TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama prides itself on winning multiple national and SEC honors as well as other athletic achievements of its student-athletes. However, the Crimson Tide as a whole is just as impressive in the classroom as it is on the court, field or track. In 2016, Alabama became the first school in the College Sports Information Directors of America award’s history to have three student-athletes earn Academic All-American of the Year honors in the same academic year. However, this semester the women’s tennis team is helping build to the Capstone’s tradition of academic success.
“We’re really proud,” assistant coach Shelley Godwin said. “To have a 3.9 GPA really speaks to their dedication to what they do on a daily basis. I mean that doesn’t happen by accident, and that’s a tremendous accomplishment by our team and we’re really proud of them.”
Being a part of the Alabama women’s tennis team is a lot of work. Between the early mornings, practices, meets, classes that they sometimes miss because of traveling, these girls have a tough schedule, and while the mandatory study halls in Bryant surely help their academic schedules stay manageable, the high merit of excellence demanded by themselves and the university as a whole definitely serves as motivation.
“I think it goes hand and hand being a student athlete in the SEC,” freshman Maddie Pothoff said. “The standards are high on the court and in the classroom.”
“I just think they have a high standard for themselves and everything they do,” Godwin said. “The whole athletic department has that standard. I think they just rise to it.”
Getting the girls to rally behind the mantra of success on and off the court is something coach Jenny Mainz has been doing for 20 years.
“She pushes her players to reach that standard on a daily basis,” Godwin said. “So just think as new people, they come in and they get right into that kind of environment and that kind of atmosphere, and the success just continues through the years. I am a little jealous though that they beat us, this is the highest GPA of a team of Jenny’s in her 20 years, and it’s quite an accomplishment.”
The team’s scholastic achievements show how the entire athletic program helps its players become better, well-rounded individuals and embodies what it means to be “built by Bama.”