At the University of Alabama, soccer is king. The school’s gridiron team has won numerous national titles, had renowned coaches and players, and even appeared in the movie “Forest Gump.” While most “Alabama”, “Bama” or “UA” fans know these details, they may not know a few others. Here are some facts about Alabama soccer that fewer soccer fans know about:
1. The nickname “Crimson Tide” originated from a muddy game.
Before becoming the Alabama Crimson Tide, people commonly referred to the Alabama football team as the “Crimson White” (named for the school colors) or the “Thin Red Line.” Then, in 1907, Alabama played its archrival, Auburn. Alabama was a big underdog and the teams played in a “sea” of red mud. However, Alabama battled Auburn for a 6-6 tie. Later, a sports editor named Zipp Newman popularized the nickname “Crimson Tide.”
2. No Alabama player has ever won the Heisman Trophy.
Ironically, despite all the success of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, no player has ever won the Heisman Trophy, which is given to the NCAA’s most outstanding football player in a single season. In 1993, David Palmer became the closest Alabama player to winning the award. David “The Deuce” Palmer, played wide receiver for Crimson Tide, and then would play seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.
3. Alabama has won 21 SEC titles
Crimson Tide’s soccer record is simply outstanding. These are some of his achievements over the years:
o 12 national titles
o 25 conference titles (21 SEC)
or 51 bowling games
o 92 All-American players
4. Paul “Bear” Bryant had a .834 winning percentage as Alabama’s coach.
Coach “Bear” Bryant is a legend in Alabama. He led the Crimson Tide to six national championships, which is half of the team’s 12 all-time national titles. Bryant was also a coach at Texas A&M University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Maryland. However, Alabama was where Bryant had his greatest success. Bryant earned the nickname “bear” when, at age 13, he fought a bear as part of a theater promotion.
5. The Alabama elephant mascot dates back to 1930
The origin of the school’s elephant mascot was the 1930 season. At the time, Coach Wallace Wade was the team’s general. During a game against Mississippi, an Alabama fan yelled, “… The elephants are coming!” referring to the big and aggressive Alabama players. Everett Strupper, a sportswriter, reported the incident.
6. Three former Alabama coaches are inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
Since the Hall of Fame first opened in South Bend, Indiana (1951), it has included 16 Alabama players and three coaches. Coaches admitted were Wallace Wade (1923-1930), Frank Thomas (1931-1946), and Paul “Bear” Bryant (1958-1982). The Hall of Fame inducted Bryant as a player and coach.
The history of soccer in Alabama is simply amazing. It includes 12 national championships, coach “Bear” Bryant, and some of the less famous facts mentioned above. Use Alabama Crimson Tide merchandise to cheer on the team for their next historic moment – another national championship!