The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

9 hours ago

Coach Bill Clark: UAB ready for football season preparations to start

UAB football coach Bill Clark is like many fans who are waiting for a clear sign that the college football season is on the horizon this year.

With less than 90 days until the start of the season, that sign will be next week when UAB players report for voluntary individual workouts and training. Clark said that will progress into the more familiar pre-season camp between now and August.

“I’m excited to get them back, even in small numbers right now,” Clark said.

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Coach Bill Clark: UAB ready for football season preparations from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

It’s been a challenging few months for everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic and football was not immune. It eliminated the normal spring training and spring football scrimmages for all collegiate teams, and officials from all schools and conferences have been weighing whether and how to proceed with preparations for a season that at one time seemed uncertain.

Clark said he is confident the plan UAB has in place is a good one and he has one of the premier institutions to draw on for medical expertise.

“Rule No. 1 has always been athlete safety, so this is not something new for us,” Clark said. “Obviously, the COVID crisis was something new for us to deal with. The support of our athletic trainers obviously being at UAB with the medical school helps.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 days ago

Auburn Athletics leaders, Alabama elected officials remember Pat Dye

(Auburn Football/Facebook)

Legendary former Auburn University head football coach and athletic director Pat Dye passed away on Monday morning, and tributes are already pouring in from across the Yellowhammer State.

Dye is survived by his four children (Pat Jr., Missy, Brett and Wanda), nine grandchildren and his partner of 18 years, Nancy McDonald.

In a statement, Pat Dye, Jr., thanked everyone for their support.

“On behalf of our family, I want to thank all of the people from around the country who have offered their support and admiration for Dad these past several days,” he said. “Dad would be honored and humbled to know about this overwhelming outreach. The world has lost a pretty good football coach and a great man. He was beloved, he touched so many lives and he will be missed by many, especially our family.”

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The Crooked Oaks Legacy Foundation has been established to honor Coach Dye and his legacy, as well as to continue his work and love of people, nature and the gardens he created at Crooked Oaks for everyone to enjoy. The foundation will also support the needs of qualifying students at Auburn University and Auburn University at Montgomery to further their education.

A memorial to honor Dye will be held at a later date, according to the university. Details will be announced once they have been confirmed.

Governor Kay Ivey:

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Pat Dye — a great man, coach and member of the Auburn family. Not only was he a phenomenal football coach, but an even better person. For years, I have known Pat personally and have always valued his friendship and colorful commentary. He had great takes on both football and life. Coach Dye truly embodied the Auburn spirit. He will be missed not only by the Auburn family, but the entire state of Alabama. War Eagle, Coach. Your life and legacy lives on.”

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04):

“If there was a college football version of Mount Rushmore, Pat Dye could be there among the greats. Not only did he bring Auburn football back into prominence by winning games, SEC Championships, and what probably should have been a 1983 National Championship, he was a wonderful molder of young men. While he will long be remembered for the games he won and the contributions he made to the great Auburn-Alabama rivalry, there are hundreds of people who were touched by him who will carry on his legacy for decades to come.”

Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene:

“For four decades, Coach Dye showed all of us what it looks like to be an Auburn person. His coaching exploits are well known, securing his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. His skills as an administrator were equally formidable, resulting most notably in bringing the Iron Bowl to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Just like his football teams, Pat Dye the athletic director was tenacious, never backing down from a fight when he believed Auburn’s good name and best interests demanded it. Thanks to his tenacity, I’ll always treasure my first home Iron Bowl, celebrating victory on the field that bears his name.

It’s been a blessing to get to know Coach Dye in his retirement years in his role as a passionate supporter of all of Auburn Athletics. Ever the coach, I’ve witnessed him on countless occasions pouring into our student-athletes. In that sense, he never stopped being Coach Dye. On behalf of the Auburn Family, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Patrick Fain Dye, whose love and loyalty for Auburn rendered a contribution we can never fully measure or repay.”

Gus Malzahn, Auburn head football coach:

“Coach Dye was much more than a hall of fame coach and administrator at Auburn. He was an Auburn leader and visionary. He not only returned the football program back to national prominence during his tenure, but was a key figure in bringing the Iron Bowl to Auburn and made an impact on the university and in the community. He embodied what Auburn is about: hard work, toughness and a blue collar mentality.

Coach Dye’s impact on Auburn is endless and will stand the test of time. He had a great and deep love for Auburn and he displayed that affinity daily. I’m very appreciative of his support and friendship through the years. It’s a sad day. Coach Dye was a treasure and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, his former players and coaches and the entire Auburn family.”

David Housel, Auburn athletic director/sports information director emeritus:

“People will talk about all of the games coach dye won, all of those champions and bowl games, but his greatest contribution, his legacy, is the difference he made in the lives of his players and the people who worked for him. I am one of them. He made a difference in my life.

He came to Auburn at a time when Auburn needed leadership and focus. He provided that leadership and focus and Auburn will be forever better because of him.”

Hal Baird, Auburn baseball coach, 1985-2000:

“Coach Dye was a mentor and a friend for 46 years. I was with him when he coached his first football game at East Carolina and his last game at Auburn. He was a giant of a man and touched hundreds if not thousands of people. Everyone that he touched would say the same thing, that his life was built on a core of values that he taught to his players, coaches and staff. It’s a huge loss. He left an indelible impression on college football, on Auburn and really the entire country.”

Jay Jacobs, Former Auburn athletic director/administrator, Auburn football letterman:

“Coach Dye changed the course of Auburn Athletics and Auburn University when he walked on campus. He personified the Auburn Creed.

He impacted countless lives and continues to impact lives today because of who he was and what he wanted for Auburn. The entire Auburn family continues to benefit from him.

This has nothing to do with winning and losing games. It has to do with building character and persistence in young men. That’s what he did. He took regular boys, and if you went through his program, you became better for it. That’s his legacy. We had a chance to win games and championships, but his legacy is how he’s revered by players because of the way he profoundly impacted our lives positively forever.

Because of his relentless pursuit of excellence, he made us all better. He molded everyone into champions. He gave us the courage to have a spirit that is not afraid. He gave us poise and confidence to be who we are today – dads, husbands, brothers, community leaders, whatever it may be. He forged in us an attitude of excellence and toughness. He taught us that when you fall, to get up and go harder.”

Quentin Riggins, Former Auburn All-SEC and team captain linebacker; University trustee:

“Coach Dye was special to me. I was not the stereotypical 6-4, 220-pound linebacker. I didn’t fit the specifications to be chosen to play that position. But somehow he saw something in me that could help Auburn and his football team. I’ll never forget him taking the chance on me in 1986 when he could have recruited anyone in the state at that position.

A large part of it was because my senior year in high school, I left a football game at halftime. It was the SW Louisiana game during Bo Jackson’s senior year. My dad told Coach Dye we couldn’t stay for the entire game because I had to work at 5 p.m. back home at McDonald’s. Little did I know that’s what struck his interest in me, that on a Saturday you can come to a football game, meet Bo Jackson and have an excuse to miss work, but leave at halftime to go to work. He’s told that story numerous times. Coach Dye wanted players like Bo, Frank Thomas, Reggie Slack and Lawyer Tillman, but he also saw past 4.3, 6-4, 250 and saw one of the ingredients that made a winning player and team. That’s what he went for.

I got a chance to talk to Coach about two weeks ago, to hear his voice and tell him I loved him. Hearing him talk was special to me. His toughness, his opening press conference when he said how long it was going to take to beat Alabama, Tiger Walk, and winning the fourth quarter…those are just a few of the marks he left on Auburn. Nobody can take that away from him. He left such an incredible, indelible mark. Players and fans of today are benefitting from his contributions to Auburn.”

Former University of Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings:

“I was so sorry to hear about Pat (Dye) I knew him before we were head coaches and I’ve been his friend ever since. When he was at Auburn and I was at Alabama, on the field or recruiting, we never had one cross word between us.”

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban

“I’ve known and respected Pat Dye for many years, and he always represented college football with tremendous class and integrity. He was an outstanding teacher and coach who affected our game in many significant ways. We are saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, co-workers and all of the players he had such a positive impact on throughout his distinguished career.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 days ago

Beloved Auburn football coach Pat Dye has died at age 80

(YellaWood/YouTube)

One of the most cherished members of the Auburn family, former football coach Pat Dye, perished on Monday at the age of 80, according to multiple media reports.

Dye has been hospitalized due to problems with his kidneys in May and tested positive for COVID-19. The exact cause of his death on Monday has not yet been publicized.

The news of Dye’s death spread widely on social media late Monday morning after remarks made during the “On the Mark” radio program in the Auburn area. The first news outlet to publish a report was 247sports, which was quickly confirmed by additional reporting from WBRC.

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Dye was Auburn’s head coach from 1981-92 and its athletics director from 1981-91.

In his 12 seasons as head coach at Auburn, Dye led the Tigers to a 99-39-4 record and won four Southeastern Conference championships (1983, ’87, ’88 and ’89). Under his tenure, Auburn won 10 or more games four times, finished in the top 10 nationally five times and won six bowl games.

Dye is known for being instrumental in bringing the Iron Bowl to Auburn for the first time in 1989, a game which the Tigers won, and is considered one of the most important events in the history of the program.

He was a three-time SEC coach of the year (1983, ’87 and ’89) and was national coach of the year in ’83.

The playing surface at Jordan-Hare Stadium was named Pat Dye Field in his honor on Nov. 19, 2005, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December 2005.

This story is breaking and may be updated.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

 

1 week ago

UAH Hockey saved after supporters successfully raise over $750K in less than five days

(UAHHockey.com/Facebook)

Just one week after the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) announced that its men’s hockey team would be discontinued, UAH on Friday confirmed the program has been saved by supporters.

The university last Friday had listed financial shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for cutting the popular program.

Following that announcement, a GoFundMe was launched on Monday evening in an effort to raise $500,000 by close-of-business on Friday. That ambitious goal was reached shortly after noon on Friday, with hours to spare.

As of 2:30 p.m. CT, the GoFundMe had garnered a total of $516,585 from more than 2,200 donors. Additionally, a t-shirt fundraising page had raised an additional $29,792.

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In addition to these crowdfunded donations, UAH in a statement advised that two long time hockey supporters, Taso Sofikitis and Sheldon Wolitski, have each gifted $125,000 to support the program.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, UAH Athletic Director Cade Smith confirmed that these funds, combined with the crowdsourced funds, will enable the program to continue for the duration of the 2020-2021 season. The total amount of almost $800,000 in private dollars is the largest athletic campaign contribution in the history of UAH.

In addition to the private funds, UAH President Darren Dawson has committed dollars from the university to cover the balance of the hockey team’s operations during the upcoming season. The program will continue to compete in Division I.

Moving forward, supporters of the program will still need to secure long-term funding and competitive stability.

“We are thankful and gratified from the loyal support that has been demonstrated this week by the fans and alumni of Charger hockey,” stated Dawson. “We are hopeful that this support will translate into a sustainable funding model that will allow the UAH hockey program to rise again to high levels of success.”

Smith said, “The university is fully committed to the upcoming season. The university will work with the supporters of the UAH hockey program and a newly formed Hockey Advisory Board to develop a plan that will allow the Chargers to thrive in 2021-2022 season and beyond.”

One key obstacle moving forward besides funding will be UAH Hockey finding a new conference, as their current conference is disbanding following this upcoming season.

Smith stressed that “UAH is committed to building a world-class D1 hockey program with a permanent conference home that will allow the Chargers to continue past the 2020-2021 season.”

To continue beyond the current season, UAH said that the Chargers must develop a five-year philanthropic funding model and resolve the associated conference-related issues.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

State Sen. Tom Whatley: ‘Everything we’ve seen points to’ Auburn football being back in the fall

(Screenshot/APTV)

AUBURN — State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) offers reason for optimism for Auburn University football season to take place this fall.

During a sitdown interview that aired on Auburn radio’s Talk 93.9 WQSI, Whatley said the decision would not be made by Auburn University, which is in his Senate district, nor will it be the University of Alabama’s decision for their program across the state.

However, he said he there are efforts underway to get students back on campus, which is one of the required objectives to getting campus athletic activities underway.

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“Everything we’ve seen points to that being back,” Whatley said. “That is a decision that neither Auburn or Alabama get to make. That is above their heads. But every indication is that is going to happen. And I hope it happens just like it happens last year with everybody back in the stands if they want to be there. I’m focused on getting Auburn back to school here in the second mini-mester, which will start the last week of June. And that would get kids back on campus back at the end of June. Then you would have a way to plan for the fall. I know Auburn has got a plan for the fall. I know it has got a plan for the second mini-mester if they come back for that. So I am pleased with what they are doing, and they are committed to getting students back on the Auburn campus.”

Whatley also expressed his confidence that Auburn University will implement safety protocols and procedures.

“I go for walks on campus, 5:30 or 6,” he said. “The other day, one of my friends who works in the athletic department. I called him and said, ‘I want to stop by and say hello if you’re back on campus.’ He said, ‘Well, we are, but you can’t get in here. You’ve got to have a temperature [taken] when you go in, and only essential personnel can be in here.’ So, they’re really limiting who can be in the athletic complex. You’re going to have some controls there. They’re going to have controls in place to make sure the place is safe for themselves and for the athlete. And they’re going to be hypersensitive to that, at least this year. That’s just my feeling.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

1 week ago

National baseball showcase events relocate to Hoover

(Perfect Game USA/Twitter)

America’s best high school baseball players are set to descend on Hoover in late June to exhibit their skills.

Baseball company Perfect Game announced it is moving its 2020 National Showcase events to the Hoover Met Complex. The showcases will take place from June 17-25.

“Even though it’s a challenging time for all of us, we are glad we can serve as the host site for these prestigious Perfect Game tournaments. … We will make sure both the Junior National Showcase and National Showcase get that type of attention they deserve so it will be a quality time for those that attend,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said.

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The Perfect Game National Showcase will include all of the best talent from the high school class of 2021. It will be held June 17-21 in Hoover.

Perfect Game has held the National Showcase every year since 2001, and it has included 404 players who went on to play in the MLB.

Following the big event is the Perfect Game Junior National Showcase, which will display the skills of the top high school sophomores and juniors in North America.

Both events are invitation only.

The two showcase events had planned to be held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, but they relocated due to the possibility of Major League Baseball needing that location.

The Hoover Met Complex outlined on its website the following procedures being taken to limit COVID-19 transmission:

  • Routine washing down of all flat surfaces
  • Pressure washing and disinfecting of dugouts, bleachers, and other such areas
  • Additional cleanings of all bathrooms both during and between events
  • Sanitation stations located throughout the complex, including at all Concession Stands
  • Signage in all restrooms regarding best practices for hand washing and sanitizing
  • Limited spectator capacity within the complex
  • HMC Food Services staff is required to wear gloves
  • Event staff is required to wear face masks.

Jerry Ford, founder and president of Perfect Game said, “The City of Hoover will, no doubt, prove to be a fabulous host of an event of this magnitude as they have on countless occasions through the years. We also understand the importance of athlete, family, scout and staff health and safety and are committed to the highest of standards at this year’s event.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

2 weeks ago

South Alabama football schedules series with Ole Miss

(Wikicommons, YHN)

The fewer than 300 miles between Mobile and Oxford will become familiar territory for fans of the University of South Alabama Jaguars and the Ole Miss Rebels later this decade.

The two schools have reached an agreement for their football teams to play a home-and-home series in 2028 and 2029, according to a release from the Jaguar athletic department.

“We are very excited to sign this home-and-home contract with Ole Miss,” Jag head coach Steve Campbell said. “They have a proud program and tradition, it will be great to have them play in Hancock Whitney Stadium; hopefully they will be the first of many Power Five schools to make that trip to play here in Mobile. Mississippi has been very good for us as far as recruiting, we have brought in a lot of talented student-athletes from the state, I know it will be exciting for those future recruits to play Ole Miss.”

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The teams will kick off the series in Oxford on September 2, 2028, with a return trip to Hancock Whitney Stadium set for September 1, 2029.

A visit from the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2014 was the last time the Jags squared off against an SEC team at home. The Jags last played the three-time national champion Rebels in Oxford in 2017, a game the home team won 47-27.

The Jags will also face Florida in 2020, Tennessee in 2021, LSU in 2024, Auburn in 2025 and Kentucky in 2026.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

2 weeks ago

Alabama, Auburn land multiple baseball players on All-America teams

(University of Alabama Athletics, Auburn University Athletics/Contributed, YHN)

Collegiate Baseball News on Tuesday announced its three All-America teams, with the University of Alabama landing one player each on the first and second teams and Auburn University garnering three third team selections.

UA freshman pitcher Connor Prielipp was named to the first team and senior catcher Brett Auerbach made the second team.

According to Alabama Athletics, the duo becomes the Crimson Tide’s first All-America selections since Thomas Burrows was named a third-teamer by the NCBWA in 2016.

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Additionally, Prielipp becomes the 16th first team All-American in Bama baseball history and the only Tide freshman to ever be named to an All-America first team. UA’s most recent first team honoree was Taylor Dugas in 2010.

For Auburn, junior pitcher Tanner Burns, senior third-baseman Rankin Woley and sophomore shortstop Ryan Bliss made the third team.

Burns, named a third team All-American by Perfect Game/Rawlings last season, becomes the third Auburn player ever to be named a two-time All-American, joining Gregg Olson (1987-88) and Casey Mize (2017-18).

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

UAH Hockey supporters trying to raise $500K by Friday to save program

(UAHHockey.com/Facebook)

Supporters of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) men’s hockey program have launched a fundraising effort to attempt to save the program from being discontinued by the university.

UAH on Friday announced that the hockey program, along with the men’s and women’s tennis programs, were being cut due to financial shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

An online petition was then launched to support saving the program, with over 5,700 signatures being accrued as of Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Now, it appears that this support will ultimately need to translate into money for that goal to come to fruition.

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A GoFundMe launched Monday evening explained, “We have been given an opportunity to show our grit as the University has asked us to raise 1 million dollars by COB this Friday, May 29th. We have already had alumni, booster club members, and life-time supporters setup with large individual donations and commit to donating annually to make sure the program is self-sustaining for the long-term. For short term we are looking to raise $500,000 of the 1 million via this Go Fund Me account. If the required funds are raised, UAH has agreed to create an advisory board consisting of hockey alumni, local business leaders and major donors to help turn UAH Hockey into a world class hockey program. Please help us save the great tradition of UAH Charger Hockey program and keep 28 more opportunities for Division l Hockey players alive! NOTE – if the program is not re-instated all donations will be fully refunded. We are confident with your generosity and the grit of Charger Hockey that we will not be sending any refunds. Thank You and Stay Safe!”

As of Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. CT, the GoFundMe had raised over $83,000 of the stated goal of $500,000. The stated fundraising deadline is close-of-business on Friday. Already, 202 different donors had contributed to the GoFundMe.

You can donate here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Thousands sign petition supporting UAH’s hockey program

(UAHHockey.com/Facebook)

An online petition is already garnering significant support after the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) on Friday announced that it was ending its men’s hockey program.

UAH in a release outlined that financial shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic had already resulted in the university implementing “a hiring freeze, a heightened review of spending, cancellations of faculty sabbaticals, and a temporary suspension of the 403(b) voluntary retirement employer match.”

However, the release stated that more reorganization and cuts were necessary, before adding, “After a comprehensive review of UAH’s athletic offerings and the associated long-term budget implications, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the men’s hockey, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis programs.”

Student athletes in the affected programs will have their existing scholarships honored by UAH for the duration of their academic careers.

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The decision to end the hockey program has specifically been met with some backlash, including from the popular “Friends of UAH Hockey” Twitter account.

Additionally, a petition launched on Change.org to “Keep UAH Charger Hockey” already has garnered more than 4,600 signatures as of 11:15 a.m. CT on Monday.

The petition leader outlined that the program is a benefit for the entire community in North Alabama.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Saban urges Alabamians to wear masks in public — ‘Want to make sure we play football this fall’

(Alabama Football/Twitter)

In a video recently posted to social media platforms, University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban stressed the importance of social distancing, sanitation and wearing masks, suggesting the upcoming college football season is at stake.

After appearing in a skit alongside Tide mascot “Big Al” and Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine Jeff Allen, Saban in the video said, “All of us want to make sure we play football this fall.”

“And to make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash your hands often, follow all social distancing guidelines and please wear a mask anytime you’re around other people,” Saban continued.

Watch:

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Saban in recent days also spoke with TNT’s Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley about his “hope” for the upcoming season.

“It’s kind of everyone’s goal to try to have a football season that starts when it’s supposed to start, like Labor Day Weekend, and have as normal a schedule as possible and as normal a playoff situation as possible,” Saban advised.

“But I don’t know if that’s going to be realistic or not,” he added. “I’m hopeful.”

After stressing how important the season could be for many players, Saban was asked by Johnson if he could see not having fans at games this coming season.

“Well, I’d hate to see it, to be honest with you,” Saban responded. “Because there’s a spirit around college football that is unique to most anything else that I’ve ever experienced.”

He then raised the notion of fans having to wear masks when attending games, referencing a picture from a Georgia Tech game during the Spanish Flu outbreak when fans did just that.

‘These are not decisions that are up to me, they’re just things that I’m hopeful will happen,” Saban concluded.

RELATED: SEC to allow voluntary in-person athletics activities beginning June 8

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

SEC to allow voluntary in-person athletics activities beginning June 8

(SEC/Facebook, YHN)

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Friday announced that voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8.

The resumption of these voluntary activities must come under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC had previously suspended all athletics activities through May 31. A transition period will now begin June 8, with certain activities to be permitted based on the ability to participate in controlled and safe environments, while also maintaining recommended social distancing measures.

Leading public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14-member institutions were consulted in formulating the conference’s plan.

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You can read more details from the SEC’s announcement here.

During the month of June, current NCAA regulations will permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball. A current waiver that permits eight hours of virtual film review has been extended through June 30 for football and basketball.

Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all SEC sports. A previously announced suspension of in-person camps and coaches clinics conducted by SEC institutions remains in effect until July 31.

Reacting to the SEC’s announcement, Auburn University Athletic Director Allen Greene said, “As always, the health and well-being of our student-athletes and the Auburn family remains our highest priority. We support the SEC presidents and chancellors’ decision to reopen our facilities for voluntary in-person athletics activities. Through extensive collaboration, campus colleagues have developed plans to safely manage the return of our student-athletes. To build on this momentum, it is imperative that we proceed with a great deal of discipline and flexibility, with the end goal of conducting fall activities as previously scheduled.”

Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn added, “We appreciate the SEC presidents and chancellors’ decision to allow voluntary in-person athletic activities beginning June 8. The SEC and Auburn leadership have been tremendous through this process and we appreciate the efforts of the SEC Task Force which includes our team physician, Dr. Michael Goodlett. This is an important first step toward having a season this fall and we will continue to collectively work together as our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

UPDATE:

University of Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in a statement, “The health and safety of everyone, including our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans has been, and will continue to be at the forefront as we prepare to return. We appreciate the leadership and guidance of the Southeastern Conference and its Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force throughout this situation to best equip our campuses with educational materials and recommendations on best practices.”

“Resumption of voluntary in-person activity is an important step in moving us towards the fall athletic season, which we are fully preparing for with a phased approach beginning June 8. In addition to our public health officials, we are fortunate to have an elite sports medicine staff here at Alabama, from our athletic trainers to our team doctors that we will continue to take direction from as we make decisions for a safe return,” he continued. “We look forward to welcoming back our student-athletes, coaches and staff to campus.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

Crimson Tide solidifies home-and-home series with Pac-12 opponent

(AlabamaFTBL/Twitter, YHN)

While questions linger about the Alabama Crimson Tide’s out-of-conference game with a Pac-12 opponent this season, the University of Alabama athletic department announced it has added a home-and-home series with the Arizona Wildcats for the 2032 and 2033 football seasons.

“We are excited to announce another home-and-home for our future football schedules with the addition of Arizona for the 2032 and 2033 seasons,” said Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne in a release from his department. “These meetings will be the first between the Crimson Tide and Wildcats, providing our teams and our fan bases exciting new opportunities during the regular season. As I said early on, we are going to work hard at adding more home-and-homes to our non-conference schedules, and we are pleased that we’ve been able to do that, securing nine of them thus far that will begin in 2022 with Texas.”

The Wildcats come to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 4, 2032, with the Crimson Tide heading west to Tucson on Sept. 3, 2033.

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban sees the series following in the pattern of top-tier competition for his program.

“The addition of Arizona is another example of the commitment our administration has to creating outstanding schedules for many years to come,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “Arizona is a tremendous football program and the opportunity to play this type of competition only makes our program stronger while providing a lot of excitement for both fan bases.”

Earlier this year, Saban reached yet another astonishing milestone when he became the first head coach to have players at all 22 positions drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.

As for this season’s Pac-12 opponent, the Crimson Tide and the rest of the college football world await decisions from West Coast schools on when, and if, they plan to start the season as they deal with COVID-19. The Crimson Tide are scheduled to open against USC on September 5 in Arlington, Texas.

RELATED: California shouldn’t tell Bama, Auburn if they get to play football

One national pundit based in Los Angeles has reported the game will not be played. Paul Finebaum has reported that Alabama is exploring options with other opponents for the same weekend in the event USC is unable to play.

Mike Bohn, USC’s director of athletics, has said the school has “every intention” of playing the game. Bohn is scheduled to appear on Finebaum’s radio show on Thursday afternoon.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

2 weeks ago

Pat Dye tests positive for coronavirus while hospitalized for kidney issues; Expected to be released from hospital soon

(YellaWood/YouTube)

Storied Auburn football coach Pat Dye has tested positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital for kidney issues. He is resting comfortably and expected home soon.

The news of Dye’s hospitalization and coronavirus diagnosis was first announced to the public by his home parish of Toccoa First United Methodist Church. Subsequent reporting on his condition was done by ESPN.

The legendary coach’s son, Pat Dye, Jr., told ESPN that his father’s positive COVID-19 test “occurred a number of days ago during a routine precautionary test pursuant to his hospitalization for kidney-related issues.”

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“He has essentially been asymptomatic for the virus and is resting comfortably. We fully anticipate his release from the hospital in the next few days once his kidney function is stable,” added Dye Jr.

Coach Dye is familiar to many younger generations of fans as the namesake of the field where the Tigers play their home games.

Dye earned that distinction by leading his teams to a 99-39-4 overall record during his 12 seasons as head coach from 1981-1992.

He won six Iron Bowls, four SEC championships and three SEC Coach of the Year awards.

Dye recruited Auburn legend Bo Jackson and coached him to a Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1985.

Dye also served as Auburn’s athletic director from 1981-1991. During his tenure as AD, he masterminded the move of the Iron Bowl from Birmingham’s Legion Field to Alabama and Auburn’s home stadiums.

When Dye was first hired as Auburn’s coach in 1981 he was asked how long it would take to beat Alabama.

“60 minutes,” Dye replied.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

3 weeks ago

Saban: Michael Jordan epitomizes ‘the ultimate sacrifice you have to make to win’

(Nick's Kids Foundation/Facebook, ESPN/YouTube)

The media buzz over ESPN’s 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan recently overlapped with University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, who recently shared his thoughts on the sacrifices necessary to be a champion.

One particular clip from “The Last Dance” appears to have caught Saban’s attention.

The clip in question comes at the end of episode seven. In it, Jordan gets emotional about the sacrifices he had made to win, and how his expectations for excellence had hurt some of those around him.

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“When people see this, they’re going to say, ‘He wasn’t merely a nice guy, he may have been a tyrant,'” remarks Jordan in the clip.

“That’s you, because you never won anything,” Jordan says about his hypothetical detractors.

The episode in full had shown several examples of Jordan pushing his teammates to the brink, using meanness and trash talk to get every last ounce of competitiveness out of the men who put on the same jersey he did.

Saban filmed a video for Alabama football’s social media channels in which he reacts to the clip, also referring to the late, great Kobe Bryant’s visit to Tuscaloosa in the summer of 2018.

“[T]his sort of defines the ultimate competitor, the ultimate sacrifice you have to make to win, the ultimate sacrifice you have to make to be a leader,” Saban says about the clip of Jordan. “It probably explains, you know, what we’ve tried to accomplish here in this program by what we bring out in our players, which is to help them be the best version of themselves as people, as students and as players, and get people to aspire to be the very best that they can be. That’s all we’ve tried to do here.”

“And I’ve never heard anyone articulate it any better than Michael Jordan just did, because that’s the kind of competitor he was,” adds Saban, who believes Jordan is “maybe the greatest player of all time.”

The reaction video on social media is not the only time Saban talked about that clip of Jordan.

“There’s a price to pay for being a leader. You have to push people to get them to do things that they might not want to do,” Saban told 247sports.com about the video clip.

Saban believes the sacrifices made by Jordan’s teammates are similar to the ones Saban asks Crimson Tide players to make.

“It might make them uncomfortable. Everybody wants to be comfortable, but you’ve got to get used to being uncomfortable if you’re really going to be successful and you’re really going to be good,” added Saban in the 247sports interview.

RELATED: Nick Saban reacts to the death of Kobe Bryant: ‘The world lost a truly special person today’

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

3 weeks ago

Gene Chizik’s top 5 SEC QBs

(@GatorsFB, @AlabamaFTBL, @CoachGeneChizik, @AuburnFootball/Twitter, Ole Miss Football/Facebook, YHN)

On a recent edition of “SEC For Now” on the SEC Network, former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik ranked his top five quarterbacks in the SEC heading into the 2020 college football season.

According to Chizik, these five signal-callers stand out among their peers.

5. John Rhys Plumlee, Sophomore, 6’0″, 192 lbs, Ole Miss

Key 2019 stat: 1,023 rushing yards (led the team)

Chizik’s take: “He showed spurts of brilliance last year running the football. I know he’s got to improve throwing the football.” On new head coach Lane Kiffin’s influence on Plumlee, “What he could do with this guy could be masterful.”

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4. Jamie Newman, Senior, 6’4″, 230 lbs, Georgia

Key 2019 stat: Averaged 7.9 yards per passing attempt.

Chizik’s take: “There has been so much energy out there about him because of what he brought to the table for Wake Forest. He’s a big, athletic guy.” Based on offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s success with quarterbacks in the past, he called the relationship between Monken and Newman “a really interesting match between the two of them.”

3. Mac Jones, Junior, 6’2″, 205 lbs, Alabama

Key 2019 stat: 1,503 yards passing on 141 attempts

Chizik’s take: The weapons around Jones are something he will capitalize on for success. “What I’ve seen Mac Jones do up to this point, particularly his last game against Michigan in the bowl game, I would say that is going to be very interesting scenario in that quarterback room.”

RELATED: California shouldn’t tell Bama, Auburn if they get to play football

2. Kellen Mond, Senior, 6’3″, 217 lbs, Texas A&M

Key 2019 stat: 2,897 yards passing

Chizik’s take: “I think they’re destined right now to have…a great year on offense with what Jimbo has done there.” Texas A&M’s returning weapons, and a third year under Fisher, should lend to even greater improvement. “He will probably end his career as the leading passer in the history of the school.”

1. Kyle Trask, Senior, 6’5″, 239 lbs, Florida

Key 2019 stat: 25 TDs, 7 INT

Chizik’s take: “There’s no question in mind. What I saw him do when he took over for Feleipe Franks last year, leading them to an 11-2 season, great win in the Orange Bowl. He’s exactly what Dan Mullen wants…Really picked up the offense. He’s been in the offense now for three years. Dan Mullen is one of the best play callers in college football. There are no staff changes. This guy has a chance to bring an East title, for sure, this year and compete with Georgia.”

Notable absences from Chizik’s top five:

Bo Nix, Auburn — “I think Bo has a great career ahead of him but he lost so many weapons around him,” said Chizik.

Myles Brennan, LSU — Chizik noted the uncertainty surrounding the offense now that offensive coordinator Joe Brady has moved on to the NFL.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

3 weeks ago

SEC to vote May 22 on proper date to reopen athletic facilities

(SEC/Facebook, YHN)

The heads of each university in the SEC will vote May 22 on whether or not schools should keep their athletic facilities shuttered beyond June 1, according to an ESPN report.

Currently, SEC facilities are scheduled to reopen on June 1, and the question of whether it should be extended has become a hot topic of discussion around the southeast.

All SEC athletic activities have been canceled since the middle of March.

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The May 22 vote will take place via the weekly conference call between every SEC president, according to ESPN.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN that his league’s decision making will take the realities of certain states reopening into account when discussing the issue.

Sankey did not confirm the vote, but the cable network cited comments from multiple SEC athletic administrators speaking directly about the upcoming vote.

The commissioner admitted to ESPN that “[a]t some point prior to May 31, we’re going to have to make a decision.”

Many student-athletes take advantage of voluntary workouts in school gyms during the summer months before official team training begins in August.

Alabama’s in-state university presidents of SEC schools have been relatively aggressive in committing to bringing students back to campus compared to schools across the nation.

Auburn University President Jay Gogue said this week that his university will “have football this fall.”

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John has committed to having students on campus in the fall.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

3 weeks ago

California shouldn’t tell Bama, Auburn if they get to play football

(Paul Finebaum/Facebook, @SEC/Twitter, Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Facebook, YHN)

It took 40 years in the media business, but Paul Finebaum finally said something smart earlier this week.

Appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up,” Finebaum said putting together the upcoming college football season would be “survival of the fittest.” He continued, “This is a brutal game … if you can play, you play. If you don’t, you get run over and left behind.”

In the same conversation, Finebaum reported that the Crimson Tide has already had conversations about replacing its opening opponent, USC, with TCU. TCU is scheduled to play another Golden State school, Cal-Berkeley, on September 5.

Many areas in the state of California, home to four Pac-12 teams, have stay-at-home orders in place through the summer. Its state university system has declared there will not be any on-campus classes during the Fall semester. As a result, some believe the Pac-12 will not play football this Fall and instead opt for a Spring season.

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Similar problems could pop up in other conferences. Big Ten states such as Michigan, Illinois and New Jersey have extended their stay-at-home orders.

Every conference is facing different situations which are being dictated by political leadership in their member states.

This is why Greg Byrne, Alabama’s athletic director, and his team are reportedly undertaking prudent steps to ensure they do not get left behind. Byrne has said the Crimson Tide are playing games this year — and has even started inviting guests. At Auburn, President Jay Gogue has told students they are “going to have football this fall.”

If a team cannot play because of circumstances at home, then so be it. As Finebaum said, “If you can play, you play. If you don’t, you get run over and left behind.”

What happens in Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey and California should not decide whether schools in the South play football this season.

That is not, however, the stated position of the SEC office.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey took to the airwaves on Tuesday seeking to quash any notion that his conference would make decisions separate and apart from those in other regions of the country.

“The notion that one thinks one conference is going to go off and doing something independently isn’t attached to reality,” Sankey told Finebaum.

The reality is California schools have already begun to make decisions affecting the season, and it does not seem they are asking the SEC for input.

There are a lot of reasons why the SEC should be actively forging its own path.

First, there is a long time between now and opening weekend. Only two months ago, COVID-19 projections for Alabama were through the roof. Those projections have not come to fruition. Governor Kay Ivey held true to her word and reopened the state for business. The states of Georgia and Florida have reopened and seen their numbers decline.

Maybe the data in Georgia and Florida has to do with a second reason to go it alone, if necessary: SEC weather. A human being can barely survive an 11:00 a.m. kickoff in Starkville, so what makes anyone think a virus can?

The reality is SEC football fans like to dream. Right this minute, Georgia fans are dreaming of a national championship, Kentucky fans are dreaming of basketball season, and South Carolina fans are dreaming of Dabo Swinney’s move to Tuscaloosa.

If other schools and conferences decide not play this year, schedules will have to be patched together as best as they can. No doubt. But for Sankey to duct tape Bama, Auburn and every other SEC school to the political whims of California makes no sense.

Sankey has extended the “We’re all in this together” mantra a little too far. When it comes to college football, we are most definitely not all in this together.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

3 weeks ago

Talladega Superspeedway’s GEICO 500 weekend slated for June 20-21 without fans

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Race fans will have to wait to attend a race in person at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. But there is relief on the way.

On Thursday, Talladega Superspeedway officials announced racing would return to the Talladega Superspeedway June 20-21 for a tripleheader weekend with the GEICO 500, MoneyLion 300 and General Tire 200.

The weekend’s events, which were initially scheduled to be held back in April but were postponed due to the pandemic, will be held without fans and broadcasted on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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“We, like so many passionate race fans, are thrilled to have NASCAR racing again at Talladega Superspeedway,” Talladega Superspeedway president Brian Crichton said in a statement. “For more than 50 years, this enormous venue has provided some of the sport’s most exciting side-by-side, door-to-door racing resulting in photo finishes. A special thank you to Governor Ivey and other state leadership in working with NASCAR to allow these events in Alabama. We also have tremendous appreciation and respect for medical personnel, first responders, frontline and essential workers who have been so dedicated during this time.”

“While fans will not be permitted to attend the events, we encourage everyone to tune into FOX, FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to catch all the action that makes Talladega one of a kind,” he added.

Governor Kay Ivey urged race fans to “remain vigilant” in the coronavirus.

“Having one of our state’s jewels – Talladega Superspeedway – be able to host a NASCAR weekend is yet another step that shows how we are moving forward. The people of Alabama have been smart throughout these challenging times, and as a result, families from our state and all over the world will be treated to seeing or listening to the greatest racing in NASCAR. I ask that everyone remain vigilant so that we can continue taking steps forward and enjoying the many things Alabama has to offer, like our own Talladega Superspeedway.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

3 weeks ago

Auburn University president: We will ‘have football this fall’

(Auburn Football/Twitter)

In a recent admissions video, Auburn University President Jay Gogue expressed his confidence that the school is “going to have football this fall.”

The statement came in the context of Gogue advising that classes will open for face-to-face instruction as planned in the fall.

He also shared that student activities such as Greek life events will still occur in a relatively normal fashion.

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“We’re going to have all of the activities that we have every fall,” Gogue said to incoming freshmen. “The only thing that will be different is that you will be with us this fall, and we’re looking forward to having you.”

Watch:

RELATED: Incoming Auburn professor won’t say ‘War Eagle’ because it contains the word ‘war’

President Donald J. Trump has expressed his support for college football returning in the fall, specifically using the example that he wants to see the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium at full capacity.

The University of Alabama System has already announced its intentions to resume on-campus classes in the fall.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 weeks ago

Colin Cowherd: Bama-USC game ‘a pipe dream’

(USC_FB, @AlabamaFTBL/Twitter, YHN)

Fox Sports national radio host Colin Cowherd said two sources have told him the season-opening matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the USC Trojans will not be played. The game is scheduled for September 5 in Arlington, Texas.

Cowherd made the remarks on his radio show Wednesday afternoon.

“Yesterday, I was told by two people I trust the USC-Alabama game will not happen, it’s a pipe dream,” Cowherd reported.

The Los Angeles-based sports personality cited multiple reasons for the game likely being canceled.

“The people I talked to brought up several points,” Cowherd outlined. “Number one, college football is going to be more regional this year. It’s going to be regionalized and it should. Less travel. Don’t put student-athletes, these are not professional athletes, do not put them in the crosshairs on cross country trips. College football is going to be more regional. By the way, there was a report by Paul Finebaum that Bama has already contacted TCU if USC and Bama cannot play. TCU is scheduled to play Cal, USC-Bama, so you had two Pac-12 teams and that is drying up, and it should in my opinion.”

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In a Tuesday interview on ESPN’s “Get Up,” radio host Paul Finebaum said this season could end up being “survival of the fittest” for the programs willing to field teams.

“There’s already scrambling going on,” Finebaum said. “Alabama plays Southern Cal in the first game of the season at Jerry’s World, and there’s already talk going on between Alabama and TCU about meeting instead of the other two because TCU plays at Berkeley and the California schools, they do not believe, will be available for that date.”

Cowherd believes this is another reason why USC will decline to keep its date with the Crimson Tide.

He called the inability of some schools to start practice on time “a huge disadvantage to California schools.”

Earlier this week, California State University System announced it would not hold any in-person classes during the Fall semester. This is in addition to Los Angeles County’s determination that it will remain under a stay-at-home order through the summer.

Cowherd expressed his belief that all California schools in the Pac-12 would follow suit in declining to hold classes on campus, which could tip the balance away from playing a full college football schedule.

“USC is concerned, I’m told, about not having enough practices, as Alabama could have a three-week to a month head start on practices,” said Cowherd. “No thanks facing Nick Saban who has 20 more practices than my coaching staff and my players are equipped to deal with. Also, California yesterday announced three more months stay-at-home no large gatherings. How does UCLA practice? How does USC practice? As southern states are much more willing to let it go.”

The Pac-12 is entertaining the option to play a condensed schedule and possibly in the Spring, according to Cowherd.

Meanwhile, he thinks not having to play Saban’s squad is a better scenario for USC.

“Maybe the greatest break in scheduling in the history of college football,” concluded Cowherd. “Not necessarily a bad thing for the Trojans.”

Mike Bohn, USC athletic director, took to social media on Tuesday night to say he has been in communication with Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne, adding that the school had “every intention” of playing its game against Alabama.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

4 weeks ago

Alabama State hires former Bama star, NBA champion Mo Williams as head basketball coach

(ASU Athletics/Twitter)

Alabama State University announced Tuesday the hiring of former NBA star guard Mo Williams as the Hornets’ new head basketball coach.

Williams had a 14-year NBA career highlighted by a championship ring from playing on the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I am extremely excited to become part of the family, and I am looking forward to the challenge. Go Hornets!” Williams remarked in a release provided by ASU.

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He was most recently an assistant coach at California State University at Northridge for two years under coach Mark Gottfried.

The Mississippi native is not a stranger to the Yellowhammer State. He played two years of college basketball at the University of Alabama before entering the NBA Draft.

His coach at the time was Mark Gottfried, his boss at California State Northridge.

The 37-year-old is fondly remembered by many Alabama fans for leading the Crimson Tide to a conference championship in 2002, a season which earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

Williams was taken in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft and played for seven teams across his 14 seasons. He was named an all-star during the 2008-2009 season he spent with the Cavaliers.

After a few stops elsewhere, Williams returned to the Cavs for the 2015-2016 season in which they won the NBA Championship, a victory that allowed Williams to retire on top.

“It’s a great day to be a Hornet,” Williams said on Tuesday.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

4 weeks ago

2025 World Police and Fire Games coming to Alabama

(World Police and Fire Games/Contributed)

The World Police and Fire Games Federation has awarded the 2025 World Police and Fire Games to Birmingham, officials announced Wednesday.

“From the beginning, we were impressed by all that Birmingham has to offer,” said LC Collins, World Police and Fire Games president. “We believe that this city is the whole package – from its venues, infrastructure and history of hosting major events, to its entertainment, dining and attractions. This is a special place, and we are confident that our first responders, spectators and their families are going to be a part of an event to remember.”

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Birmingham to host 2025 World Police and Fire Games from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The 2025 World Police and Fire Games, which will be June 27 to July 6, 2025, will further establish Birmingham as a premier sports event destination, building on the city hosting the 2017 National Senior Games and The World Games 2022.

“Birmingham is thrilled to open its doors to the 2025 World Police and Fire Games,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “We’re a city that thrives on the spirit of competition. When our world begins to return to a place of normalcy post-quarantine, it’s events like the World Police and Fire Games that will offer the camaraderie and celebration our residents are currently craving. It will be an incredible way to keep Birmingham’s momentum rolling following The World Games in 2022.”

“These events and others of smaller size contribute heavily to our community’s economy, and underline the importance of travel and tourism in the greater Birmingham area,” said John Oros, president and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

It will feature more than 10,000 first responders competing in 1,600 medal events. The full lineup of sports will be announced in the future but is expected to include more than 55 disciplines, ranging from more traditional offerings like cycling, golf, softball and angling, to unique competitions like “ultimate firefighter,” “toughest competitor alive,” CrossFit, stair climb and dragon boat.

“What it means for this city is growth,” said Birmingham Chief of Police Patrick Smith. “It shows future development. It shows that the city of Birmingham is ready to take on the next challenge.”

“This is a huge deal for the city of Birmingham,” added Birmingham Chief of Fire and Rescue Cory Moon. “Not only does it allow us to showcase our fire service and police department, but it’s also a great opportunity to showcase the greatness the city of Birmingham has to offer the world.”

Organizers said events will be hosted at more than 35 venues across Birmingham and will be free for all spectators.

“It’s exciting to be able to look past COVID-19 to a time when we will be able have events again,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons. “The World Police and Fire Games will showcase our home to over 150,000 people, between athletes, supporters and spectators. I’m confident that we will be prepared to host in 2025, especially following our expected success of The World Games in 2022.”

Founded in 1987 as a biennial international sporting event, the World Police and Fire Games celebrates the service and dedication of first responders across the globe and unites them to participate in a wide range of fierce but friendly athletic competitions equally built on competitiveness and camaraderie. Previous and upcoming host locations:

San Diego, California (1987)
Vancouver, Canada (1989)
Memphis, Tennessee (1991)
Colorado Springs, Colorado (1993)
Melbourne, Australia (1995)
Calgary, Canada (1997)
Stockholm, Sweden (1999)
Indianapolis, Indiana (2001)
Barcelona, Spain (2003)
Quebec City, Canada (2005)​
Adelaide, South Australia (2007)
British Columbia, Canada (2009)
New York City, New York (2011)
Belfast, Northern Ireland (2013)
Fairfax, Virginia (2015)
Los Angeles, California (2017)
Chengdu, China (2019)
Rotterdam, Netherlands (2021)
Winnipeg, Canada (2023).

For more information about the 2025 World Police and Fire Games, visit www.bhm2025.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 weeks ago

Jameis Winston gives $25K worth of meals to Birmingham families

(CBS 42/Twitter/Screenshot)

NFL quarterback and Alabama native Jameis Winston gave away $25,000 in free meals to Birmingham families on Friday.

“People in this city and people all over the world are going through a tough time right now so the least I can do is come out here and serve my community the best way I can,” Winston told CBS 42.

The Hueytown High School graduate is now a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

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According to ABC 33/40, Winston’s donation fueled meal giveaways at Brighton Elementary in Bessemer and McAdory High School in McCalla on Friday afternoon.

Winston and his wife, Breion, partnered with Kikstart Inc. for the charitable initiative.

Winston’s Birmingham giveaway is not his only COVID-19 related gift.

He gave $30,000 to keep afloat locally-owned restaurants in Tampa Bay, where he played for several seasons with the Buccaneers, and gave another $25,000 to Metropolitan Ministries, which helps at-risk individuals in the Tampa area.

“God has given me a great platform, being a professional quarterback, so the least I can is come back and serve these kids and help as many people as I can,” Winston continued.

Winston did not just give money for the meals, he helped personally give them away.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95