Many Alabama athletic coaches and players have spent the past three days helping in tornado relief efforts in Tuscaloosa.
On top of speaking outside the Ferguson Center and on national television the day after the storm, head football coach Nick Saban visited the Belk Activity Center with his wife, Terry, and other members of the UA athletic department. They distributed Crimson Tide clothing to those housed in the American Red Cross shelter.
“Being a part of the University of Alabama team is helping people when they need it,” Saban said in a statement released Thursday. “It’s not always about just being there on Saturday. A lot of people are doing everything they can to help others.”
Saban and players on the Alabama football team have also been gathering and distributing supplies for those in need. Saban said it was important for him and his team to support the community that has backed them the past four years.
“What I told the players is, we have to be supportive of the people who supported us,” Saban told NBC Chanel 13 News. “They supported us in the best of times, so now we have to be supportive of them in the worst of times.
“Tuscaloosa will never be the same.”
Offensive lineman Barrett Jones was among the players who helped out. Jones spent time last year helping victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
“When I went [to Haiti], I really never thought I would see anything like that again,” Jones told NBC Chanel 13 News. “I was wrong, because what I saw [in Tuscaloosa] was about the same kind of damage and devastation.”
Alabama head basketball coach Anthony Grant started a tornado relief fund Friday morning at Bryant Bank and named it Sweet Home Fund. The mission is to rebuild and help families in Alabama who have suffered major loss in this week’s storms.
“It is comforting to see and know that there is a large mass of people trying to provide assistance and help anyway they can,” Grant said in a statement.
Former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings, who won a national championship for the Tide in 1992, is also helping in relief efforts.
Stallings was in town for a golf tournament when the tornado hit Wednesday. After the event was canceled the next day, he fired up the grill and cooked burger to feed those who were helping in other ways.