Antoine Pettway leaves Alabama as nothin' but a winner
Mark Gottfried did a lot of good things as a player and head coach at his alma mater, the University of Alabama. He won an SEC regular-season championship and reached the Sweet 16 in both roles, one of only three men to hit those heights, along with C.M. Newton and Joe B. Hall. He led the Crimson Tide to five straight NCAA Tournaments - only Wimp Sanderson has a longer streak with six - and its first No. 1 national ranking.
Then there's this achievement that's yet to be matched 19 years after it happened, which has to pain the entire fan base in the wake of a special season that ended too soon. Gottfried remains the only Alabama basketball coach to guide a team to the Elite Eight.
For all of his accomplishments, though, perhaps the most lasting is one that made barely a ripple at the time. He believed in Antoine Pettway. Accepted him as a walk-on point guard in the summer of 2000 and rewarded him with a scholarship a year later. That decision has helped Alabama basketball make waves for two decades.
It's fitting to look back as Pettway moves on and moves up after accepting his first head coaching position at Kennesaw State, an up-and-coming Division I program coming off the best season in school history. The job came open because Amir Abdur-Rahim, after leading the Owls to their first NCAA Tournament appearance, took the South Florida position.
So Pettway's long and distinguished run as a pillar of the Crimson Tide program has come to an end as you always hoped it would, with another school having the wisdom to hire him as head coach. Now Kennesaw State gets to learn what anyone who knows anything about Alabama basketball history understands.
What started with two AHSAA state championships, as a sophomore at Keith High School and a senior at Wilcox Central, continues to this day. Coach Pett ain't never been nothin' but a winner. ...
Read the rest of Kevin's column recognizing Antoine Pettway's prominent place in Alabama basketball history. Only in The Lede.