The head football coach for the University of Alabama is set to make an appearance in Mobile on Thursday, March 24, for the ninth annual “A Night With Nick Saban.” The event at the Mobile Convention Center is the sole fundraiser for the nonprofit Team Focus program.
Founded by Mike Gottfried and his wife, Mickey, Team Focus has a mission to help fill the “father gap” in the lives of young men. Since 2000, the organization has served more than 4,000 at-risk youth in Mobile and satellite chapters in Texas, Florida, Nevada, Kentucky and Ohio.
The Mobilian of the Year in 2010, Mike Gottfried has more than 12 years of experience as a college football coach and has served as an analyst for ESPN. He recently was the topic of an article by Al Blanton.
“Team Focus is the culmination of Mike’s lifelong struggle to heal from the untimely death of his father,” Blanton wrote in the article, which can be found at www.BlantonOnline.com. “The goal of the organization is to provide a comprehensive mentoring program for young boys, ages 10-18, who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances with no father present in their life.
“The tagline is ‘Guiding Young Men to the Ultimate Victory,’ and the labor is unashamedly Christian, centering on Jeremiah 29:11 — ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Gottfried will share his story and introduce Saban at the fundraiser. The evening will include a silent auction beginning at 5:30 p.m., which will feature numerous signed sports memorabilia. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
“We are so thankful for Coach Saban’s continued support of Team Focus and the lives of the young men the organization represents,” Gottfried said. “It is an honor to introduce him each year at this event.”
Individual tickets are $75, while a table of 10 costs $750. Sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. To purchase tickets or learn more about the program, call 251-635-1515 or visit www.TeamFocusUSA.org.
National title for Brinson
Jonina Brinson had an incredible showing for the University of Mobile at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Johnson City, Tennessee. The sophomore turned in a 5.77-meter effort in the long jump to record the Lady Rams’ first individual title since 1995.
Brinson also earned All-America honors in the 60-meter dash (seventh with a time of 7.62 seconds) and triple jump (sixth with a leap of 11.65 meters). She also competed in the 200-meter dash.
Maurice Davis, another sophomore, finished eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 14.28 meters. This also qualified him for All-America honors.
Prep teams claim trophies
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School will need to buy a larger trophy case after the Yellow Jackets (29-6) won the boys’ Class 7A basketball title with a 79-75 win over Central High of Phenix City. This follows the Mobile’s school championship in football last season.
The LeFlore girls, though, accomplished an even more impressive feat at the BJCC Legacy Arena in Birmingham. With their 80-65 win over defending champion Homewood in Class 6A, the Rattlers finished with an incredible 34-0 record.
The McGill-Toolen girls (31-4) did not match their male counterparts, losing in the Class 7A final to Jeff Davis 52-38. It was a rematch of last year’s final, also won by the Vols.
In Class 5A, Faith Academy’s boys (27-8) fell in the championship round. J.O. Johnson defended its title with a 71-50 win. Ironically, the Huntsville team cannot win three straight as the school is closing and students will move to the new Jemison High.
St. Luke’s Episcopal boys lost in the Class 2A championship to Lanett 73-48. The Mobile squad finished 23-12.
Jaguars return to gridiron
The University of South Alabama is halfway through its off-season football practice. Once the players return from the school’s spring break, they will have two more weeks of drills prior to the Red-Blue Game on Saturday, April 2, at noon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
“I’m always excited about the springtime because you feel like there are so many guys who have been developing themselves mentally, physically and spiritually over the last two to four years, and it’s great to see those guys approach the pinnacle of their athletic career,” head coach Joey Jones said. “That starts to show usually the spring before their senior year — that’s when they become their best — and it’s always fun to see those guys develop.”
Starting March 21, the Jags will have Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning workouts the next two weeks at the Yance Football Practice Facility. A scrimmage is set for Saturday, March 26, at 10 a.m. The annual Pro Day will take place at noon on Monday, March 28.
● A familiar face is on the sidelines for USA. Mobile native Kelvin Sigler has been hired as an assistant coach.
“I’m real excited about having Kelvin as part of our staff,” Jones said. “He brings a lot of expertise in the secondary and we were looking for a true cornerbacks coach to come here, and he’s done an excellent job at Northern Illinois.”
During his three years with the Huskies, NIU was 31-11 overall and 21-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Last fall, his unit led the conference with 22 interceptions and 29 takeaways.
After graduating from Shaw High, Sigler lettered four years at Alabama. He led the Tide in tackles as a junior and was a team captain his senior year.
From 2008 to 2011, he was the head coach at Blount High. He led the Leopards to four straight playoff berths and a 27-18 record. He returned to Tuscaloosa in 2012 and helped the Tide finish 13-1 and win the BSC championship game with a 42-14 rout of Notre Dame.