TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Sarah Patterson, who led the Crimson Tide gymnastics team to 1,006 wins, 43 postseason championships and six national championships, is stepping down.
She has coached the team for 36 years. Her husband, David, who served as the Crimson Tide’s volunteer coach since 2008 and previously an associate coach, is also stepping down.
Sarah has been battling degenerative issues in both knees for several years and said she made the decision after much consideration and discussions with her doctors.
“After much thought and prayer and after much consultation with Athletics Director Bill Battle and our President, Dr. Judy Bonner, I have decided to step down from the only job I have ever known since graduating from college,” Sarah Patterson said in a university statement. “This is something I have tried to postpone but, through ongoing consultation with my physicians, it has become evident that surgery to replace both knees is necessary. My physician shared with me that it will be a year or more before I am back to a normal lifestyle.”
Patterson wrote more about her decision in an open letter posted on RollTide.com.
She was hired by Coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, who was Athletics Director and head football coach at the time.
Alabama Gymnastics under Sarah and David Patterson:
— 6 NCAA Team Championships – 1988, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012
— 32 Consecutive NCAA Championship Appearances – 1983-14
— NCAA-best 27 NCAA Championship top-4 finishes
— NCAA-best 22 NCAA Championship top-3 finishes
— NCAA-best 20 Super Six Team Finals
— 8 SEC Team Championships – 1988, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2014
— NCAA-best 29 Regional Team Championships -1983-85, 1987-96, 1998-03, 2005-14
— 4 NCAA Today’s Top VIII honorees
— 1 Honda Cup (National Woman Athlete of the Year)
— 8 Honda Awards (National Gymnast of the Year)
— 25 individual NCAA titles
— 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
— 5 NCAA Elite 89 honors
— 66 athletes have earned 302 All-America honors
— 73 athletes have earned 189 Scholastic All-America honors (since 1991)
— 5 SEC Athletes of the Year
— 3 SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year
— 60 individual SEC titles
— 88 All-SEC honors
— 11 SEC Postgraduate Scholarships
— 275 SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades
— 6 SEC Gymnast of the Year honors
— 5 SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors
— 3 SEC Freshman of the Year honors
— 8 NCAA Region Gymnast of the Year honors
— 145 individual NCAA Regional titles
— SEC single-meet attendance record (15,162 vs. Florida; Jan. 20, 2006)
— SEC single-season attendance record (13,786 per meet; 2010)
New coach named
Dana Duckworth has been named as the new head coach, pending approval from the Board of Trustees.
“This is such an amazing opportunity,” Duckworth said. “It is the best job in all of gymnastics and I’m extremely proud to be able to continue to be a part of this incredible tradition.”
Duckworth is a two-time individual national champion, as well as an eight-time All-American, an Academic All-American and an NCAA and SEC Postgraduate Scholarship winner during her career as a student-athlete at Alabama.
“I love our environment, I love our culture, I love our tradition and I love the fact that as an Alabama gymnast you represent all those things,” Duckworth said.
“I am pleased that Dana has agreed to become Alabama’s next championship gymnastics coach,” UA President, Dr. Judy Bonner said. “Her ability to bring out the best in our student-athletes will mean continued success for the team and for each individual gymnast. I am confident that our student-athletes will continue to thrive in and out of the classroom, and I look forward to watching these young women compete at the highest levels for many years to come.”
-Information courtesy University of Alabama Media Relations