Alabama is not only a football state anymore

Alabama is renowned for two things: its notorious political scene and its passionate love for football.

I grew up in a state renowned for its football tradition. It’s a state that has produced legendary figures like Bear Bryant and Bo Jackson. Over the past two decades, my state has exerted its dominance in the college football realm. While the Alabama Crimson Tide has been a force to be reckoned with, the Auburn Tigers have also made their mark. From 2009 to 2021, either one of these schools has made it to the national title game a remarkable 11 times.

Basketball has also been gaining popularity in Alabama. The state had a notable presence in the 2024 NCAA Men’s Tournament, with four teams representing Alabama: Alabama, Auburn, the Samford Bulldogs, and UAB Blazers. Impressively, three out of these four teams emerged victorious in their respective conference tournaments. Alabama, in particular, has made it to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament.

As a child, I was not just a fan of Alabama football, but also a devoted follower of Alabama basketball. I witnessed firsthand the longing and hunger among Alabama and Auburn basketball fans for a resurgence in the sport.

Wimp Sanderson and Sonny Smith revolutionized basketball in Alabama by recruiting some of the most talented players in the nation. They elevated the game to new heights, but unfortunately, their success was short-lived.

Bama, Auburn, and UAB have all undergone multiple changes in their head coaching positions, but it appears that they have finally found some stability.

Bruce Pearl proved to be an impeccable match for Auburn following his departure from the Tennessee Volunteers. He successfully propelled the program to unprecedented heights, leading the Tigers to a remarkable accomplishment of reaching the Final Four five years ago. It is worth noting that no other major men’s college basketball program in the state of Alabama has achieved such a feat since then. Prior to Auburn’s remarkable progress, the furthest any men’s team had advanced was the Elite Eight. Recognizing Auburn’s advancements in basketball, Alabama understood the need to elevate its game to stay competitive.

Read More:  Alaska Traffic Rule 2024 Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule

Alabama made the decision to bring in former NBA head coach Avery Johnson. Despite leading the Tide to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a disappointing first-round NIT defeat at home to Northfolk State led to a change in leadership. Following this loss, Alabama set their sights on University of Buffalo head coach Nate Oats, who was relatively unknown at the time. However, Oats has since gained recognition and established himself as a prominent figure in the basketball world.

Under Coach Oats’ leadership, the Tide has clinched two of the past three SEC titles, both in the regular season and SEC Tournament. He has also guided Alabama to the Sweet 16 for two consecutive seasons, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in over three decades.

Oats and Pearl schools are highly sought after, but they appear to be content with their current status. Additionally, their excellence in basketball has elevated the rivalry to almost the same level of intensity as their football rivalry (although not quite).

In the following turn, UAB managed to find a suitable fit in the form of Andy Kennedy, who had previously excelled as a star player for the Blazers in the 1990s and had also coached at Ole Miss. With Kennedy’s assistance, UAB experienced a remarkable turnaround.

The next potential coaching sensation hailing from Alabama could very well be Bucky McMillan. Samford University’s impressive performance in the tournament almost catapulted them into Cinderella status, coming close to defeating the Kansas Jayhawks. It wouldn’t be surprising to see McMillan land a prominent coaching position within the next few years.

Read More:  New York Senator Chuck Schumer, 73, Accuses Certain Republicans of Appropriating Democratic Achievements

College basketball in Alabama is thriving.

Read More:

Leave a Comment