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A new era for Alabama Gymnastics begins with Dana Duckworth


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Gym_Press03A press conference was held this afternoon in the Naylor Stone Media Room where The University of Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle formally introduced Dana Duckworth as the new Gymnastics head coach. Duckworth is in her 20th year at the Capstone after four years as a gymnast, nine as a volunteer coach, and the last six as an assistant coach. She becomes the sixth person to be named as the gymnastics team head coach.

“This is an amazing opportunity” said Duckworth after she was introduced by Battle as the new head coach.  She went on to state that she is “excited beyond immeasurable compare to be able to take the tradition into the future”

Prior to the introduction, Battle talked about his discussions with Patterson from approximately two weeks ago when she and her husband David approached the AD to talk about stepping down. He went on to say that after he “realized he couldn’t talk her out of it,” they started working on a plan for the future.  He stated that Patterson “wanted a seamless transition and what was best for the program”.  It was during the following two weeks that Dana Duckworth and Bryan Raschilla were identified as the two candidates to replace Patterson.

Patterson is very proud of the accomplishments during her tenure at Alabama but there are two that she emphasized during her portion of the press conference.  “I think we have pursued making the world a better place by sending these women out as better representatives and making a difference in our world,” Patterson said after reading a quote from Vince Lombardi.  The second initiative that she and husband David are most proud of is the Power of the Pink which was started over 11 years ago.  This special night during the season has raised over 1.35 million dollars for disadvantaged women in the West Alabama Community.  What she will miss the most is “working with the athletes.”Gym_Press09

After interviews conducted on Monday the final selection was made that Duckworth would be the next head coach but that Raschilla would remain on staff and have the title of Associate Head Coach going forward.  Raschilla, also in his 20th year with the program, is the only other coach along with Duckworth to work with the Patterson’s for such a long time. “When it became evident that Sarah Patterson would be stepping down, we knew that the pieces were already in place to continue our championship tradition,” Battle said. “We are proud to announce that Dana Duckworth, one of the most successful gymnasts in our storied history, will lead us into the future.”

Duckworth was an eight-time All-American, two time individual national champion, Academic All-American and an NCAA and SEC Postgraduate Scholarship winner and a part of the Tide’s 1991 NCAA title as a sophomore and as a student-athlete. She has the legacy, the assistance of Raschilla, and both have the mentoring of the Pattersons in order to move the program forward.  Duckworth stated that she plans to “embrace the legacy that Sarah and David have built here at the University of Alabama”.  She went on to state that their “goal remains the same, a family environment, which we will continue to develop scholars, leaders and champions.”

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