In the year 2000, Mike Gottfried — drawing from his own experiences growing up following the untimely death of his dad — made a commitment with his wife, Mickey, to form the faith-based Team Focus organization.

The group’s mission is to help fill the “father gap” in the lives of young men ages 10 to 18. In the last 17 years, Team Focus has served almost 4,000 at-risk youth in Mobile County and through satellite chapters in Texas, Florida, Nevada, Kentucky and Ohio.

Gottfried, named “Mobilian of the Year” in 2010, said the youngsters are provided with leadership skills, guidance, spiritual values and a constant relationship with a mentor.

A major supporter of the enterprise has been Nick Saban, current head football coach of the University of Alabama. For the 10th straight year, “A Night with Nick Saban,” the sole fundraiser for the nonprofit Team Focus, will feature Saban as the featured speaker. The event will take place Tuesday, April 25, at the Mobile Convention Center.

(Photo | Provided) Courtesy Team Focus | Autographed sports memorabilia will be auctioned at “A Night with Nick Saban” Tuesday, April 25.

“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.”

According to Team Focus, this program focuses on positive influences and role models — including high-profile, nationally recognized collegiate and professional athletes and coaches — to reach the young men through individual mentoring, tutoring, monthly social activities, leadership camps and scholarship opportunities. Gottfried has many connections to help with the process, as he has more than 13 years of experience as a college football head coach and has also served as a college football analyst for ESPN.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction featuring signed sports memorabilia. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

Individual tickets cost $75, and a table for 10 goes for $750. Sponsorships are also available, starting at $5,000. For more information, call the Team Focus office at 251.635.1515 or visit

Volleyball coming to Dauphin Island
Gulf Shores has had all the beach volleyball action for several years. That is about to change, as the Mobile Sports Authority has announced a partnership with Dauphin Island to host the inaugural EVP Island Championships.

The tournament will take place on Dauphin Island Beach June 23-25. The competition will be open to all ages and skill levels, including pro, amateur and junior teams.

The EVP Island Tour has been hosting beach volleyball events for more than 25 years. The Dauphin Island event will receive national television coverage, airing on the Beach Sports Network.

“The Mobile Sports Authority would like to thank EVP, the Town of Dauphin Island, Dauphin Island Parks & Beach Board, Mobile County, SOMO Tourism and Connect Meetings,” said Danny Corte, MSA’s executive director. “The MSA is also inviting business owners along Coastal Alabama to join in the teambuilding fun of the EVP Challenge. It will be held on June 23 with three events in which business teams can compete.”

For more information, contact Susan Shaw at To register for the EVP Island Championships, visit To learn about the EVP Corporate Challenge, send an email to

College briefs
• University of South Alabama sprinter Rafael Scott earned second-team All-American honors after finishing 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He turned in a time of 6.65 seconds in the 60-meter dash. The junior from Lucedale broke the school record this year and was the Sun Belt Conference winner.

• Michael Druhan, a first baseman for Spring Hill, has won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Baseball Player of the Week a third time. The senior from Mobile hit .667 in four games with five home runs. For the year he is hitting .482, with eight homers and 19 runs batted in.

• Badger teammates Conner Harrison and Justin Whitsett also received weekly baseball honors from the SIAC. Harrison, a junior outfielder, hit .316 for the week with six RBIs and two runs scored. Whitsett, a junior right-hander, earned a win over 20th-ranked Florida Tech by striking out three in 5.1 innings.

• USA baseball catcher Jared Barnes has been selected to the Johnny Bench Award’s Watch List. The honor will be awarded to the top Division I catcher on June 5. Barnes is currently hitting .297, with six RBIs and seven runs scored.

• Jaguar teammate Travis Swaggerty was named Player of the Week in the SBC. The center fielder hit .556 with two doubles, one homer, nine RBIs, four runs scored and three stolen bases. He has hit safely in 13 straight games.

• USA left-hander Zach Melton was the conference’s Pitcher of the Week. He tossed six no-hit innings while striking out nine in his first career start. The Foley native retired the final 13 batters he faced.

• Baylie Doiron, a freshman for Spring Hill, was named SIAC Softball Pitcher of the Week. She recorded a no-hitter in an 11-0 win over Tuskegee. She is currently 3-0 with a 1.57 earned run average.

• USA’s Devin Brown (pitcher) and MC Nichols (player) earned weekly softball honors. Brown, a Mobile native, pitched a pair of complete-game shutouts, including the fourth no-hitter of her career. In four games, Nichols had a .636 batting average with three runs scored and two RBIs.

• Richard Moodie, the new coach of the USA women’s soccer team, is learning about his players during a brief spring schedule. The Lady Jags are on the road this weekend against Auburn-Montgomery and Alabama State and will host Southern Miss on April 8. The spring slate concludes April 22 against Mississippi State in Foley.