Sarah Patterson steps down after 36 years as gymnastics head coach
It’s the end of an era at the University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide Gymnastics program. On Tuesday morning Sarah Patterson has decided to step down as the Gymnastics head coach after 36 seasons, 1,006 wins and 43 postseason championships
Patterson sent a letter stating that after several non-life threatening physical problems have degenerated to a point requiring her to have several surgeries as the primary reason for her to step down. The first of two surgeries to replace both knees is scheduled to take place following the Southern Miss game on Sept 13th. The game against the Golden Eagles is when the gymnastics team will receive their 2014 SEC Championship rings. Her second surgery should take place in the spring of 2015. Both surgeries are estimated to take over a year to fully recover from.
“I am grateful that for 36 years, David and I were able to implement our coaching philosophy of trying to develop well-rounded young women who are ready to make a difference in the lives of others upon their graduation from this University.” Patterson said.
Coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant reached out to Sarah Patterson at the age of 22 in 1978 after she graduated from Slippery Rock State College to ask her to be the head coach of the gymnastics program at Alabama. She accepted the job and has built a very successful program and a national powerhouse. Patterson led the Crimson Tide to their first NCAA Championship berth in 1983, where they finished fourth but has been to every NCAA Championship meet since that time. Alabama and Patterson won their first of six NCAA Championships in 1988 and final two in 2011 and 2012. Other NCAA championship teams were in 1991, 1996, and 2002.
Patterson has been responsible for leading Alabama to eight SEC titles including this past season in 2014 and 29 Regional titles also including this past season. The Crimson Tide won the NCAA Seattle Regional Championships allowing them to compete in their 32 Consecutive NCAA Championship Appearances and 20th NCAA Super Six Team Final where they finished fourth overall. Patterson has led the Tide to NCAA-best 27 top-4 national finishes in her time as head coach and has won 29 regional titles, more than any program in NCAA history.
“I want to thank our ladies. From our first class, who took a chance on us when we began this journey and then took us to the national championships as seniors, to the freshmen of 2014 … you are all a part of our championship legacy, all a part of the tradition of excellence that this program has highlighted for the last 36 years. You are all in our hearts and we can’t begin to express what it has meant to us to continue to be a part of your lives.” Patterson said.
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