Alabama Basketball: What Crimson Tide Hoops has become


Much has been said about Alabama Basketball achieving back-to-back NCAA Tournament selections. For a program that is historically the SEC’s second-best, the frequent NCAA misses were inexcusable.

Nate Oats is to be commended for what he has accomplished in an effort to rebuild a basketball culture in Tuscaloosa. That effort is very much a work-in-progress. It will continue however far the Tide does or does not go in this season’s NCAA Tournament.

One area of progress, already achieved, deserves more notice. The Crimson Tide has risen above the cesspool of dishonesty that has tainted college basketball for decades. With one exception of a non-coaching, rouge staffer, the Crimson Tide hoops program has been clean through six Anthony Grant seasons, four Avery Johnson seasons and three Nate Oats’ seasons. That is no small accomplishment when competing for players with the likes of Will Wade, Bruce Pearl and too many others.

College basketball fans have lost interest in the FBI investigation of college basketball that ultimately got Wade. And the disinterest is for a good reason, given the NCAA’s poor performance in following up on the details and punishing guilty parties.

Auburn and Bruce Pearl got a wrist slap. LSU may prove to hit the opposite of the punishment spectrum, with Wade allegedly guilty of four Level 1 infractions. Other coaches have lost jobs, even without NCAA punishment; Sean Miller at Arizona and former Alabama Basketball coach, Mark Gottfried at Cal State-Northridge.

What is believed to have happened with Gottfried at North Carolina State was cash payments to a recruit, and later Wolfpack player, Dennis Smith. NCSU was penalized by the NCAA but not severely. Gottfried assistant, Orlando Early, received the maximum NCAA penalty of a six-year ‘show cause.’ Gottfried took a hiatus with an ESPN gig and was later hired by Cal State-Northridge.

After three seasons Gottfried was placed on administrative leave by Cal State-Northridge. That 11-month leave ended with the coach and the program parting ways. Apparently, Gottfried did not play by the NCAA’s rules in California either.

Looking back at Gottfried’s coaching career, despite some success, he basically ran three programs off the rails; Alabama, NCSU and Cal-Northridge. If, as it appears, he cheated in his two stops after coaching the Crimson Tide, it is hard to believe he didn’t do so in Tuscaloosa.

On top of that, measured by his coaching record, he went downhill after leaving Murray State. At Murray State, his teams won 73.9% of their games. At Alabama, it was 61.6%, then 58.9% at NCSU and 42% at Cal State-Northridge. Those numbers, rather than an Elite Eight run with the Crimson Tide define Mark Gottfried.

Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament History. dark. Next

Between Gottfried and Oats, the Crimson Tide had two good guys that failed on the court. But they did it with class and refused to take the short-cut, cheating route that seduces many coaches. They are owed a debt of gratitude.