First Tide Tipoff Crowd Exceeds Expectations
Don't count Kristy Curry among those surprised at the turnout.
She saw it coming.
On Tuesday night, the Alabama men's and women's basketball teams hosted their inaugural Tide Tipoff to welcome the upcoming start of their seasons, but the crowd of nearly 7,500 inside Coleman Coliseum didn't exactly catch her off guard.
“I wasn’t pleasantly surprised," said Curry, the women's basketball coach. "I expected a big crowd, but I thought the energy in the crowd was really special. Their effort and their energy. We always talk about being two things we can control, and I thought their energy was phenomenal tonight. The excitement in the stands. I loved their energy."
The event, which was expected to draw closer to 6,000, featured dance, 3-point and dunk contests, as well as a performance by hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd. It was originally announced on Oct. 7.
Avery Johnson, the first-year coach who has helped build excitement with the men's team since his hire in early April, believes the event's attendance bodes well for both programs.
"We want to see both the men’s and women’s basketball teams get to the elite level," Johnson said. "We know that’s not going to happen overnight, but for us to get from what we get from our early estimates, (almost 7,500) fans in Coleman Coliseum tonight for our first annual Tide Tipoff event. You’ve got to say that we are going in the right direction, both programs."
Curry, who previously coached at Texas Tech and Purdue, enters her third season as coach of the women's program. In 2001, she led the Boilermakers to a national championship game appearance.
The women's team begins its 2015-16 campaign with an exhibition game against Faulkner on Nov. 9. Its first regular-season game will be played on Nov. 13 against Alabama A&M.
The men's team hosts Trevecca Nazarene in an exhibition on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., with its first regular-season game against Kennesaw State on Nov. 13.