As confetti dropped in celebration of a 13th national title for the Crimson Tide, so did Stephen Mitchell, to one knee, to propose to girlfriend Charlee Canning, a senior majoring in elementary education.
Mitchell, a senior majoring in media productions, deceived Canning into thinking the trip to Pasadena, Calif.,was to celebrate a hopeful victory and their last game as UA students. Mitchell asked Canning’s family for permission to propose prior to departure.
“I thought we were going because it was our last game as students and to sightsee,” she said. “But when my dad dropped us off at the airport, he was crying and I didn’t know why. Now I know it was because he was happy for us.”
Stephen Channing, her father, said the departure was emotional for him because he knew his daughter would be engaged by the time she got back.
“I was really nervous about the game and I really wanted Alabama to win, so my emotions caught up with me,” he said. The proposal made the win that much sweeter, he added.
Canning said many friends have asked her if Mitchell would have proposed if the Tide had lost.
“He said he still was going to ask me if we lost, just at a different time,” she said. “He said he would have done it the next day while we were out sightseeing.”
Jerry and Joy Mitchell, Stephen Mitchell’s parents, said they agree that, as life-long Alabama football fans, they were excited that their son was in Pasadena to see the Crimson Tide win the National Championship and were thrilled to learn that Stephen had used the opportunity to propose to Canning in the Rose Bowl.
They said it triggered a double celebration for them that night.
Canning and Mitchell, Trussville natives, have known each other since eighth grade, Canning said, and began dating their freshman year at Alabama.
Both are scheduled to graduate in May, but have not yet scheduled a wedding date or location, Canning said.
“We are not going to set a date until this spring, but we are thinking about sometime next spring, maybe in May, and somewhere in Birmingham,” she said.
Canning said her grandmother will make her wedding dress, and she is excited to help design the dress.
“It was the perfect way to end our last season as students at Alabama,” Canning said. “The game in Pasadena will always mean a lot because we saw our team win a national title and we got engaged.”