UA Athletics, coaches, athletes speak on tornado damage; athletic events canceled

Jason Galloway

The University’s athletic department dedicated Thursday to ensuring the safety of Alabama’s student athletes, coaches, staff and employees after Wednesday’s tornado destroyed a portion of Tuscaloosa.

“While our primary efforts today are at determining the safety and status of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and employees, I want to send to all members of our community our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” athletic director Mal Moore said in a statement released Thursday. “As the recovery efforts progress today and through the weekend, I know there are difficult moments ahead. But I want to affirm today our support for our state, our community and the city of Tuscaloosa.”

Head coach Nick Saban spoke at the Ferguson Center around 10 a.m. before going on ESPN’s College Football Live in the afternoon to give his support in the relief efforts of the tornado aftermath.

“The work that people are doing is appreciated and vital at this time,” Saban said in a statement. “As important as what is being done is, sometimes just the presence and support while helping someone serves as vital encouragement. Being a part of the University of Alabama team is helping people when they need it. It’s not always about just being there on Saturday. A lot of people are doing everything they can to help others. Everyone needs to be patient and understand that communication is a real problem right now. What people are trying to do is very much appreciated and is really helping.”

Head basketball coach Anthony Grant also released a statement Thursday afternoon, noting that he is pleased with the support of the Tuscaloosa citizens thus far.

“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 the statement. “My heart goes out to the victims and those impacted by the tornado and devastation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that suffered loss of life, and it is overwhelming to see and try to comprehend the devastation this community has suffered.”

Alabama junior forward JaMychal Green said, “Everyone is still shocked at the destruction and loss of life. Those of us who were fortunate to be spared realize how blessed we are and pray for those who have lost loved ones and their homes. At this point all we can do is try to help someone and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

The University has decided to cancel a number of upcoming athletic events. Here is a list of canceled events, according to UA Athletics:

– Alabama softball has canceled its weekend series against Kentucky. Games were scheduled to be played Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Tuscaloosa.

– Thursday’s University of Alabama Crimson Caravan event at the Marriott Buckhead in Atlanta has been canceled. Refunds for ticket holders will be made as a credit to the card that was charged to purchase the tickets.

– The Mal Moore Charity Golf Tournament has been canceled.

– The Badger Sports Camp 7-on-7 scheduled to take place in Tuscaloosa on April 30 has been relocated to Samford University in Birmingham.

– The Alabama High School Athletic Association Track and Field Sectionals, also slated for Tuscaloosa on April 29-30, have been relocated to Mountain Brook High School.

– The Million Dollar Band has postponed tryouts for majorettes and color guard until May 14.

– The Alabama rowing team chose not to participate in its scheduled meet at Clemson this weekend.