Sarah Patterson

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Sarah Campbell Patterson (born c. 1956 in Binghamton, New York) was the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide women's gymnastics team from 1979 to 2014. During her tenure, she built the program at the University of Alabama into one of the most successful in the history of college gymnastics. Her teams have won six NCAA championships, eight Southeastern Conference championships, and 29 NCAA Regional titles. She was named SEC Women's Gymnastics Coach of the Year four times and NCAA Women's Gymnastics Coach of the Year five times.

She graduated from Union Endicott High School in 1974 and Slippery Rock State College in 1978. She applied to the University of Alabama as an assistant to Tom Steele, but was offered the job of replacing him as head coach by Athletic Director Paul "Bear" Bryant. She was given a $5,000 salary with the expectation that the program would be discontinued the following year. Her success in winning meets during that year, however, won Bryant's favor and he offered her four scholarships to begin recruiting for the gymnastics program's future. She coached that recruiting class to a fourth-place finish at the Tide's first NCAA gymnastics championship meet in 1983.

Patterson is married to Alabama volunteer assistant coach David Patterson. They have two children, Jessie, and Jordan (a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide softball 2012 NCAA championship team).

Patterson was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Facing double knee surgery, she and her husband retired from coaching in 2014. The "Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza" between Coleman Coliseum and Sewell-Thomas Stadium was dedicated in her honor in 2013.

Patterson was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2022.

Preceded by:
Tom Steele
Alabama Crimson Tide Women's Gymnastics Coach
Succeeded by:
Dana Duckworth


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