Saban reaches out to coach's family
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban sent a letter to the family of a North Carolina high school coach who died Sept. 30, earning gratitude from the man's family.
Mike Crowell, 52, coached the wrestling team at South Davidson High in Denton, N.C., for 25 years. He also spent five seasons as the school's head football coach. Crowell was a big Alabama fan, and his students turned to Twitter, trying to get the Tide head coach to come to the school's homecoming game Friday.
Saban did not attend, but he sent a letter to Crowell's family.
"Mike would just be so delighted," Crowell's sister-in-law, Karen Pierce, told North Carolina's WFMY News 2. "(Saban) was an idol to Mike, and he would certainly be ecstatic knowing that Saban took the time to recognize him for the work that Mike's done."
Saban said that because Crowell was a high school coach, there were NCAA rules involved, which kept him from the game. But he still wanted to do something.
"He was an Alabama fan, passionate about football, was in our profession and worked very hard at it," Saban said after practice Wednesday. "A combination of all of those things made it really easy for us to try to have gratitude for the support he gave the program, the help he gave young people through the years in football, and his family."
Tide to play Georgia State in 2013
Alabama announced Wednesday it will face Georgia State in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 5, 2013.
The two schools played Nov. 18, 2010, which was a Thursday night, and Alabama won 63-7. The game was notable partly because the student section was mostly empty by halftime, probably because the movie "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I" was released in theaters at midnight that night.
Alabama's only other non-conference game set for 2013 is the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome on Aug. 31. The Crimson Tide will face Virginia Tech.
Georgia State won't be coached by Bill Curry, the former Alabama coach who has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
The Rotary Lombardi Award watch list was sliced to 25 quarterfinalists, and Alabama center Barrett Jones, guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker made the cut.
The award is given to the top linemen or linebacker in the nation.