2020 Events

November 24, 2020

Wimp & Sonny former basketball coaches Au & Ala

Wimp & Sonny

Charles H. "Sonny" Smith is a retired head basketball coach at Auburn. Originally from Roan Mountain, Tennessee, Smith served as a head coach for twenty-two seasons. He is credited with turning around losing programs at East Tennessee State University and Auburn University. Additionally, Smith coached Virginia Commonwealth University from 1989-1998.

Smith is best remembered for his coaching years at Auburn University, where he was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1988. In 1985, he coached the Auburn Tigers to their first SEC Tournament Championship in school history. From 1984 to 1988, he guided Auburn to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 berth in 1985 and a Final Eight berth in 1986. To date, he is the only coach in Auburn men's basketball history to have three consecutive 20-win seasons, from 1984-86. On January 3, 2007, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Winfrey "Wimp" Sanderson is the former head basketball coach at Alabama. He coached at Alabama from 1981 to 1992 and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from 1994 to 1999.

In 1960 he became a graduate assistant under Hayden Riley at Alabama, and in 1961 he was made a full-time assistant. He served in this capacity for 20 years under both Riley and C. M. Newton, eventually becoming Newton's top assistant. When Newton resigned to become assistant commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Sanderson was named his successor. In 12 years as head coach his teams averaged 21.8 wins a year, with a 267-119 record, and they won 5 SEC tournaments. They played in one NIT and ten NCAA tournaments making the "Sweet 16" six times. He is the only coach in Alabama history to win 200 or more games in his first 10 years. He was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 1987, 1989 and 1990, and was the National Coach of the Year in 1987.

Sanderson was famous for wearing plaid sport jackets on the sidelines. During his glory years at Alabama, the Coleman Coliseum was known as the "Plaid Palace" (with its midcourt logo painted crimson-and-white plaid), the Million Dollar Band was known as the "Plaid Players", and many fans came to games wearing plaid in Sanderson's honor.