The AHSAA Super 7 Championships have rotated between Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Auburn for the last two years, and it will continue to do so through the rest of the decade according to contracts obtained by the USA TODAY Sports Network.
Previous Alabama High School Athletic Association football state championships have brought economic bounties to host cities in previous years. In addition to financial benefits, the championships provide unique experiences for student-athletes playing in SEC stadiums — Alabama’s Bryant Denny Stadium and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium — along with playing in the newest major football venue in the state — Birmingham’s Protective Stadium.
But what do coaches from around the state think? We granted them anonymity, and here is what they had to say.
Coaches did not all agree. Here are the top results from coaches who responded to our questionnaire.
Should the Super 7 have a permanent home, or should it keep rotating between Tuscaloosa, Auburn and Birmingham?
“I love the rotation.”
“I think the rotation is good, and it helps all three cities. It’s also good for the fans and student-athletes to see different places.”
“I think most fans prefer the rotation. It gives fans in different parts of the state opportunities to watch the Super 7. I do not think coaches care where the game is, we just want to be playing in it.”
“I enjoy the games being rotated between the three cities.”
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If you think it should have a permanent home, where should the Super 7 be played every year?
“We have great SEC venues but I would like to see the Super 7 stay in Birmingham permanently … just like it does for basketball. The new venue is top-notch. Protective Stadium is the right capacity for state championships. The SEC venues are way too big for state championship crowds. It is super convenient to get to. Birmingham has plenty of hotels and places to eat. For coaches in our area of the state, we can make it home each night.”
“Again I would be for the continued rotation.”
Is there another city besides those three that should be in the rotation?
“I think the three are perfect; some may say Montgomery but I love the three that are part of the rotation”
“I think Montgomery could be a place.”
“Mobile should be considered. South Alabama has a great stadium.”
“No. If for some reason Auburn and Tuscaloosa stopped hosting, I could see maybe Montgomery and Troy coming into the mix. Mobile would be another option, but it would be a long way for the north teams to travel.”
“They should add Montgomery in the mix and partner with Cramton bowl.”
Which of the three sites do you prefer – is it better when it’s in Birmingham, Auburn or Tuscaloosa, even if it continues to rotate?
“I think each offers different environments: Two are massive SEC campuses and elite, world-class facilities. Birmingham offers a brand new, beautiful place to play.”
“I like Tuscaloosa. But I think Birmingham is the most likely place to keep it.”
“I think all of the stadiums have their benefits. I personally do not like Auburn because I have lost two state championship games in that stadium.”
“I prefer Tuscaloosa because it is closer than the other two sites.”
“Auburn is home, so it should should stay there.”
What do you think is the strong point of each of the three locations? What is the weak point of each?
“Hard to find weak points, all three I think offer an elite experience for kids at the high school level. I am just a big fan of all three.”
“Birmingham I think has the best entertainment district and has local hotels. The on-campus at Tuscaloosa is great, it’s just parking is tough. Auburn is the same. Sometimes it feels on both universities it’s not a priority.”
“Birmingham is in the center of state.”
“Auburn: Strong ‒ good parking situation. Weak ‒ there is not one large social room for coaches to hang out and watch games. The other stadiums have this option. Birmingham: Strong ‒ great suites, smaller stadium. Weak ‒ parking is not good. Tuscaloosa: Strong – “Bear” Bryant coached there. Weak ‒ parking is also an issue.”
“All three sites do a good job of taking care of the teams, fans and spectators. From a coach’s standpoint, both Auburn and Tuscaloosa have coaches boxes that allow coaches to gather during games separately from the fans. That would be their respective strengths. Birmingham has something similar, but the games can’t be viewed as easily from this area. This would be their weak point.”
“What is the weak point of each? Alabama and Auburn are where kids grow up (wanting to play). Our schools have the best venues in the country. It’s great for students to get to be on college campuses.”