Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson stepping down after 36 - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson stepping down after 36 years

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Sarah Patterson has coached the Alabama gymnastics team since 1978. Sarah Patterson has coached the Alabama gymnastics team since 1978.
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL -

The University of Alabama’s longtime gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson has announced she’s stepping down.

“After much thought and prayer and after much consultation with Athletics Director Bill Battle and our President, Dr. Judy Bonner, I have decided to step down from the only job I have ever known since graduating from college,” Patterson said. “This is something I have tried to postpone but, through ongoing consultation with my physicians, it has become evident that surgery to replace both knees is necessary. My physician shared with me that it will be a year or more before I am back to a normal lifestyle.”

Patterson coached the Crimson Tide Gymnastics team for 36 seasons. She built the program into one of the most successful gymnastics programs in the country. Under her leadership, the team had 1,006 wins and 43 postseason championships. Six were NCAA National Championships.

Sarah Patterson’s husband, David, will also step down as a volunteer coach.

“After having been through brief periods in the past where both of us were out of the gym at different points for health reasons, Sarah and I have always said that neither of us ever wanted to coach without the other,” David Patterson said. “The timing is not what any of us wants, but the necessity of surgery at this point, and preserving Sarah’s health, has set the timetable.”

The University says Patterson had been dealing with knee issues for several years.

"Although this is certainly not how any of us wanted Sarah’s incredible coaching career to come to an end, we are excited that Sarah has agreed to continue to serve the University and this department,” said University of Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle. “At this point though, we are focused on her return to health. We will make every effort to continue the tremendous momentum that Sarah and David created and maintained for our gymnastics program.”

Patterson will remain on staff at the University as a Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics.

Dana Duckworth is scheduled to be introduced as the new head gymnastics coach this afternoon, pending approval from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

*Below is a list of Patterson's accomplishments as head coach.

— 6 NCAA Team Championships - 1988, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012

— 32 Consecutive NCAA Championship Appearances – 1983-14

— NCAA-best 27 NCAA Championship top-4 finishes

— NCAA-best 22 NCAA Championship top-3 finishes

— NCAA-best 20 Super Six Team Finals

— 8 SEC Team Championships - 1988, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2014

— NCAA-best 29 Regional Team Championships -1983-85, 1987-96, 1998-03, 2005-14

— 4 NCAA Today’s Top VIII honorees

— 1 Honda Cup (National Woman Athlete of the Year)

— 8 Honda Awards (National Gymnast of the Year)

— 25 individual NCAA titles

— 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

— 5 NCAA Elite 89 honors

— 66 athletes have earned 302 All-America honors

— 73 athletes have earned 189 Scholastic All-America honors (since 1991)

— 5 SEC Athletes of the Year

— 3 SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year

— 60 individual SEC titles

— 88 All-SEC honors

— 11 SEC Postgraduate Scholarships

— 275 SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades

— 6 SEC Gymnast of the Year honors

— 5 SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors

— 3 SEC Freshman of the Year honors

— 8 NCAA Region Gymnast of the Year honors

— 145 individual NCAA Regional titles

— SEC single-meet attendance record (15,162 vs. Florida; Jan. 20, 2006)

— SEC single-season attendance record (13,786 per meet; 2010)

*Information from The University of Alabama .

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