The University of Alabama Crimson Tide football and it's support staff gathered inside Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday along with 32,000 fans to celebrate the Tide's 14th national championship. Stadium public address announcer Tony Giles emcee'd the event, which featured video montages and fireworks, among other things. The celebration, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, was broadcast live by Birmingham's CBS 42 television station.
University President Robert Witt and Athletics Director Mal Moore addressed the crowds to rousing ovations. Several players also had the opportunity to speak to the enthusiastic crowd as well. They included 2011 team captains Dont'a Hightower, Mark Barron, and Doak Walker Award winner Trent Richardson. Outland Trophy and ARA Sportsmanship Award winner Barrett Jones also addressed the crowd, and was very complimentary to the fans.
"We have the best fans in the country and they showed that today", Jones said.
While the players and administration were all greeted with thunderous applause, none was more thunderous than the applause reserved for head coach Nick Saban. Saban lead his 2011 team on to the field one last time, and also heaped well-deserved praise on them when he took the podium.
"I absolutely love this team and what they were able to accomplish", he said. "I hope everyone appreciates everything they did to win the national championship."
Sadly, there were a few well-deserving individuals who were unable to attend the celebration. Former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has already assumed his new duties as head coach at Colorado State University, while former linebackers coach Sal Sunseri is busy getting settled in to his new gig as defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. However, Bama fans did get an opportunity to meet their replacements when all of the coaches got to introduce themselves. New linebackers coach Lance Thompson, who last coached at Alabama in 2008 before going to Tennessee, expressed how happy he was to be back home, while new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who had been the offensive coordinator at Washington, gave a resounding "roll tide' when given his turn at the podium.