The Wire

  • More Americans watched the royal wedding than the Alabama-Georgia national title game

    Excerpt from WSFA:

    Nielsen reported 29.2 million Americans tuned in to 15 channels to catch a glimpse of the American actress marrying Europe’s most popular prince.

    Numbers in the United Kingdom were about 18 million. That’s down from the 24 million Britons who watched the last royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, according to CNN. The audience in the United States was only 23 million.

    With an extra 6 million viewers, there’s no question the new Duchess of Sussex spiked American interest this time around.

    But how does her wedding compare to TV ratings for other major events?

    It did not surpass Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in 2017, although it came noticeably close. Trump had a TV audience of 30.6 million.

    And the NFL’s super bowl still sits far above the rest of the field with 103.4 million viewers in 2018.

    Even so, the royal wedding topped these major TV events of the last year:

    — 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship – Alabama vs. Georgia – 16.7 million
    — 2018 Men’s basketball national championship game – Villanova vs. Michigan – 16.5 million

  • Rabid fox bites two people at Fairhope golf course

    Excerpt from WKRG:

    Fairhope Police say two people were bitten by a rabid fox at the Rock Creek Golf Club.

    The first person was bitten Sunday while playing golf. When he got out of his cart the red fox ran up and bit his leg. The golfer went to the hospital for treatment.

    On Monday morning, police say the fox bit another person. A member of the course’s ground crew saw the animal and another person was bitten in the leg trying to catch it. Fairhope Animal Control came and to the scene and took the fox away. According to a press release, “it was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for testing, and it tested positive for rabies.  The persons bitten have been notified to seek appropriate treatment.”

    Fairhope Police are asking the public to report any strange behavior in animals. Foxes are reclusive and are rarely seen during the day, the department says. They also avoid human contact.

  • VIDEO: New Ainsworth Ad Calls For Teachers To Be Trained And Armed To Combat School Shootings

    Excerpt from a news release:

    Republican lieutenant governor candidate Will Ainsworth on Monday began airing a new campaign commercial that promotes his plan to combat school shooter situations by training, certifying, and voluntarily arming teachers.

    “Our new ad should serve as a call to action because every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama” Ainsworth said. “Signs reading ‘Gun Free Zone’ are a magnet for those who wish to do harm, so we must provide teachers with the training, knowledge, and ability to defend their students with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil.”

    Under the provisions of legislation Ainsworth introduced during the regular session, teachers and administrators who are approved by a local school board, local superintendent, and local law enforcement director may volunteer to undergo mental health evaluation and complete thorough law enforcement training in areas like firearms safety, crisis management, active shooter engagements, and hostile situations.

    Once certified, teachers would be authorized to voluntarily “carry, possess, store, or otherwise control an authorized weapon while on the premises of a public school.” Much like undercover air marshals who are allowed to be armed on planes, the identities of armed educators will be provided to law enforcement agencies but otherwise kept confidential.
    Its script reads:

    Following the deadly school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday, Ainsworth called on Gov. Kay Ivey to convene a special session on school safety so his legislation and other needed classroom security measures may be passed and put in place during the upcoming summer break.

12 months ago

Alabama reserve defensive lineman announces decision to transfer

Reserve defensive lineman O.J. Smith has decided to transfer from the Alabama football program, according to a post he made on his Instagram page earlier this week. He emphasized his desire to open up his recruiting options.

“I want to thank The University Of Alabama for being home to me for the last 3 years,” Smith wrote. “After talking with My family and Coach Saban I have decided to transfer and Open up Recruiting. I want to thank Coach Saban and his whole staff for helping me get better everyday and also I want to thank all of my teammates! I will never forget the bond we have and will always stay in touch!! #RollTide”

Listed at six-foot-two and 309-pounds, Smith has served as a reserve defensive lineman for the Tide. He redshirted during the 2014 season. As a redshirt freshman in 2015, he played in one game, a win over Louisiana-Monroe, in which he made one tackle. He also had one tackle last season in the win over Western Kentucky.

When he signed with Alabama, ESPN rated Smith as a four-star defensive tackle prospect out of Airline High School in Bossier City, Louisiana. He was part of the Crimson Tide’s 2014 signing class, which included a number of players who are now in the NFL, including D.J. Pettway, Cam Robinson, Marlon Humphrey, and Jarran Reed.

12 months ago

Record book shows Alabama and Auburn have decided advantages over just about every SEC rival

Derrick Henry of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs against Auburn University in the Iron Bowl
Derrick Henry of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs against Auburn University in the Iron Bowl

The debate has continued about whether Auburn should move to the SEC East and what conference rivalries should be preserved going forward. While the future remains uncertain, it is clear that the Crimson Tide and the Tigers have a history of success against other SEC foes.

Alabama has a lead over every single team in the SEC. Here are the actual record numbers for each:
  • Alabama leads Arkansas 20-7
  • Alabama leads Auburn 45-35-1
  • Alabama leads LSU 51-25-5
  • Alabama leads Ole Miss 52-10-2
  • Alabama leads Mississippi State 81-17-3
  • *Alabama leads Texas A&M 7-2
  • Alabama leads Florida 26-14
  • Alabama leads Georgia 38-25-4
  • Alabama leads Kentucky 37-2-1
  • *Alabama leads Missouri 3-2
  • Alabama leads South Carolina 12-3
  • Alabama leads Tennessee 54-37-8
  • Alabama leads Vanderbilt 61-18-4

Keep in mind that some of the opponents from the SEC East don’t currently play Alabama and Auburn every year and that several of the teams are newer members of the league (Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas and South Carolina). That is why the total number of games played varies so greatly from team to team.

Auburn leads in seven SEC series, trails in four and is tied in two. Here are the numbers:
  • Auburn trails Alabama 35-45-1
  • Auburn leads Arkansas 14-11-1
  • Auburn trails LSU 22-28-1
  • Auburn leads Ole Miss 30-11
  • Auburn leads Mississippi State 59-28-3
  • *Auburn trails Texas A&M 2-5
  • Auburn leads Florida 43-38-2
  • Auburn trails Georgia 55-57-8
  • Auburn leads Kentucky 26-6-1
  • *Auburn is tied with Missouri 1-1
  • Auburn leads South Carolina 10-1-1
  • Auburn leads Tennessee 28-21-3
  • Auburn is tied with Vanderbilt 21-21-1

It is noteworthy that while Auburn’s rivalry with Georgia is the most played series in the SEC, it is only separated by two games. Collectively, the two teams have combined records of 753-390 against all other SEC teams (excluding the games against each other). That’s a 65.88 winning percentage against all other competitors.

*Some of the games Alabama and Auburn played against Missouri and Texas A&M were prior to those teams joining the SEC.

12 months ago

As A Major College Football Coach Steps Down, Nick Saban Is In For The Long Haul

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban at his house on Lake Burton (Photo: Screenshot)
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban at his house on Lake Burton (Photo: Screenshot)

Bob Stoops resigned as head football coach at the University of Oklahoma Wednesday after 18 seasons at the school. The 56-year-old coach was one of five (now there are four) active head college football coaches to have won a national championship. One of the other members of that exclusive group is Nick Saban, who reflected on the tenure of his friend.

“Bob is a great friend and one of the best coaches in the country during his time at Oklahoma,” Saban said in a press release. “I have had the pleasure of knowing him and his family for over 40 years. I have always had so much respect for Bob because of his professionalism and his integrity. The quality of teams he has been able to field on a consistent basis is second to none. We wish him well in whatever he chooses to do in the future.”

Saban met with a group of reporters on Thursday while attending a golf tournament for his Nick’s Kids charity and opened up about his own future retirement.

“As long as I feel good, I love doing it,” Saban was quoted by as saying. “I’ve said this before. I’ve been a part of a team since I was 9 years old, and it scares me to death to figure what it’s going to be like when I’m not a part of a team. As long as I feel healthy and I can do it, we certainly have every intention of trying to do it. If I felt like I couldn’t do it to the standard that I want to do it then I think that would be time not to do it. But I certainly don’t feel like that’s any time soon.”

Saban is 65, which is nine years older than Stoops. This will be his 11th season at Alabama. As evidenced by his team coming up just short to Clemson in the national championship game in January, there have been no signs of his trademarked “process” slowing down.

Stoops and Saban have met twice as head coaches. The first was when Saban was at LSU; the two competed for the 2003-04 national title game. Saban won that one 21-14, and it became the first of now five total national championships for him. The two met again in the 2013-14 Sugar Bowl. This one was a 45-31 victory for Oklahoma.

Stoops finishes his Oklahoma career having never lost to Alabama or Auburn. His team beat Alabama, coached by Dennis Franchione, 37-27 in a 2002 meeting in Oklahoma. In a return trip to Tuscaloosa the next year, Oklahoma beat Alabama, then coached by Mike Shula, 20-13. Most recently, Stoops’ team defeated Auburn in his only meeting with them by a score of 35-19 in the Sugar Bowl on January 2nd.

12 months ago

Story broken by former Alabama player ultimately led James Comey to hold the Hillary Clinton press conference

Christopher Sign (left), a former University of Alabama football player, exposed a secret meeting between former President Bill Clinton (center) and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (right).
Christopher Sign (left), a former University of Alabama football player, exposed a secret meeting between former President Bill Clinton (center) and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (right).

Christopher Sign is a former Alabama football player. He is also an award-winning journalist for ABC 15 in Arizona, and a story he broke last June was a major piece of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s questioning of former FBI director James Comey Thursday morning.

Sign was a backup left guard and center for two Alabama teams that ultimately won the SEC West championship in the 1990s. As Yellowhammer readers may recall, he broke the story about former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an aircraft while in Phoenix, Ariz. This meeting caused a significant backlash because of the ongoing (at the time) investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the handling of classified information.

Last July, Sign explained to Football Matters how the story and his reporting on it materialized. “Sources tipped me off about the meeting taking place and from that moment on, my goal was to report the facts,” he said. “I didn’t mention anything about Republicans or Democrats. I kept things as simple as possible and reported that there was a secret meeting going on that we were able to expose. There was a tremendous amount of stress because of the possible ramifications of the story. I wanted to make sure that I had every ‘I’ dotted and ‘T’ crossed. I visualized going on air for the story like I would before games. I knew once it was on tape, there was no going back. I had to make sure things went exactly as planned. I got hyper focused, just like I used to do on the football field.”

The story did have a significant impact not only on the investigation into Clinton’s email use, but also the 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. A Washington Post editorial said the meeting created a “terrible moment for (Hillary Clinton) and the Democrats, and for President Obama and perceptions of the integrity of his administration.”

In testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday, Comey made it clear that the details of the story broken by Sign were a key factor in his decision to make a public announcement on July 5th of last year regarding the Clinton investigation. He indicated that he felt the meeting between Lynch and Clinton had the potential to damage the credibility of the bureau and the investigation.

“In an ultimately conclusive way, that was the thing that capped it for me that I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the Justice Department,” Comey told Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) during the hearing.

Sign started with ABC 15 in 2005 and now is an anchor on ABC 15 Mornings. He received an Emmy Award for Breaking News in 2014 for his extended live coverage when two Phoenix police officers were shot during a shootout. He also earned an Edward R. Murrow Award for spot news in 2006.

He summed up this experience by saying, “ABC 15 in Phoenix hired me to do a job, and that’s what I’m doing. Just like I did on the football field. I’ve always said that playing team sports sets you up to do well in life, and this is proof.”

12 months ago

New Town Moves Up To Become Alabama’s Third Largest City

Original photo, "New York Skyline at Twilight Hour" by Flickr user Marco Verch. CC 2.0. Addition of "Sweet Home Alabama" text made by Yellowhammer News.
Original photo, “New York Skyline at Twilight Hour” by Flickr user Marco Verch. CC 2.0. Addition of “Sweet Home Alabama” text made by Yellowhammer News.

Huntsville has overtaken Mobile as the third largest city in the state of Alabama. According to new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Rocket City is estimated to have a population of 193,079, while Mobile’s is estimated a 192,904. These estimates compile data and estimate through July 1st of 2016.

This is a significant change from last year, when Mobile held a nearly 2,500-resident lead on Huntsville. The gap was even wider in 2014, and there was a difference of more than 11,000 in 2011.

This shift can be attributed to Huntsville gaining residents and Mobile losing them. In the past year alone, Huntsville’s population estimate has risen by 2,136, and Mobile’s has decreased by 489. This trend has continued since the last census was taken in 2010. In that span of time, Huntsville has gained 12,100 persons, and Mobile’s population has fallen by 2,207.

Birmingham will remain the most populous city in the state with an estimated 212,157 residents. The Magic City is followed by Montgomery, which is projected to have 200,022. But both of those cities are seeing a decrease in numbers as well. Birmingham lost over 300 residents from 2015 to 2016. More significantly, it has only seen a net gain of 120 people since 2010. Montgomery has seen a steeper drop, losing nearly 900 from 2016 to 2015 and 5,631 since 2010.

Statewide, the population increased by about 10,000 people. The 2015 estimate for Alabama was 4,853,875, and that figure was raised to 4,863,300 in 2016. It will be interesting to see if these trends continue and what cities are the most populous in 2020, when the next census is taken.

12 months ago

The countdown is on: Less than 100 days away, the kickoff time is set for Alabama and Florida State

The time is now set for the highly-anticipated Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic between Alabama and Florida State. The Crimson Tide and the Seminoles will get started at 7pm Central Time in the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The September 2nd contest will be televised by ESPN.

Not only are Alabama and Florida State fans eagerly awaiting this showdown, so are the pollsters and bettors. Early preseason polls by Athlon Sports, USA Today and the Sporting News have both teams ranked in the top three. The latest odds from the Las Vegas SuperBook earlier this month have the Tide and the ‘Noles as two of the top four heaviest favored teams to win the national championship in the upcoming season.

A major storyline in this game will be the connection between the two head coaches. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher worked under Alabama’s Nick Saban when they were at LSU in the early 2000s. After the Tide’s A-Day Game in April, Saban was asked about going up against his former assistant. He had effusive praise for Fisher but said the focus should remain on the players.

“Jimbo’s an outstanding coach. He’s done a fabulous job. He did a great job for us,” Saban said. “He was one of the best offensive coordinators that I’ve ever had, college or pro… (Florida State has) talented players, and they’ve played at a high level on a pretty consistent basis. I’m sure (Fisher’s) leadership contributes to that quite a bit. But we’ve also evolved through the years… Philosophically, is there some similarity? Probably, but that’s true with a lot of the coaches that have programs we compete against. We’re not really playing against the coach. It’s going to be a game about the players, how the players play and execute against one another. They’ve got a lot of good players and we’ve got some good players, so it should be a really good game.”

Earlier this year, Fisher was asked what specifically about the Alabama and Florida State programs stood out to those who set up the game.

“They were winning and we started winning,” He was quoted by USA Today as saying to Florida State boosters. “And we started getting the (recruiting) classes and they could see we were going to be two good teams. And the background between Nick and I (was an intriguing aspect of the matchup).”

He also noted that the two teams have been the winningest programs in college football over the past seven years.

Alabama won the SEC Championship last season and played for the College Football Playoff title game in January, where it came up short to Clemson by a score of 35-31. Florida State beat Michigan 33-32 in the Orange Bowl to end its 2016-17 season. We are now less than 100 days from the two teams meeting in Atlanta.

12 months ago

Former coach Pat Dye wants Auburn to switch divisions, even if it means losing the Iron Bowl

Former Auburn Head Football Coach Pat Dye
Former Auburn Head Football Coach Pat Dye

Former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye has been making the rounds over the past few days discussing his opinion that Auburn should no longer play in the SEC’s Western Division. He contends that competitive and geographical balance in the league would be better if Auburn were moved to the SEC East and Missouri shifted to the SEC West. He feels strongly that this change should be made, even if it means the Iron Bowl will no longer be played on an annual basis.

Speaking to ESPN 106.7 in Auburn on Tuesday, the former Auburn coach said, “I’d rather see Auburn in the East than us to play Alabama every year. We don’t need to let Alabama dictate what we do at Auburn. We can play them on a rotation, just like everybody else.”

He doubled-down on Wednesday morning and even made a case that the SEC East is a more challenging division than the West.

“It’s going to make our schedule tougher, not easier,” Dye told WJOX in Birmingham. “Doing the nine games and switching the sides with Missouri and Auburn would make it a more compatible scenario as far as the regions are concerned. We live right on that Georgia state line, and our student body is from the state of Alabama, from Tennessee. We’ve got a ton of kids that come from Nashville, Tennessee and a ton of kids that come out of Atlanta and Florida.”

Dye did put forth a solution that would allow Auburn to move to the East without dropping the Iron Bowl. He says the SEC should add a ninth conference game in football, as other leagues, including the Pac 12, Big 12 and Big Ten, have done. This, according to Dye, would allow Auburn to play its six divisional opponents, two rivals from the Western side (which would include Alabama) and one rotating Western Division opponent.

He is not alone in thinking that a divisional realignment with Auburn moving to the East is a good idea. Current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn also believes that it would be beneficial. Speaking at the Regions Tradition golf tournament last week, Malzahn said it “makes sense” for Auburn to move to the East. While Malzahn supports the idea, the school has not made an official announcement campaigning for a move to the East. It should also be noted that neither Malzahn nor anyone officially associated with Auburn has advocated dropping the Iron Bowl.

Dye coached for 12 seasons at Auburn before retiring. He has spent the past two and a half decades as a supporter of Auburn football and a frequent guest on the radio. When on the airwaves, he has been known to stoke the fire on certain hot-button football issues.

Will the SEC change to a nine-game conference schedule? The answer right now is unclear. Former league commissioner Mike Slive stood firm three years ago on just having eight games. The debate has continued, and topics such as Auburn switching divisions could cause the SEC to take a second look at adding another game in the future.

12 months ago

History made: Bernhard Langer leaves his mark on an Alabama course and the game of golf

Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison. Alterations made.
Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison. Alterations made.

The weather was nearly flawless for the final round of the Regions Tradition, and so was Bernhard Langer’s game. The 59-year-old from Anhausen, Germany just won the Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover, Ala. for the second consecutive year. He finished at 20-under-par, which was five clear of the next closest competitors, Scott McCarron and Scott Parel.

With the win, he made history by tying golf legend Jack Nicklaus’ record for the most major championships on the Champions Tour. This was the eighth major on the senior circuit title for Langer.

“Yeah, that’s pretty neat,” Langer said of tying the Golden Bear. “Not many people can say they match Jack Nicklaus in anything. To have won as many majors on this tour as he has is outstanding obviously and a thrill for me. I’m still way behind on the regular tour, though, in majors.”

Langer is no stranger to success on both the regular PGA Tour and Champions Tour. He won the Masters in 1985 and 1993. According to CBS golf writer Kyle Porter, in the last six years on the tour Langer has won six Champions Tour majors and missed only six cuts.

To capture the title, he posted rounds of 69, 69, 66 and 64. Perhaps most impressive was his ability to erase a two-stroke deficit going into the final round and end up winning by five strokes. This comes after he won the tournament by six strokes a year ago. Those who know the difficulty that Greystone poses, even to the best golfers in the world, were awed by his ability to get around the course.

“I play out there all the time, and that’s some good golf,” said Greystone Golf and Country Club board member Al DelGreco.

Langer will have the opportunity to win the Regions Tradition three straight years when it returns to Greystone in 2018. The Champions Tour and Greystone announced last week that the tournament will continue to be played at the Hoover, Ala. course through 2023.

12 months ago

Daughter of Alabama doctor speaks out about her father’s death while climbing Mt. Everest

Roland Yearwood on a previous climb
Roland Yearwood on a previous climb

Dr. Roland Yearwood of Georgiana, AL was killed this past weekend while climbing the highest peak in the world. The physician was one of four who did not survive a climb to the top of Mt. Everest. He made it to the “death zone,” which is approximately 27,000 feet of elevation.

Yearwood’s daughter, who appeared on NBC’s “Today,” said the cause of his death was altitude sickness. The Washington Post reports that he lost his life “not far from the summit on the Nepal side.” The Sherpa who was with Yearwood on the climb is expected to provide more details on his death when he arrives back at base camp.

“He was extremely prepared for this, and he was confident that he was going to reach the top and come back home,” Yearwood’s daughter said. “He wanted to work even harder to go back up there. That was all he thought about and wanted to do. He was really honest, really kind and a generous person. I was really lucky to have him as a dad. He gets to be in the place that he wanted to accomplish his goal, and that’s where he’s going to be forever.”

Yearwood was on Mt. Everest in 2015 when an earthquake struck that resulted in 19 people losing their lives.

A biography of Yearwood posted on the website of the Georgiana Medical Center, where Yearwood worked, reads, “After completing hospital training in London and New York City Dr. Yearwood moved to Southern Alabama where he has been providing primary care for the last 20 years. He is married to another local physician and has two daughters enrolled in college. During his spare time he likes to sail, dive and fly and is in the process of climbing the tallest summit on the 7 continents and is scheduled to climb Everest next spring.”

Yearwood was 50-years-old.

12 months ago

What lies ahead for the Alabama and Auburn softball teams after winning their regionals

Alabama wrapped up regional play on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Minnesota. That was after the Tide had beaten the Gophers the day before by the same score. They now prepare to face number one overall seed Florida in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Softball Tournament. This will be the first matchup between the Gators and Tide this season.

Auburn is the seventh overall seed in the tournament. The Tigers went 3-0 in their region to get to Super Regional action. After opening with an 11-0 thumping of East Tennessee State on Friday, Auburn beat California on Saturday (4-3) and again on Sunday (8-2) to claim their regional. Because they are one of the top eight seeds in the tournament, the Tigers will have the opportunity to host their Super Regional series. Their opponent will be Oklahoma, and it will be a rematch of last year’s Women’s College World Series finals in which the Sooners came away victorious. Auburn beat Oklahoma 3-2 in this year’s season-opener on February 9th.

The Tide and Tigers weren’t the only SEC teams to make the Super Regional round. Altogether, eight teams from the league made it, which is half of the Super Regional field. This is the second time the SEC has sent eight teams, and it is the only conference in history to accomplish that. Texas A&M travels to Tennessee; Ole Miss heads to UCLA; LSU is playing Florida State; and Kentucky will face Oregon.

The Super Regional round consists of eight separate best-of-three series. These will take place Thursday through Sunday. Then, the eight winners of the NCAA Super Regionals will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

12 months ago

Report: Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings recovering after ‘mild’ stroke

Photo by Crimson Tide Photos/UA Athletics
Photo by Crimson Tide Photos/UA Athletics

Former Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings is recovering after suffering a mild stroke while in Montgomery, Ala. on Thursday night. Despite feeling ill, the former coach says he attended a banquet. After the event, he decided to check himself into the hospital.

“I introduced Dabo (Swinney, the Clemson head coach and a former player for Stallings at Alabama) as the speaker, but I didn’t feel well at all,” Stallings told the Tuscaloosa News. “So I went to the hospital, and they determined that I’d had a stroke before the banquet.”

According to the report, Stallings flew back to his ranch in Paris, Texas, on Friday and had to cancel a scheduled appearance in Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Stallings was the head coach at Alabama from 1990 through 1996. While at Alabama, his teams compiled a record of 70 wins, only 16 losses, and one tie. In 1992, his Crimson Tide team went 13-0, won the SEC championship and the national title. He won the AFCA Coach of the Year Award, the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, and the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award. He was named SEC Coach of the Year twice. Prior to becoming head coach at Alabama, Stallings was the head coach at Texas A&M from 1965 through 1971. He joined “Bear” Bryant’s first coaching staff at Alabama in 1958 and was part of two of Bryant’s national championship teams in 1961 and 1964.

12 months ago

‘Open for business’: Alabama unemployment reaches lowest level since the Bush administration

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that the unemployment rate in the state of Alabama has decreased to its lowest level since 2008. The rate decreased from 5.8 percent in the month of March to 5.4 percent in April. The total number of unemployed is now 119.256, as opposed to 128,610 in the previous month.

“Today’s announcement that Alabama had the highest drop in unemployment numbers in the nation in April is encouraging,” Gov. Ivey said in a press release. “Since my first day in office, I have been laser-focused on making sure every Alabamian who wants a job can get one. With our unemployment number dropping and more than 2 million folks in the workforce, that dream is quickly becoming a reality. Alabama has highly-skilled and dedicated workers, and I’m proud to say the proof is in the pudding: Alabama is open for business!”

Only 10 states had decreases in the rate of unemployment from March to April, and Alabama, along with Tennessee, led the way. Alabama was also one of nine states to have an increase in wage and salary employment. Our state’s wage and salary employment saw an increase of 10,400, which brings the total number to 2,001,800. This is the first time since 2008 that Alabama has had more than two million employed.

“We were already excited about today’s news, including a great decrease in our unemployment rate, and the fact that our economy is supporting more than two million jobs for the first time in years,” Alabama Commissioner of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said. “This news that our rate dropped more than 48 other states in April is just icing on the cake. April has proven to be a great month for the State of Alabama. We are hopeful that these positives that occurred in April will continue throughout the year.”

12 months ago

Did Sally Field just take a shot at the city of Tuscaloosa?

Actress Sally Field was recently interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about life on Broadway and an upcoming award for which she has been nominated. Specifically, she was asked about the path her life would have taken had she not been an actress. Her response included what some are describing as a shot at an Alabama city.

“It’s not a question,” Field explained. “I wouldn’t be (an actress). I would not be. It’s what I am, it’s what I’ve always been. There was nothing else. There was just nothing else. I would be a really, really unhappy overweight person somewhere deep in Tuscaloosa.”

The sports blog Saturday Down South picked up on her comments and interpreted the “deep unhappy overweight person” remark as a slight at Tuscaloosa. Field’s acting career has had significant ties to this state. She starred in Forrest Gump, which is a film based in Alabama, and Norma Rae, a motion picture that was shot in Opelika, Ala.

The 70-year-old is nominated for best actress in the Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie. Field has already won two Oscars and three Emmy Awards.

1 year ago

Nick Saban’s Colorful Commentary on College Football Rule Changes

Nick Saban speaks to the media. (Photo via UA Athletics)
Nick Saban speaks to the media. (Photo via UA Athletics)

In an interview with CBS Sports, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban spoke very candidly about some of the recent rule changes in college football. Whether it’s the new early signing period or a rule that restricts recruiting based on teams hiring coaches from the prospect’s high school, Saban has clearly had it with modern NCAA legislation.

“I’m at a loss with the direction that we’re moving in relative to the rules that we’re making,” Saban told CBS. I hate to speak in a negative way about colleagues or people that are responsible for passing some of this stuff. I don’t see how it helps anything or anybody. Football is a developmental game. To keep trying to push a recruiting calendar, it’s for the benefit of teams in the North because they want guys to visit in the summertime and all that.”

It was what Saban said next that garnered attention and headlines.

“I know I’m crazy. You can tell everybody I’m crazy,” the five-time national championship-winning coach said.

There are six major rule changes that the NCAA Division I advisory committee implemented last month, and several of them are driving the ire of coach Saban.

One change that Saban opposes is an early signing period. Heretofore, National Signing Day, which is the first Wednesday in February, has been the only date on which high school football players could sign with their chosen school. Starting this year, there will be a 72-hour signing period in December.

The NCAA also eliminated two-a-day practices. These are two separate practices in one day, which would take place during preseason camp. For many schools, this means that fall football practice will have to start earlier in order to compensate for not being able to double practices in one day. The stated purpose of this change was player safety.

A third rule changed the dates for high school players to make their official visits to colleges. In the past, prospects had to wait until the opening day of classes in their senior year to start making official visits. Now they will be able to begin taking official visits starting April 1st. The intention of this rule change is to provide more opportunities for prospects, but Saban is worried that it will hinder the ability of schools to properly observe the development of players.

There can now be 10 assistant coaches on a college football staff. It had previously been limited to nine. This is something that Saban has supported for a while.

A rule that has drawn criticism from a wide range of coaches (including both Saban and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, an unlikely alliance) is one that does not allow programs to hire certain individuals who are close to recruits for a two-year period before and after the player’s enrollment at a college. The opposition to this rule is based on the fact that it could end up preventing talented high school coaches from breaking into the college game.

The other major rule change was a reduction of the amount of time that teams can hold summer camps. While some programs, such as Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, have pushed the limit in order to hold satellite camps, others hold large camps for young kids to develop and learn the game. Saban said Alabama holds a little kids camp with about 1,200 kids ages 7-11. He calls such camps a “legacy investment.”

While it is uncertain what kind of impact these rule changes will have on the college football landscape, we have a pretty good idea that there will be further commentary on these matters by Nick Saban.

1 year ago

‘It’s just not the same’: Paul Finebaum opens up about missing Birmingham and Alabama

Paul Finebaum was on hand for the pro-am of the Regions Tradition golf tournament on Wednesday, when the Alabama Newscenter caught up with him and asked about his current situation and if he misses being in Birmingham.

“I really do miss it,” Finebaum said. “Birmingham was an amazingly special place. I lived here for more than 30 years. Even though I still live in somewhat of an Alabama-centric world, at least in the afternoon, it’s just not the same. I love what I’m doing, but I do miss Birmingham.”

If you aren’t aware, Finebaum hosted a popular show based in Birmingham for nearly three decades before he moved to the SEC Network (a subsidiary of ESPN) in 2013. He now lives and is based out of Charlotte, NC., the home of the SEC Network.

During the interview, Finebaum was asked if there was any concern about taking what was a local radio show to a national level.

“There was concern from everyone that we could take a show (to a national network) that was predominantly Alabama and Auburn,” he said. “We still get criticized, but I can’t help it that Alabama is the best team in the SEC every year.”

Finebaum’s show is syndicated on the radio throughout the nation, and it appears on the SEC Network each weekday from 2 to 6pm.

1 year ago

Keeping us cool: A new ‘state-of-the-art’ HVAC training center is coming to Alabama

U.S. Air Force photo by Frank Carter/Released
U.S. Air Force photo by Frank Carter/Released

Bevill State Community College and Alabama Power have announced a joint program to create a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) training center in Jasper. It will be a relocation of the current Alabama Power HVAC training center, which is in Clanton. The new state of the art facility will expand the program and course certificate options through an arrangement and program transfer with Bevill State, according to a press release from the college.

“Bevill State Community College is excited about expanding our partnership with Alabama Power (Southern Company) to include the development of this state-of-the-art HVAC Training Facility. The College has a proven cooperative relationship with Alabama Power that has been mutually beneficial to both parties’ objectives. And, Bevill State has a longstanding commitment to both workforce solutions and economic development for our service area and beyond. The relocation and expansion of this program to Jasper will have a positive impact for Bevill, Alabama Power, program attendees and the economic vitality of the area,” stated Dr. Kim Ennis, President of Bevill State Community College.

The new HVAC Training Center will provide six functional classrooms, six designated learning laboratory areas, a minimum of six offices and an auditorium accommodating up to 100 participants. Bevill State will retrofit the building to be able to receive equipment from Alabama Power for HVAC training. The purpose of the training center is to prepare students with the technical skills necessary to be effective in the HVAC industry, including product application, product installation, performance analysis, and product service. Alabama Power’s resources, instructors, participants, and students will be integrated into the new HVAC Training Center.

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) also praised the new iniative: “This is tremendous news for our community and college. I commend Dr. Ennis and Alabama Power for their collaborative work in making the new HVAC training program and facility possible. This partnership between Bevill State Community College and industry is exactly the type of innovative educational model that will give our young people the training necessary for a chance at long-term, well-paying jobs today and in the future.”

Since 1986, Alabama Power’s HVAC Training Center has provided training, professional development, and continued education to over 33,000 participants from 45 states and four countries.

“The outcome of this strong partnership with Bevill State will be long-term, high-value career growth not only for the current workforce but for the next generation,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power vice president of Human Resources and Ethics. “The relocation of the HVAC Training Center is a key step in providing these opportunities as well as helping grow the state’s workforce system.”

1 year ago

Alabama lawmaker pens letter to Trump administration on extending red snapper season

Fishermen on Alabama's Gulf Coast will have more time to fish for red snapper this year and vastly expanded waters to do it in. (Robert DeWitt/Alabama NewsCenter)
Fishermen on Alabama’s Gulf Coast will have more time to fish for red snapper this year and vastly expanded waters to do it in. (Robert DeWitt/Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne (R) joined four other members of Congress in writing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross asking the administration to extend the length of the Red Snapper season in federal waters. Currently, the season for Red Snapper in those waterways is three days.

Byrne was joined by representatives Garrett Graves (R-La.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), and Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) on this measure. All are members who represent states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. They cite inaccurate data used by the National Marine Fisheries Service to set the 2017 restrictions.

“A three day Red Snapper season is simply not acceptable, especially given how many Red Snapper there are in the Gulf right now,” Byrne said in a press release. “Anyone who knows anything about Gulf Coast fisheries would agree that the Red Snapper fishery is incredibly healthy. By bringing other Gulf Coast Congressmen together, I am hopeful we can get the Trump Administration and Secretary Ross to provide some relief for our recreational fishermen ahead of the 2017 federal season.”

Following is the letter the legislators sent to Secretary Ross:

Dear Secretary Ross,

We write today to express our disappointment in the recent announcement from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of a three day recreational Red Snapper season. It is unacceptable. We ask that you reevaluate this decision and extend the number of days for the 2017 season.

On March 21st, we wrote to you about the importance of access to adequate fishing resources in the Gulf of Mexico, and namely Red Snapper. You responded that the Red Snapper fishery is a high priority for you and your department, and therefore it is time for more than three days.

Our recreational fishermen are being penalized by NOAA for a statistical anomaly. Currently, NOAA’s data says that recreational fishermen exceeded last year’s quota by 129,906 pounds. However, 129,000 pounds represents less than .02 percent of the recreational quota. This decision has no bearing on the health of the stock, and there is no chance NOAA is representing the number with any degree of accuracy.

At the state level, we continue to see report numbers that do not match NMFS’s data, caused by the lack of real-time information. For example, in Alabama, preliminary estimates for 2016 show a total of approximately 821,000 pounds counted by Alabama’s Snapper Check Program. NOAA’s estimates for the same time show approximately 2 million pounds accounted for. Mississippi’s data shows the opposite problem. According to data from Mississippi’s Tails n’ Scales Program, almost 40,000 pounds were accounted for, yet NOAA’s data claims there were zero pounds taken. It is time for recreational anglers to stop being penalized for NOAA’s bad science and lack of coordination.

In short, there is serious doubt that federal data is accurately reflecting the number of Red Snapper in the Gulf. For that reason, we feel reevaluating your agency’s decision for the 2017 season is warranted, and we urge you to continue working with us to develop a long-term solution to address these issues impacting our recreational fishermen and coastal communities.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.

1 year ago

‘This could be trouble’: Looks like President Trump has a HUGE amount of respect for Auburn football

President Elect, Donald Trump, LAGOP Rally, December 9, 2016, Dow Hangar, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer. Alterations to photo were made.
President Elect, Donald Trump, LAGOP Rally, December 9, 2016, Dow Hangar, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer. Alterations to photo were made.

President Donald Trump gave the first commencement address of his presidency Saturday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. As part of his address, he read the 2018 schedule for the Liberty football team. It will be the first season for the Flames as an FBS football program, which is the highest division in college football.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, had given Trump the newly released football schedule to read during his speech. So, the president delighted the crowd of around 50,000 with the news filled with friendly banter.

“And just wait until the world hears the football teams you’ll be playing on your schedule starting next season,” Trump told the 2017 Liberty graduating class. “President Falwell gave me a list of some of those schools. The ones you’re going to be playing in 2018. Would you like me to read the names that just came out? I’m a little bit concerned.”

Trump continued to read the list of opponents. When he reached a certain opponent, he paused to give his warning about the difficulty of the matchup.

“UMass, Virginia, Auburn. Jerry, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Trump asked Falwell. “Jerry, Auburn. I don’t know about that, Jerry. This could be trouble, Jerry.”

As he read more teams, it became clear that he has a lot of respect for SEC teams and that he will have a tough time deciding who to root for when Liberty plays Army.

“Rutgers, Old Dominion, Brigham Young, Army. I might be at that game. Who am I supposed to root for, tell me? That’s a tough one, Jerry. I’m going to have to think about that one.” the president said. “Buffalo, Troy, Virginia Tech. Oh no, Jerry, Ole Miss. And Wake Forest. Those are really top schools. Maybe in four or five years I’ll come to a game. You’ll build it up. Well, good luck.”

Trump was the first sitting president to speak at Liberty’s commencement since George H.W. Bush delivered an address in 1990. Falwell was beyond excited to have the first-year president speak on his campus.

One thing was made very clear in this commencement speech: President Trump knows his college football!

1 year ago

Pretty good gig: Eddie Lacy just got paid A LOT to keep his weight under a certain number

In the NFL, losing weight or maintaining a certain weight can be a pretty lucrative proposition. For former Crimson Tide turned Seattle Seahawks running back, Eddie Lacy, holding a certain waistline is literally paying off.

Lacy signed with the Seahawks earlier this year as a free agent. Since Lacy has struggled with keeping his weight down in the past, the Seahawks decided to add incentives to his weigh-in goals. The goal at this weigh-in was 255, and according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, he met that goal with two pounds to spare. Lacy checked in at 253 pounds. Keeping it under 255 pounds earned him $50,000.

According to a report by Pro Football Talk, Lacy has seven weight clauses in his contract. In June, he has to weigh 250 pounds. And in August, he needs to be down to 245. The total value of his one-year deal with Seattle is $4.25 million.

In his entire NFL career, Lacy has run for 3,535 yards and 23 touchdowns. Last year, he only played in five games. This will be a pivotal season for Lacy, as it is his fifth year in the NFL. With all of the wear and tear, the career of a running back in the league fluctuates from two to four years. So while the weight clauses and incentives might seem a bit extreme, they could end up being very key for Lacy and the Seahawks’ offense this season.

1 year ago

The relationship that one Alabama safety’s mom has with her son defines courage and love

As we watch college football stars play for our favorite teams, we too often forget that they are people who have real life family struggles, just like us. The backstories about these young men and where they come from don’t get told often enough. Thankfully, one Alabama safety opened up about a health issue in his family and how it has impacted him.

Alabama safety Hootie Jones is a senior from Monroe, La. He played in all 15 games for the Crimson Tide last season, recording 20 total tackles and 16 solo tackles. He also broke up five passes. During Jones’ season, though, there was a lot more going on than just football. His mother has been battling stage 4 Lymphoma, and she, along with Hootie, spoke to about the challenges of facing the disease together.

During his first season in Tuscaloosa, Carr would not allow the disease to deprive her of the opportunity to watch her son play. The last two years, however, Jones told her she could not attend regularly due to the toll it was taking on her.

“Having stage 4 is no big deal to me, except when it gets to them and it hurts them,” Carr told “That’s when it bothers me. After he got there, that first year, I didn’t miss a game. He was getting upset because I was actually coming, and I would leave treatment Saturday morning. You just couldn’t tell me no. That was his first year. The last two years, I couldn’t get from where we have to park to the stadium without me either having to stop or getting lightheaded. Once he found out, it became an issue. He was like, ‘You can’t come no more.'”

Carr was able to make one game last season; she shared that she was able to attend Alabama’s 24-7 win over Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

With the departure of safety Eddie Jackson, who was taken in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, Jones will be competing for more playing time this year and perhaps even a starting job. It is difficult to know whether Jones will have the opportunity to continue playing football after he finishes at Alabama. One thing we do know is that his mother is a courageous person who loves him very much.

Here is a GoFundMe page created to help with Jessica Carr’s battle with Lymphoma.

1 year ago

An Alabama fan reveals WAY too much when he discloses the secret to his 52-year marriage

A caller to the “Paul Finebaum Show” on Friday provided some insight into his lengthy marriage, and it was way too much information.

Jim from Colbert County, Ala., a fan of the Crimson Tide, expressed to Finebaum that the secret to his 52-year marriage has been watching Alabama football games “buck naked” with his wife.

The caller was attempting to provide assistance to a Michigan fan who had called and wanted some advice on how to watch football games with her Florida-fan husband. Jim from Colbert County said he had discussed the issue with his wife and that they had come up with a solution.

“The first thing they need to do is about 10 minutes before the game comes on, lock the doors and pull all the shades,” he said. “Go in the kitchen and make a good adult beverage. Carry it in there, and set it on the coffee table. Then, both of them get buck naked, sit down on the couch and watch the game. Paul, I have discovered in 52 years of marriage it’s hard to argue with your spouse if you’re both naked.”

Finebaum ended the conversation by asking the man if he would mind ESPN doing a feature on their game-watching tradition during the upcoming season. Amazingly, the man agreed.

Just when you thought there was nothing ESPN could do to make its ratings worse.

1 year ago

Senator Strange Co-Sponsors Legislation Streamlining Purchase of Gun Suppressors

Current federal laws make it difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to buy a suppressor for a firearm. Some members of the U.S. Senate, including Senator Luther Strange, are working to change that.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has introduced a piece of legislation that’s co-sponsored by Senator Strange entitled the “Hearing Protection Act.” As the name indicates, the bill would increase accessibility to products that provide hearing safety for those who regularly use firearms.

Currently, suppressors are regulated under the National Firearms Act, which requires a cumbersome separate transfer process when purchasing a suppressor. This process includes submitting copies for forms passport photos, and fingerprints to the ATF, along with a $200 transfer tax, above and beyond the cost of the suppressor.

The heart of the proposed legislation is to eliminate this cumbersome paperwork and the $200 fee, although it would retain the National Instant Criminal Background Check, which is the same steps currently in place to purchase a gun from a lessened dealer.

In his press release on this legislation, Senator Strange stated: “As an avid sportsman, I know that repeated exposure to loud noise can have real life effects. By protecting recreational shooters, animals, and nearby communities from hearing loss and disruption, suppressors serve an important function for those who enjoy the great outdoors of Alabama. I am proud to co-sponsor this important fix that ensures that silencing devices are accessible to gun enthusiasts, and that sprawling regulations do not get in the way of common sense.”

Catherine Mortensen, Spokesperson for the National Rifle Association said, “The NRA appreciates Senator Strange’s support of legislation that makes it easier for Alabama gun owners and sportsmen to protect their hearing by making suppressors more accessible.”

While suppressors don’t completely silence the sound of a firearm, they can dramatically reduce the amount of noise produced by a shot, usually by 40 decibels or so, which decreases the chance of hearing-related injuries.

1 year ago

From Cadillac to Kevin Turner: Here are the individuals about to be members of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame class of 2017 is set to be inducted this weekend in Birmingham. The names of those going into the hall this year include Kevin Turner, Takeo Spikes, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Todd Jones, Lee DeFore, Ken Donahue, Jeff Herrod and Jim Goostree. This will mark the 49th induction ceremony for the ASHOF.

Kevin Turner was a captain on Alabama’s 1991 team before becoming a third-round selection in the 1992 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL for eight seasons. He passed away last March after a six-year battle with ALS. Once he was diagnosed, Turner took an active role in the research and development of data on the relationship between football injuries and CTE. His story was recently featured on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

Takeo Spikes played linebacker at Auburn in the mid-90s. He helped the Tigers win the SEC West in 1997 with his team-high 137 tackles that season. He was taken 13th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1998 NFL Draft, and he went on to play for 15 years. He was twice selected to the Pro-Bowl and twice named an All-Pro in the league. There was only one season in which he had less than 70 tackles.

If you have been a football fan in the state of Alabama for over a decade, you are probably familiar with Auburn announcer Rod Bramblett’s call of “Go Crazy, Cadillac!” during the scoring of an early touchdown in the 2003 Iron Bowl. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams played at Etowah High School before signing with Auburn. While in Auburn, he was an All-American, an All-SEC running back, and an All-SEC return specialist. He was part of the Tigers’ 2004 team that went undefeated and won the SEC Championship. Williams broke the all-time Auburn career records in two categories for most rushing attempts (with 741) and most touchdowns (with 45). He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL and as a rookie, became the first player in NFL history to have three consecutive 100-yard games.

Todd Jones led Jacksonville State to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1988 and 1989. As a pitcher, he struck out 171 batters during those two seasons. He then went on to play for 16 seasons in Major League Baseball and for eight different teams. In May 2006, he became the Detroit Tigers’ all-time leader in saves with 235. He was the 21st member of the 300-Save Club and finished his career with 319 total saves. In 2006, he helped lead the Tigers as they won the American League Pennant.

Lee DeFore played college basketball at Auburn before heading toward a career in the NBA. He currently sits at fifth in all-time scoring average at Auburn, with an average 19.0 points per game. He led the SEC in scoring during his senior year at Auburn with an average of 23.7 points per game, as well as setting nine Auburn school records during his career and scoring over 30 points in seven games. In 21 of the 26 games, he led the team in scoring.

After playing defensive lineman at Tennessee, Ken Donahue went on to be a college football assistant coach for 38 years. He assisted at Alabama for 21 years, from 1964 through 1984, and he was named Working SEC Coach of the Year twice.

Jeff Herrod played college football at Ole Miss before pursuing a career in the NFL. He holds the Ole Miss records for tackles in a single game with 28 and tackles in a single season with 168. He completed his Ole Miss career with 528 tackles, which is the most in school history. He sits second all-time in the most tackles in SEC history. During his 11-year NFL career, he was named Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Jim Goostree worked as an athletic trainer at Alabama for 27 years. After he was promoted to assistant athletic director in 1984, Goostree supervised the renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium, among other projects. He passed away in 1999.

In addition to the eight inductees, Pete Derzis and Dr. Gaylon McCollough will be recognized as the 2017 Distinguished Sportsmen of Alabama. Derzis is a Sr. Vice President for ESPN and has contributed to creating a number of sporting events in the state. He also served as associate athletic director at UAB in the 1970s. Dr.McCollough is a renowned facial plastic surgeon, and he was an Academic All-American center at Alabama under Bear Bryant. McCollough was on the 1964 Tide team that won the national championship.

Ron Ingram, a longtime high school reporter and the current director of communications for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, will receive the Mel Allen Media Award. This award goes to media members who have made lifetime contributions to sports in the state.

The Frank “Pig” House Award, which is awarded to someone who has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama, will go to Emmanuel “Tubb” Bell IV. He has served as the head women’s basketball coach at Wenonah High School in Birmingham for the past 20 years.

1 year ago

One BUSY stretch of interstate in Alabama is about to get a makeover

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday that she has directed Alabama Department of Transportation Director Jon Cooper to expand a portion of Interstate 65 in north Shelby County from four lanes to six.

“Infrastructure development is economic development. If traffic is congested and our roads are blocked, transportation is slowed and the wheels of economic progress are slowed. As Governor, my quest is to provide Alabama’s families and small businesses with every opportunity for success; this project is just the start of our statewide focus of spurring economic growth through improving our infrastructure,” Governor Ivey said in a press release. “By expanding I-65 in Shelby County, we are not only meeting a long overlooked need in our state, we are also signaling that economic development is central to my administration and that Alabama is open for business. I instructed Director Cooper to move forward with this project because it is the right thing to do for the people and businesses of Alabama.”

Here is a look at approximately where the lane expansion would take place.

While this is only a 3.5 mile stretch of interstate, it is a very heavily-traveled one on a daily basis. According to the governor’s release, approximately 93,000 vehicles travel this stretch of road each day, and 12,000 of those are estimated to be tractor trailers.

Director Cooper said, “Though this project has been on the radar for a while, Governor Ivey made it clear to me that alleviating traffic congestion across the state is a high priority for her. I am looking forward to spearheading this project, now that she has given us the green light to move forward, as traffic in this area is expected to grow to over 150,000 vehicles per day during the next 20 years.”

ALDOT says it plans to start taking bids on the project before this calendar year is complete. It will cost the state between $50 and $60 million. If you travel this stretch of Shelby County interstate often, you know that it has long needed to be expanded. Now it looks like that will finally happen.