Alabama Athletics Wins Its 25th Team National Championship
When Trey Mullinax drained an eagle putt on the 17th hole of the NCAA Golf Championships on Wednesday, it meant more to The University of Alabama than back-to-back golf titles. That victory marked the 25th team national championship for Crimson Tide athletics.
Known for the longest time as a 'football school', Alabama didn't win a championship in another sport until Sarah Patterson's gymnastics team set a scoring record en route to the program's first title in 1988. Fast forward 26 years and three other teams have hoisted the NCAA trophy: men's golf, women's golf, and softball.
The men's golf team's win on Wednesday marked the eighth national championship in just four years, which is remarkable when you look at the history of the athletic department. The eight championships prior to 2011 were spread across 21 years and were only won by football and gymnastics.
You can identify a couple of reasons for success across the university. First, the late Mal Moore. He made every sport a priority when he built and renovated a number of facilities around campus, which has been essential in attracting top-level talent to campus. Moore also brought in elite coaches to rebuild programs and kept the current coaches happy.
One of those coaches was Nick Saban. That hire might have energized the program more than any hire ever in the school's history. With Saban's determination to be successful in every area, he's set the bar with his work ethic and that attitude has been contagious. Plus, the huge increase in football revenue since his arrival has also grown the budgets for every sport at Alabama.
With softball program in another Women's College World Series and baseball beginning NCAA Regional play, there's an opportunity to add more hardware to the expanding trophy cases in Tuscaloosa.
Here's the breakdown of the 25 championships:
- Football: 15
- Gymnastics: 6
- Men's Golf: 2
- Women's Golf: 1
- Softball: 1