Byrne warns against rumors. He told media the identity of the next coach will come only from him.
A significant part of the legacy of Nick and Terry Saban in Tuscaloosa is the Saban Center under development. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox told the 95.3 The Bear Steve and DC Morning Show today that the retirement of Nick Saban will not negatively impact the center's development. Maddox says at the minimum it will give them more time to be involved.
Terry Saban issued a statement on Facebook Wednesday evening. “It has been an incredible run these last 17 years at the University of Alabama and we take with us many amazing memories. We hope that the Saban legacy will be about helping others and making a positive difference in people's lives as well as the winning tradition on the field," she said. "Our Nick's Kids Foundation will continue to help children, student, and teacher causes in the State of Alabama. The rules for the game of football may change, but the ‘process’ will never go out of style: hard work, discipline, the relentless pursuit of a worthy goal, not cutting corners, and doing things the right way for the sake of constant personal improvement, not for the scoreboard. Alabama will always feel like 'Sweet Home' to our family, and we'll be cheering ‘Roll Tide’!”
11th Street in Tuscaloosa is now named Maxie Thomas Way, named after the longtime civil rights icon. Thomas was a civil rights activist and a foot soldier during Tuscaloosa’s Bloody Tuesday, which happened on June 9, 1964, during desegregation efforts. The ceremonies were conducted at Hunter Chapel AME Zion Church on 22nd Avenue this morning.
Staff at Hillcrest High School found a firearm in a student's backpack Wednesday during an unrelated search, according to a message sent to parents.
Principal Jeff Hinton said staff members were investigating a separate issue and recovered a gun from a backpack. They called the discovery "completely coincidental" and said the original issue did not relate to a gun or any kind of weapon.
Hinton said there was not a bullet in the chamber of the gun, but there was a magazine loaded with bullets found alongside the weapon.
The Hillcrest school resource officer responded to the area where the gun was found, and outside law enforcement came to the school to investigate.
Rumors are swirling about who might follow Nick Saban as the next head football coach at Alabama. Dan Lanning at Oregon, Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, Texas Coach Steve Sarkesian, Clemson's Dabo Swinney are among the most mentioned. However, Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne is cautioning to not believe any rumor. He issued a statement saying the name of the true next coach will come from him only.
From UA Athletics: Alabama men's basketball guard Mark Sears is one of 25 candidates named to the 2024 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, the organization announced Wednesday. This is the second straight season Alabama has had a player named to the midseason watch list, as UA's Brandon Miller was selected to the midseason watch list last season.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the 2023-24 season thus far, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport's most prestigious honor.
From UA Athletics: Head coach Nate Oats announced the signing of Derrion Reid to the Alabama men's basketball program, who has signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his playing career with the Crimson Tide. Reid joins a signing class that includes five-star prospect Aiden Sherrell and four-star prospect Naas Cunningham.
2024 NLI Signing Class Notes
- Ranked No. 4 overall signing class according to On3 and No. 7 by Rivals
- Fourth consecutive top-15 signing class for head coach Nate Oats since arriving on campus
- First time in program history UA has had four straight top-15 signing classes in the modern era.
There is a lot going on but don't lose track of the threat for severe weather tomorrow. While tornadoes are a possibility, damaging winds to 70mph and large hail are a significant threat. Stay safe and have a way to receive warnings.