Another year has concluded, marking yet another successful year for the University of Alabama’s athletic department. The year was filled full of new hires, milestones, professional draft picks and the return of a legend.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of 2023 for the University of Alabama athletic department.
The Alabama men’s basketball team had great success in 2023 leading to a contract extension for head coach Nate Oats through March 2029, netting him an average of $5 million per year. At the time, his new contract made him one of the top 10 highest-paid coaches in the country.
For the second time in three years, Alabama swept both the SEC’s regular season and tournament title. The combination of a great regular season and winning the SEC Tournament led to a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Alabama advanced to the Sweet 16, but the Crimson Tide’s season came to a halt after losing to No. 5 seed San Diego State.
In the 2023 NBA Draft, Alabama’s Brandon Miller was selected No. 2 overall by the Charlotte Hornets. Miller joined Antonio McDyess as the highest selection in program history as McDyess was also selected No. 2 overall in the 1995 draft by the Detroit Pistons.
In Miller’s only year for the Crimson Tide, he became the first player ever to win the SEC’s Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in the same season. Miller also put his name in the record books with 696 points, the second most by a Crimson Tide player in a single season trailing only Reggie King’s 1978-1979 season of 747 points.
Noah Clowney was also selected in the first round, going to the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 21 overall pick in the NBA Draft, making him the second Alabama player to be selected in the first round.
Alabama softball used a 3-2 comeback victory against Samford to help head coach Patrick Murphy earn his 1,200th victory as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. In his 27th year as the Alabama coach, Murphy became the first coach to accomplish this milestone at one program.
Alabama softball was awarded the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and the luxury of hosting the regional round. Alabama advanced to the Super Regionals against Northwestern. Alabama defeated Northwestern advancing to the Women’s College World Series for the 14th time in program history. Alabama’s season, as well as the career of star pitcher Montana Fouts, would come to an end after two straight losses in the Women’s College World Series.
Alabama’s baseball team experienced some highs and lows this season. In the middle of the season, Alabama fired head coach Brad Bohannon amid a gambling scandal in which Bohannon participated in suspicious wagering activity.
Pitching coach Jason Jackson was promoted and successfully defeated No. 5 Vanderbilt in his first game as interim head coach. The Crimson Tide rallied under Jackson and earned the No. 16 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and a host site in the regionals. Alabama advanced to the Super Regionals, where their season was ended by the No. 1 overall seed Wake Forest. Alabama finished the season with a 43-21 record.
During the offseason, Alabama hired University of Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn as the new head baseball coach. Jackson would be retained on the staff and return to his role as pitching coach for the Crimson Tide.
Fresh off a 45-20 victory over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl, Nick Saban needed to replace both his offensive and defensive coordinators. Kevin Steele was hired to replace defensive coordinator Pete Golding, who departed the Crimson Tide to join Lane Kiffin’s staff as defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. Tommy Rees was then hired to replace offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien who returned to the NFL to be the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator.
Bryce Young became Alabama’s first No.1 overall NFL draft pick in the modern NFL era. He was joined in the first round by two other Crimson Tide players. Will Anderson, Jr. was selected No. 3 overall by the Houston Texans, and Jahmyr Gibbs was selected No. 12 overall by the Detroit Lions. Alabama had a total of 10 players drafted during the 2023 NFL Draft.
After missing the entire 2022 season, legendary Alabama play-by-play announcer Eli Gold conquered his Stage 3 cancer and jumped back into the broadcast booth. To prevent himself from overworking, Gold handled all the home games while Chris Stewart handled the road games.
The start of the season did not go as planned for Alabama. The quarterback position was a big question mark, and a loss to Texas the second week of the season left no room for error if the Crimson Tide were to achieve their season goals. After the loss, Alabama bounced back with 11 straight wins, including a 27-24 win over No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game to snap their 29-game winning streak.
On selection Sunday, the College Football Committee selected Alabama as the No. 4 seed over Florida State causing controversy. Michigan received the No. 1 seed, setting up a matchup with the Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
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