TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Only one year after starting an endowed scholarship in honor of University of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore, the A-Club, UA's letter winners organization, has now established the Sarah Patterson A-Club Scholarship in honor of Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson.
"It's certainly a wonderful honor, and while it's my name on the scholarship, it recognizes everything that David (Patterson) and I have been able to accomplish together over the course of our career," Sarah Patterson said. "I can't think of a bigger honor; it's quite humbling."
Several members of the A-Club Executive Committee were on hand for the Alabama gymnastics team's meet against Auburn on Feb. 11 to present a check for $50,000, representing the A-Club's initial donation to the scholarship. The A-Club's goal is to raise funds to the fully endowed amount of $300,000.
Naming the scholarship in Patterson's honor was the idea of Ken Wilder, current president of the A-Club. Wilder's motion was approved unanimously in a recent meeting of the A-Club Executive Committee.
"The A-Club named this scholarship in Coach Patterson's honor because of her long 33-year history with the gymnastics program and her tremendous accomplishments as our head coach," Wilder, who lettered in football at the Capstone during the 1960s, said. "Sarah has been such a great asset to our Athletic Department and to the University."
Patterson has guided the Crimson Tide to four NCAA Championships, six Southeastern Conference and an NCAA-best 25 regional titles. Under her direction, Alabama has finished in the top-10 for the last 28 years in a row, finishing in the top six nationally 26 times including 23 "final four" finishes. Her athletes have earned 21 individual NCAA Championships and produced more than 240 All-American honors.
Under her direction, the Tide also leads the league in SEC Academic Honor Roll selections and the nation in NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners. A 2003 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Patterson's program is among the NCAA's top-2 in attendance for gymnastics and was second among all women's sports in 2010.
"Sarah is the last coach that Coach (Paul) Bryant hired," Wilder said. "Obviously it's turned out to be a great hire."
Patterson and company return to Coleman Coliseum this Friday against Kentucky in the Tide's seventh annual Power of Pink meet. Tickets can be purchased online at RollTide.com and through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of the Coliseum.