What Was Alabama Like When the Class of 2018 Was Born?
The newest class of Alabama freshmen have already reached the midpoint of their first semester at the Capstone, but we're ready to provide a little history lesson they haven't received in the classroom.
With 62% of the freshman class coming from outside of the state of Alabama, many of these students might not realize it wasn't always BCS bowl games and national championships.
Assuming the average age of first-year college students is 18, this class of undergrads was born in the late 90s - 1996 to be exact - and a lot has happened in Tuscaloosa since that time.
Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings began his final season
The legendary coach brought home the school's first national championship since Bear Bryant and finished a seven-year career in Tuscaloosa with a 70-16-1 record.
Shaun Alexander was a little-known freshman
Nine years before winning the NFL MVP award, Shaun Alexander was just a freshman on the campus of The University of Alabama. Just a few months removed from a great high school career in Kentucky, Alexander had the greatest single-game rushing performance in school history. He torched the LSU defense for 291 yards on just 20 carries. And he didn't even start the game.
Bryant-Denny Stadium only had one upper deck
Alabama's football stadium held more than 30,000 fewer people in 1996. Still two years away from the second upper deck being added, Bryant-Denny Stadium held a 'meager' 70,123 fans.
Alabama Softball was preparing for its inaugural season at Sokol Park
The fall of 1996 was spent planning for the Southeastern Conference's first year playing softball. It's hard to imagine that a time ever existed where Patrick Murphy wasn't leading the program, but he was hired in 1996 as an assistant for the first Crimson Tide team. Alabama has since set the standard in the SEC, winning five conference championships and the SEC's first national championship.
Alabama Gymastics had just won its third NCAA championship
Sarah Patterson was in the middle of her incredible coaching career and had just led the Crimson Tide to its third national championship in the Spring of 1996. That meet took place inside Coleman Coliseum with Alabama edging out UCLA, Georgia, Utah, Oregon State, and Michigan for the title. At that point, gymnastics was still the only sport to win a championship at Alabama besides football.
Dax Norris and Andy Phillips were players on an SEC Championship baseball team
Now assistant coaches for the Alabama baseball team, Dax Norris and Andy Phillips were members of the first Crimson Tide team to win 50 games. Norris, a captain, started all 69 games and led the team with a .370 batting average. Phillips, only a freshman, started 27 games for a team that won the school's first SEC Championship in 13 years. Alabama advanced to its third College World Series, finishing 5th.
Vancouver Grizzlies selected Alabama's Roy Rogers 22nd overall in NBA Draft
Alabama senior Roy Rogers finished the 1996 season with a school-record 156 blocks before being drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies. It was just the second season for the Canadian NBA franchise, which would later move to Memphis in 2001.
David Hobbs' fourth season ended with an NIT Final Four
The Crimson Tide's run to New York City went through Illinois in the second round of the NIT. It would be Lou Henson's final game as the head coach of the Illini, a 72-69 loss to Alabama.
Women's Basketball was back in the Sweet Sixteen
Two years removed from the school's first NCAA Final Four, Rick Moody had guided his team back to the Sweet Sixteen for the third straight season. The program would eventually make it back to the NCAA Tournament the next three seasons.
Foster Auditorium wasn't home to any team
Opened in 1939, Foster Auditorium is the current home to women's basketball and volleyball. But in 1996, every team had moved out of the arena and into Coleman Coliseum. The volleyball program played its final season in Foster Auditorium in 1995 before returning to the renovated building in 2011.
The University hadn't turned its golf course into a running park
The University of Alabama used to have its own golf course before it closed in 2003. Harry Pritchett Golf Course transformed into Harry Pritchett Running Park, which has hosted the SEC Cross Country Championships and NCAA Regionals.