State of the Athletic Department- Coaches
As football recruiting is heating up, I decided it was time to take an overall view of our athletic program. I “graded” each coach based on their category. Obviously if I graded a new coach compared to Nick Saban their grade would like be an F- so keep in mind that grades are relative to their group. By no means am I an expect, so if you disagree, I would love the discussion! Here we go!
The 9 Ring Club
Currently, there are 9 total national championships on the resumes of UA Head Coaches- 10 if you count Nick Saban’s 2004 BCS Championship at LSU. These 4 men have set themselves a part of the pack in their respective sports and are widely respected by all.
- Nick Saban, Head Football Coach- If you look up “winner” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Coach Saban. There is not much we can say about the Fairmount, WV native that already hasn’t been said. In his 13 seasons at UA, Saban has won 5 national titles, 6 SEC Titles, and appeared in 7 SEC Championship Games. His 153 wins as the leader of the Crimson Tide place him only behind Paul Bryant in wins at the Capstone. As previously mentioned, Saban also won a national title at LSU where he also won 2 SEC championships. I think the grade for our football program is obvious: A++
- Jay Seawell, Head Men’s Golf Coach- For 18 years Coach Seawell led and developed the UA Golf program into a national powerhouse. Winning National Championships in 2013 and 2014, Seawell cemented his name as one of the all-time greats of the sport. In addition, UA finished 2nd in the nation in 2012 and 2018. His resume also includes 4 SEC titles. In recent years, Jay has had to navigate rough waters as several top golfers have left school early to turn pro. Making no excuses, Seawell has continued to bring in top recruits and compete at the level expected when you see the “Swinging Elephant” logo. Golf at this level is a non-stop grind and there is none better than Coach Seawell: A+
- Patrick Murphy, Head Softball Coach- In 2012 he danced in the rain. In 1999 he started building the platform that many legends would go on to dance on. Murph, a 6-time SEC Champion and 4-time SEC Tournament Champion, took his team to OKC brought the 2012 National Title back to the Rhoads House. Three wins shy of 1100, very few have ever won with such class and consistency as Patrick Murphy. Voted SEC Coach of the year 5 times and NFCA Coach of the year once, Patrick Murphy has never missed the NCAA post season as head coach and has made 12 appearances at the WCWS. Being the perennial favorite to win SEC makes this grade easy: A+
- Mic Potter, Head Women’s Golf Coach- Next year will be Coach’s 16th season at The Capstone. Prior to arriving in Tuscaloosa, Coach Potter was head coach of the Furman Women’s program for 22 years where he built a national power. Potter led his 2012 team to a NCAA Championship and finished just short of a 2nd title in 2018. At Alabama, Mic has been named WGCA Coach of the Year two times and has led Bama to 13 straight post season appearances. Grading the 6-Time SEC Coach of the Year is easy: A+
These Coaches have cemented their legacy at The Capstone but have not taken the next step to immortality. While they have won at very high levels, they are still in search of that national championship.
- Glenn Putyrae- Head Rowing Coach- Prior to arriving at UA two years ago, Glenn served as HC at Gonzaga and Georgetown. In his two stints at Gonzaga (1999-2007, 2011-2018) he was named WCC Coach of the Year 9 times and won 5 WCC Championships! Coach Putyrae is in this category because in his first year in Tuscaloosa, Glenn was named Big-XII Coach of the Year after a strong regular season finish. After year 2 was cut short due to COVID after a hot start, its only right that he is giving the following grade: A
- Jenny Mainz- Head Women’s Tennis Coach- There was an Alabama women’s tennis program before Coach Mainz, but no name is as synanons with the program as hers. Taking over at The Capstone in 1998 after 3 seasons as HC at Iowa, Coach Mainz has established a consistent winning program. In her tenure, the Tide has won 4 SEC West titles, made 15 NCAA tournament appearances and captured the 2014 SEC Championship. She was named SEC Coach of the Year 3 times, and ITA Southern Region Coach of the Year 6 times. With her above accomplishments and her 281 career wins at UA she earns the following grade: B+
- Dan Waters- Head Cross Country, Track & Field Coach- Coach Waters has been HC of the combined UA programs since 2011. Waters has built one of most consistent programs in the nation- being named the 2018 USTFCCCA Program of the Year. In 2018 The Tide captured the SEC Indoor Championship- the first since 1972. Coach has Alabama consistently finishing in the top 5 yearly- his next goal is to win a NCAA Championship: B
Those Ready to Take the Next Step
- Nate Oats- Head Men’s Basketball Coach- Remember when we thought Thad Matta was going to be the next MBB head coach? Thankfully, we got our man in Nate Oats. In his four years at Buffalo, he led his squads to 3 NCAA Tournaments. Also, in that time Buffalo won 3 MAC Tournaments, 2 MAC Championships & 2 MAC East Division titles. While season one in Tuscaloosa left some to be desired, the future is very bright. 16-15 (8-10) is not what Oats or the UA program expect. His recruiting has set him a part as he is on the verge of reeling in a top-10 class. He is building a foundation and will win at a very high level when his system is in place with his players. Bottom line: Don’t sleep on Oats: A-
- Brad Bohannon- Head Baseball Coach- In 2017 the Alabama Baseball program was left in shambles by the bumbling buffoon Greg Goff. The roster was left with less than a handful of SEC-caliber players. Three years later in the COVID shortened season, Coach Bo had the Tide rolling with a 16-1 record headed into SEC play. The last two years were rough, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The 2020 baseball squad was headed to a regional. While his overall record of 73-56 might not show it, Brad Bohannon is a dude: A+
- George Husack- Head Men’s Tennis Coach- In 2012, within 8 months of accepting the job as HC, Coach Husack had the Tide in the NCAA tournament and was named ITA National Coach of the Year. Had last year not been cut short, it is assumed that Bama would have been making a third-straight trip to the big dance. Every year since his arrival, UA has placed a double’s team in the post-season. In the 2019 season, Alabama finished runner-up in the NCAA Championship in the double’s tournament. Under George the UA Men’s tennis team is constantly ranked in the top-25 and is bound to take a step to the next level. B+
- Wes Hart- Head Soccer Coach- 2020 will mark Coach Hart’s 6th season as the leader of the Crimson Tide soccer program. A former MLS player, and national title winning assistant at Florida State, Wes has elevated the UA program to levels not yet seen. In 2017 he led the Tide to their 3rd NCAA Tournament appearance by winning 12 matches and going 8-1 in the SEC. In his tenure, UA has defeated top-10 and top-5 teams for the first time. Coach Hart has competed for the conference title and if he keeps winning at this level it is only a matter of time before the trophy is in Tuscaloosa. When you say Alabama, soccer likely does not come to mind but Coach Hart is building something special here. Grade: B+
- Kristy Curry- Head Women’s Basketball Coach- In her 7 years at the helm of the Purdue Boilermakers, Coach Curry made 7 NCAA appearances and won 5 combined B1G titles. Her 2000-01 squad fell just short of a national title by losing in the championship game to Notre Dame. In her 7 following years at Texas Tech, she won 130 games and made two NCAA appearances. After 7 seasons at Alabama she has 116 wins and 0 NCAA tournament appearances. However, it is assumed that the Bama girls would have gone dancing this year if not for COVID. Curry has some amazing wins- including owning Tennessee- but head scratching losses. Will she be able to replicate her success at Purdue in Tuscaloosa? Time will tell: B
- Dana Duckworth- Head Gymnastics Coach- Coach Duckworth is Bama through and through. After her All-American (4x) and National Champion (1991) gymnast career was over, she earned her MBA at UA. He entire life she has been a top-level performer. My question is, have we seen that in her coaching career? Since taking over as HC, Alabama Gymnastics has won some big meet and been a perennial post-season squad. But she has yet to lead The Gym Tide to the level that is expected in Tuscaloosa. We expect to win National and SEC titles. Her record is fine, but the trophy case could use some additions: B-
Building a Foundation
These two coaches are our most recent to take over programs in Tuscaloosa. Both taking over last year, they have made great strides to laying a foundation to set up for many wins in the years to come. They will not receive grades at this time.
- Lindsey Devine- Head Volleyball Coach- Last season was Coach Devine’s first at The Capstone after serving as HC at ETSU for 16 years. At ETSU, she was named SoCon Coach of the Year twice, and is the program’s all-time winningest coach. While the 2019 season did not go the way we wanted it to, Coach Devine has been working non-stop brining in high level recruits in addition to proven athletes in the transfer portal. Last year’s highlights included sweeps at the UB Invite and Blazer Invite. Look for the Tide volleyball program to take a major leap this year and compete for a post-season tournament bid.
- Coley Stickels– Head Swim & Dive Coach- When Greg Byrne needed a new Swim coach, he turned to Team USA. Prior to arriving at UA, Coley was an assistant at Indiana and coached on various top-level club squads. Swimmers under his leadership have won gold and silver Olympic medals. As a swimmer at Arizona, Stickels was a 14-time All- American. With the renovations to the swimming arena last year, UA only hosted one home event. His pedigree is obvious. The talent on his roster is stacked. I expect great things in year two under Coach Stickels.
Hunter Letson is the leading baseball and softball contributor for Tide Talk Sports. Follow him on Twitter: @HunterLetson. Always feel free to reach out with questions and comments. Roll Tide.
Be sure to follow the Tide Talk team on Twitter @tidetalksports for all things Alabama Crimson Tide.