In the 1920s, University of Alabama President George Denny felt strongly that a nationally recognized football program would pay immeasurable dividends in elevating the image and prestige of the University of Alabama. Rose Bowl trips after the 1925 and 1926 seasons generated the type of response Denny yearned for; and it added money to the Athletics Department coffers as well. With payoffs from the bowls, plans were made to build an on-campus stadium. In 1929, Denny Stadium, a state-of-the-art facility with 12,000 seats, opened on the Tuscaloosa campus.
As the years passed by and as success in football added more and more gridiron legends to the Crimson Tide lore, the demands for a larger football stadium became understandable. Building upon the 12,000-seat structure, Bryant-Denny Stadium today has a capacity of 101,821. Through those ensuing decades of excellence, the overall Athletics Department grew from supporting four men's sports teams into a multi-faceted one sustaining 21 squads in both men's and women's sports.
During Chancellor Robert Witt's tenure as president, he embraced the Denny vision, supporting the Athletics Department with the keen understanding that a powerful program only enhances the overall goal of making the University foremost in education with the finest academic and student facilities possible.
"The commitment to improving all athletics facilities is a never-ending process,” said former Athletics Director Mal Moore, who spearheaded the task of providing student-athletes with the best possible venues in which to compete, in the nation's most difficult conference.
Prior to 2002, the Athletics Department had never raised funds through donors to maintain and build new facilities or to endow scholarships. That changed with the implementation of the Crimson Tradition Fund, a capital campaign. Three years later, in 2005, the Crimson Tide Foundation was established to help ensure that the University maintains the level excellence expected by its supporters for years to come. Its purpose is to promote and encourage a continuing interest in, and loyalty to, the intercollegiate athletic programs at the University of Alabama; to support the staff of the University's Department of Athletics in their efforts to coordinate, develop, maintain and improve a superior intercollegiate athletics program at the University.
As the Athletics Department at the University of Alabama is self-sustaining, all private gifts contribute directly to the needs of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Therefore, the Crimson Tide Foundation provides a venue through which loyal alumni, fans and friends can give financial support to the Athletics Department, while capturing all the current tax benefits allowed by the IRS.
Private support enables UA Athletics to increase its standing, in both athletics and academics, over competing universities beyond what can be accomplished with annual revenue from ticket sales, media rights and other licensing agreements.