Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Coleman Coliseum hosts ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ for the first time ever

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama head coach Nate Oats is introduced alongside College GameDay personalities.

Despite a losing effort on Saturday night versus the Tennessee Volunteers, blue-collar basketball was on full display this weekend as ESPN’s “College GameDay” made the trip to Tuscaloosa for a men’s basketball game for the first time ever. The morning pregame show, hosted by University of Alabama alumnus Rece Davis, aired on Saturday morning live from Coleman Coliseum, and the place was rocking.  

“It’s a level of national recognition that, even as good as Alabama basketball has been in the past, it’s been better than a lot of people realize,” Davis said. “I think there’s just a sustained level of excellence that brings with it the validation getting the attention of our show.” 

This national recognition had the Alabama student section known as Crimson Chaos camped out in the early morning hours, hoping to get the best seat possible to catch Saturday morning’s festivities.  

The loyal fans were rewarded for their dedication with a doughnut delivery from head coach Nate Oats and a few Crimson Tide players, as well as an action-packed show inside of Coleman Coliseum. 

“It was a special opportunity to attend ‘College GameDay’ in Tuscaloosa for the first time,” said Davis Catlin, a sophomore majoring in communication studies. “Even as we stood in line for hours before the doors opened, you could feel the excitement in the air. All of the students definitely showed out, and I feel like we showed that we really are a championship school.” 

The show included expert analysis from former players and coaches, on-court games, and special guests. The crowd went bananas when Oats and Alabama football star quarterback Jalen Milroe made appearances on the set.  

“I didn’t think it could get any more hype, then Milroe came out and the crowd went crazy. Seeing Nate Oats too made it even better,” said Chance Newsome, a freshman majoring in biology. 

One sharpshooting student left the “College GameDay” set with a fat check worth $19,000. UA freshman Avyion Cooley was selected to participate in a half-court shoot contest during the show. He was given 19 seconds to shoot as many half-court shots as possible; if he was able to sink one, he would walk away with $19,000. Cooley was unsuccessful until his final attempt, at the buzzer, when he drained the shot and set off a frenzy in Coleman Coliseum.  

“When I took my last shot, I kind of had a feeling it was going to fall,” Cooley said. “The crowd went so crazy. My original plan was to celebrate with Nate Oats, but when I heard the crowd, I had to share the moment with them as well. One of my friends beforehand told me I should do the crimson crane if I were to hit the shot, so I did it and the crowd loved it.” 

Ever since ESPN analyst and member of the “College GameDay” crew Jay Williams compared the atmosphere at Coleman Coliseum to a tennis match during the Crimson Tide’s loss to Clemson earlier in the season, the fans have been bringing the heat. However, nothing had come close to what the Alabama faithful had in store for Saturday. From the line waiting to get into “College GameDay” to the final buzzer versus the Vols, the energy that the fans brought was unmatched.  

“This was not the outcome we were looking for, but I think the fans created a great atmosphere all day,” Oats said after the game. “It was great that we had ‘College GameDay.’ It shows how far our program has come.” 

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