Where is Sarah Patterson’s Statue?


Where is Sarah Patterson’s Statue?

Don’t know who Sarah Patterson is? She was the Alabama gymnastics coach from 1979 through 2014. Her teams won 6 national championships.

She has a connection to the past, because she was appointed by AD Coach Bryant (he was both Head Football Coach and AD at the time). Who else could have found Sarah Patterson? Coach Bryant came out of Moro Bottom, Arkansas, a town nobody heard of, and he chose a lady who graduated from Slippery Rock State College, a college many thought didn’t exist. Oh, they had heard the name before, but considered it to be myth rather than fact.

They have a Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza between Coleman Coliseum, where the gymnastic meets are held, and Sewell-Thomas Stadium, where UA baseball games were held. I say were because a new baseball stadium is being built. There are so many structural situations in the vicinity, it’s almost like clutter city.

My familiarity with the University of Alabama goes back a long way. When I was in high school, the statewide debates were held at UA. There were some old Army barracks after you went past the library on the way down to the river. I don’t remember whether Ferguson Hall was there at that time. The boys stayed in the Army barracks, and our lady teacher and the girls hopefully found better accommodations. We were afraid to ask, thinking perhaps we might have wound up with better accommodations, and our teacher and the girls down by the river in old army tents.

As time moved on, and our son and daughter sought higher academic learning there, my wife and I visited from time to time, and found gigantic new buildings everywhere. We thought that UA had attained its peak of growth.

After my wife’s doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, and lunch, our daughter took us down to Tuscaloosa for a review of what’s been going on down there. The new buildings, etc. seem, at least in my mind, to have almost reached the state line. And the new living accommodations surely must number over 100,000, which leads me to believe the 101,000 plus who go to every football game at Bryant-Denny, must stay for the entire season, and UA is capitalizing on such a phenomena.

Speaking of Bryant-Denny Stadium, we had to stop to see the football coaches’ statues close by—Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings, Coach Bryant, and Coach Saban.

Then we went in search of Sarah Patterson’s statue down at the Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza. You have to remember, it was 99 degrees, and we weren’t too inclined to get out of the car, until we found Sarah Patterson’s statue.

At a distance, enough distance that we couldn’t identify them, there were plaques, I assume one of them was Sarah Patterson, but no statue. No statue! I couldn’t believe it.

To be perfectly honest with you, the coaches’ football statues by Bryant-Denny are so prominent, they cannot be missed. I’m sure our daughter knows where she was when she found the Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza, but I was lost, and I imagine a lot of people are who are looking for Sarah Patterson’s statue.

Are we dealing with male chauvinism here? I assume the Board of Trustees, or whatever they call the hierarchy at UA, makes the decisions about what statues will be erected. I don’t know the makeup of the Trustees, but I assume some women are on that Board of Trustees.

Maybe the women voted for a statue for Sarah, but got outvoted. They should have taken a hammer into the Trustees’ meeting, and as one of the men voted no, they should have hit his shoe with the hammer. When that Trustee returned from his podiatrist, he likely would have changed his vote to yes. It would probably have been a lengthy Trustee meeting, what with having to call all the ambulances to haul the Trustees to their podiatrists, but the wait would have been worth it.

But there sits Sarah in her retirement. All she can do whenever she visits the UA campus, is to stand by the football coaches’ statues while her fans take pictures of her beside the statues, because that seems to be as close as she will ever get to a statue of her.

At least when those fans show those pictures to their family and friends, all of them will remark about Sarah, “That is the most lifelike statue I have ever seen”.

Add comment