There are 24 students walking around the Culverhouse College of Commerce with national championships under their belts. The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at The University of Alabama generates more than just research and statistics. Year after year; it also produces champion student-athletes.
Eighteen football players, three members of the women’s golf team, one gymnast and two softball players are majoring in some area of business, and all are members of national championship programs. They are part of 111 student-athletes enrolled in the business school.
And some of them attribute part of their success to their education at the Culverhouse College of Commerce, from the professors who helped them juggle sports and academics to the lessons learned from classmates with varied and diverse backgrounds and even to the challenging course materials.
“Football and business go hand and hand with each other,” said Carson Tinker, the football team’s long snapper, who received his bachelor’s degree in marketing in May 2012 and plans to start his master’s degree in marketing in August. “Things like competition, strategy, leadership, competitive advantage and culture are all things that I’ve learned in the classroom that I have been able to relate to football.”
Tinker learned what it truly means to be a member of the Culverhouse family after a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, killing his longtime girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, and landing him in the hospital with serious injuries.“Dr. Alex Ellinger came and saw me every day while I was in the hospital,” Tinker said of the management and marketing professor. “He brought his wife with him on some occasions, and she brought me brownies. That obviously meant a lot to me. Dr. Ellinger has so much devotion and affection for his students and the business school.
“I feel like this is what make this school great. Ellinger would have gone to see any of his students. He went around and worked in the community as well, as I’m sure a lot of our teachers did. And no one ever hears about this kind of stuff. They didn’t do it for the attention; they did it because it was the right thing to do.
Tinker said Ellinger and Dr. Ron Dulek, professor of management, are his favorite teachers because of their passion, energy and enthusiasm in the classroom.“Dulek along with Ellinger and, I’d say, the majority of our professors genuinely care about our students — not only their education but their futures,” Tinker said.Tinker said that his biggest motivation for success, both in academics and in football, comes from a piece of advice from head football coach Nick Saban. “You’re either hungry or you’re satisfied. You can’t be both,” the threetime National Coach of the Year told his team, according to Tinker. And the athlete took this advice to heart.
“I’m hungry; I’m hungry to do everything I want to do,” Tinker said. “I have goals that I have written down and I want to see all of those goals through. I’ve made those goals for myself, in my handwriting; I’m not going to let myself down.”
In addition to football and school, Tinker serves as president of the Executive Business Council and is the assistant to the executive vice president for the Student Government Association.Tinker said he is willing to do whatever it takes in order to achieve his goals.
“Everyone has the same amount of time in the day,” he said. “It’s all about time management. You have to be able to sacrifice some of the things you would like to do, like sleep, in order to get your school work done."
Tinker has a lot of “dream jobs,” but he currently aspires to be a marketing consultant after finishing his master’s degree.
Tinker’s teammate Morgan Ogilvie, a Crimson Tide quarterback who graduated with his bachelor’s degree in August 2011 and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in finance, has spent five years as a business student and has played on the last two national championship teams. He agrees that it’s all about time management and has mastered the art of balancing school and sports.
“Being on the football team teaches you discipline, and that always helped me when working on something for school,” Ogilvie said. “Also, I think that being on the football team helped motivate me to want to do well in all areas of my life.”
He said he learned that hard work offers the best opportunity for success through football and winning national championships, although it does not necessarily guarantee it.
“I knew that at the end of the day, as long as I knew that I gave my best effort, that I would be content and happy,” Ogilvie said.
But playing for Coach Saban was not the only deciding factor for Ogilvie when he chose to attend UA. The business school attracts a number of talented athletes who want to gain a quality education as well as pursue their sport of choice.
“Obviously playing football for Alabama is something that I dreamed about as a kid and fortunately those dreams came true,” Ogilvie said. “Also, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in business, and since Alabama has a reputable business school, I thought that Alabama would be a good fit for me.”
As an undergraduate student, Ogilvie achieved recognition on the President’s List for his grades, won the Business Executive Award and joined the Business Honor Society and the prestigious senior honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. He also frequently participated in the Christian organization Campus Crusades.
“My biggest motivation in sports and football was to glorify Jesus,” he said. “Also, I wanted to do well and be happy.”
To achieve these goals, including the success that has followed his collegiate football career, Ogilvie often relied on lessons he learned from business courses.
“I felt like I was able to better cope with situations on and off the field because of the analytical skills I learned in the business school,” Ogilvie said.
“My ability to analyze either a problem or situation improved.”He said that his favorite professor was Dr. Robert Brooks, professor of finance, because Brooks challenges his students. Post graduation, Ogilvie plans to get a job in investment banking.
“Both my undergrad and graduate degrees will help open doors for me that would not have been open otherwise,” he said.
Another academic and athletic champion, Brooke Pancake, graduated from Culverhouse with a degree in marketing in May after winning numerous awards and leading the UA women’s golf team to its first national championship. Now a professional golfer, Pancake said she is extremely grateful for everything that The University of Alabama and the Culverhouse College of Commerce provided. She said she would not have made it to the position she is in without the support and motivation of the business-school family, including her favorite professors: Ellinger, and Drs. Louis Marino and Glenn Richey Jr., both professors of marketing.
“Now that I am at the end of my amateur career and pursuing my career further as a professional, the marketing school has taught me how to network and put myself in a good position since being a professional consists of a lot more than just playing the game,” she said.
Academically, Pancake said that she learned the most from her GBA 490 course, which challenged her and encouraged her to embrace everything she had learned during her four years in the business school. She said she also learned a great deal from extracurricular pursuits outside of golf, including membership in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the senior women’s honor society and Emerging Tide Leaders, and as the Southeastern Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative for the golf program.
“Winning the national championship and being a part of a team has taught me to be appreciative of hard work and made me proud to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Pancake said. “We had to push through and fight till the end and never give up.”
Softball player Jordan Patterson, a junior double majoring in accounting and marketing, helped her team bring home a national championship, as well. Patterson did just that these past two years and has been on the President’s List with a 4.0 every year. She is also a member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society. She explained that the work ethic she developed through softball has transferred to her academics, and she plans to eventually attend law school.
“My parents have coached gymnastics here my whole life, so I grew up around this University,” Patterson said. “I used to go to all of the softball games, and I remember wanting so badly to be like those girls. When I got older and started thinking seriously about college and academics, I realized how great of a business school UA has. This school had everything I wanted, so when Coach Murphy asked me to join the team there was not one thing to think about. This is where I wanted to be."