Bama fan in Phoenix creates oasis for Crimson Tide fans

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PHOENIX, Ariz. - A great many Bama fans are making their ways out to Glendale for the national championship game.

The Alabama Alumni Association in next-door Phoenix plays a big part in setting up events and making sure they have a good time. The organization started there over 20 years ago - with a move from Huntsville, Ala.

Brian Katz has waited for this moment since he moved from Huntsville 20 years ago.

At first, the desert lived up to its name for this Crimson Tide fan.

Katz said, "When I got out here, there was no one to watch the games with. I would go to a sports bar, and I wanted to watch it with some fellow Alabama fans."

Without a core group of fans to lean on, Katz launched a mission.

"I contacted the university, and they sent me flyers. I got on the phone and did mass mailings. Again, this was twenty years ago before the internet and before email. Twenty years later, I'm still running the club," He said.

Now, he has weekly viewing parties set up at the Half Moon Sports Grill. He has more than just a few friends to fill the seats. "We're about five-hundred strong," he said.

But for the first time since he arrived in the desert, the Tide has rolled in.

"It's been a 20-year-dream. When I got here in '95, I said, 'Wouldn't it be nice if Alabama could come out here and play in our Fiesta Bowl at that time?' It's taken 25 years to get the team out here."

Katz said for a Bama fan in Phoenix, "It couldn't be any bigger than this."

After braving the Bama desert - slowly building his oasis over 20 years - Katz says he's getting about 200 emails per day from alumni making the trip to visit him and the team in Phoenix.