Looking Back on the 2015-2016 Alabama Athletics Season
The sports season has officially come to a close for the University of Alabama. It was another great season for the Crimson Tide, and as we prepare for the next academic season, let's take a look back on what the Tide were able to accomplish this year.
Below are some of the highlights of the Crimson Tide season in some of the sports that the University of Alabama fielded during the 2015-2016 academic year.
In the second season of the College Football Playoff, Nick Saban and his squad recovered from a debilitating loss to the Ole Miss Rebels on September 19 and commenced to rally off 12 straight victories en route to the program's 16th national championship, and its fourth under the tutelage of Saban.
It was the first season under head coach Avery Johnson, and although the win/loss record didn't indicate a successful season, it was full of energy and enthusiasm as Coach Johnson led the Tide to victories over four Top 25 teams (Wichita State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Texas A&M) and an NIT appearance (lost the opening round game to the Creighton Blue Jays). Johnson's ability to recruit high caliber players has re-energized the program and things are looking bright for the Tide in 2016-2017.
It was a tough season for Kristy Curry and the women's basketball team, going 15-16 for the season and 4-12 in SEC play. They earned a spot in the Women's NIT at season's end, falling to the Tulane Green Wave by a score of 53-52. However, after the season, the University of Alabama announced that the women's team would be again playing all their home games in Coleman Coliseum starting in the 2016-2017 season, hopefully revamping the women's program.
In the first season back from playing all their home games in Hoover at the Hoover Met, the Alabama baseball team ended the season with a 32-26 overall record and a 15-15 finish in SEC play. They were on the bubble of making an NCAA Regional, but were left out and finished their season in the third round of the SEC Tournament, losing to the Florida Gators 5-4. Bama had one of the best pitching staffs in the country, but their batting was what kept them from making headway (13th in the SEC in both batting average and slugging percentage and last place in on base percentage).
At season's end, head coach Mitch Gaspard resigned from his position, and the University is still in the process of finding a new head coach to lead the Tide in 2017.
Coach Murphy and the Tide softball team had another great squad this season, but unfortunately they ended the 2016 campaign earlier than anticipated, losing in the Women's College World Series to the eventual national champion Oklahoma Sooners and SEC rivals LSU Tigers. This season ended the careers of great seniors Haylie McCleney, Leona Lafaele, Kalle Case, and Andrea Hawkins here in Tuscaloosa, and their hard work and dedication won't soon be forgotten with all Alabama softball fans.
Head coach Jay Seawell had yet another talented squad for the 2016 season, but had a disappointing end, finishing 11th out of 14 teams in the SEC Tournament and 23rd out of 30 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Junior Robby Shelton had yet another fantastic individual season, becoming a PING All-American for the third straight season, only the second player in program history to do so (Bud Cauley).
Coming off a great 2015 campaign, the Alabama women's golf team had some high expectations for 2016. Senior Emma Talley won the individual national championship in 2015, but couldn't quite produce the same result in 2016, shooting a 9-over 297 during the team championship rounds. Tide freshman Cheyenne Knight had a fantastic rookie season, finishing tied for fourth in the team portion of the NCAA Tournament. The ladies made the first cut of stroke play in the NCAA Tournament, but were unable to make the second cut to advance to the match play round. However, head coach Mic Potter and the Tide were able to win the SEC Tournament with a 5-under 859.
As long as Alabama fields a gymnastics team, you know it's going to be a good season. Sure, they had a few bumps along the way during the regular season (5-5 in 10 regular season meets), but finished the season on a strong note: second place in the SEC Championships, won the Tuscaloosa Regional, and finished 3rd in the NCAA Super Six.
Alabama had yet another good track & field squad, fielding many great athletes who performed at a high level. Some of the great perfomances from Tide athletes this season included junior Quanesha Burks, who finished second at the NCAA Championships in the long jump; junior Tony Brown (also a cornerback on the football team) was an All-American in the 110-meter hurdles and finished sixth at the NCAA Championships with a 13.81; and sophomore Joe Williams, who had a 57.13 meter discus throw, good enough for an 11th place finish at the NCAA Championships.
In Wes Hart's first season as head coach of the Alabama soccer program, the Tide had a disappointing year (5-12-2 on the season), but a couple of individuals were standouts for Alabama. Junior midfielder Celia Jimenez Delgado was named to the All-SEC second team and was also called on to represent her home country, Spain, for their senior national team. Freshman forward Emma Welch made the SEC All-Freshman team and led the team with four assists on the season, which is the most by a freshman in program history.