People measure success in different ways. Some measure success in wins, and others measure success in the ways that changed peoples’ lives.
Sarah Patterson has done both.
With 36 years, 32 NCAA tournament appearances, 30 Super Six appearances, 29 NCAA regional championships, 9 SEC Conference Championships, and six national championships, Sarah Patterson has forever changed the sport of gymnastics at the University of Alabama.
“Sarah Patterson wasn’t just interested in winning, she was focused on changing the lives her athlete’s and fans that came to every meet.”
I was blessed to witness Sarah and David Patterson coach the women’s gymnastics team my four years as a student at the university. I was there to witness the team win back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012; I was there to watch every home meet be a sellout; and I was there to witness the Pattersons personally touch thousands of young kids every meet.
Numerous times, I would hear little girls say, ” I can’t wait to compete for Mrs. Sarah one day.” That’s just how important Sarah Patterson was and always will be at the University of Alabama. Sarah Patterson wasn’t just interested in winning; she was focused on changing the lives her athletes and the fans that came to every meet. Whether it was fundraising each year at the Power of Pink meet, or cheering on her youngest daughter Jordan at the Alabama softball games, Sarah Patterson impacted and changed lives wherever she went.
In 2013, the University of Alabama dedicated the Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza, which highlights her success over the years. What Nick Saban has done for Alabama football is exactly what Sarah Patterson has done – not just for women’s gymnastics, but for women’s sports in general at the University. She’s changed how they’re viewed and how they’re supported.
Jordan Patterson, her youngest daughter who played on the Alabama softball team from 2010-2014, tweeted the following after their loss to Florida in the 2014 Women’s College World Series championship game:
Murph says leave things better than we found them. In the end, this program is leaving me better than it found me, not the other way around.
— Jordan Patterson (@jpatt2492) June 4, 2014
And that’s exactly what the Patterson family does best. Not just with sports but with the people they have come in contact with since they’ve been at the University of Alabama.