Bama club members get behind scenes tour of UA athletics

Published 7:43 pm Sunday, July 26, 2015

Members of the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club got a behind the scenes tour of the University of Alabama athletics facilities on Friday. --Daniel Evans

Members of the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club got a behind the scenes tour of the University of Alabama athletics facilities on Friday. –Daniel Evans

Some of the Dallas County’s biggest Alabama fans got a behind the scenes look at the University of Alabama athletics department Friday and in particular the school’s football program.

A total of 33 members of the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club had a chance to see Bryant Denny Stadium weeks before kickoff, as well as the press box, the players’ locker room, players’ lounge and the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility.  It was the first time members of the club had toured the facilities since 2010 and a lot has changed. Norman Copeland, who might be the biggest Alabama fan in Selma, said every time he comes back, there’s something new and improved.

“I think most of all it’s seeing everything changing and everything is improving — the baseball field and all the facilities,” Copeland said. “The thing about it is I think this is what draws people is the great facilities they have. If you look at these locker rooms compared to 20 years ago, the smell is even different.”

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The locker room was one of the highlights of the trip for many of the group. Several took time walking to each locker and reading the famous names that once wore the number each locker represented.

The gigantic Alabama logo in the middle of the room also drew some attention, although it was roped off because nobody is allowed to walk on it.

While the locker room was a big hit, the group’s favorite moment might’ve been the stroll through the tunnel and into Bryant Denny Stadium. In just over a month, actual Crimson Tide players will be taking that same walk before their home opener against Middle Tennessee State.

“You see it on TV from above, you see it from the stands above and then you walk out there and you look up and you just envision 101,000 people yelling up there, and it just sends chills down your back,” said Ronnie Leet, president of the Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club.

From there, the group was bussed over to the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, where they got to walk through cases full of Alabama’s most historic moments. Mark Ingram’s Heisman Trophy sits in the middle of the top floor, as do the Crimson Tide’s three BCS National Championship trophies of the Saban era.

The tour concluded with a stop by the enormous weight room facility in the Mal Moore building.

Leet said one of the most enjoyable parts is the chance to see members of the tour group that are seeing Alabama athletics behind the scenes for the first time.

“These people were just amazed; they just don’t have an idea,” Leet said. “I was amazed the first time I saw it too and that was a long time ago, so [the facilities] are much better even now.”

The Bama-Wilcox Bama Club main purpose is to award scholarships to local seniors that will be attending the University of Alabama.This past year the club awarded six scholarships.

For more information on the club,  including how to become a member, contact Leet at 875-2672.