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Nick Saban pens heartfelt message on the passing of Cecil Hurt

Nick Saban clapping his hands on the field before Alabama faces New Mexico State
Marvin Gentry - USA Today Sports

The Tuscaloosa community and Alabama football world suffered a tough loss on Tuesday.

Cecil Hurt, one of the most influential journalists, storytellers, and media personalities, passed away at UAB Hospital in Birmingham from complications from pneumonia. 

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The 62-year-old impacted colleagues at Tuscaloosa News for nearly 40 years while fostering a new generation of writers to pen stories on the Crimson Tide with accuracy, flair, and critical thinking. Hurt covered legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Eugene Stallings for the Crimson Tide. Before his death, he captured the journey of Nick Saban through the pen.

Hurt would ask the first question to Saban in press conferences, and he had the ones that forced the seven-time national champion to think. Saban penned a heartfelt message to someone he considered a true professional of his craft and a good friend.

“Cecil Hurt was a good friend and one of the best sportswriters I have ever had the privilege of working with, not just at Alabama, but at all of our coaching stops,” Saban said. “He was a man of integrity and a fair-minded journalist blessed with wit, wisdom, and an ability to paint a picture with his words that few have possessed. Cecil was loved throughout this community and state as an old-school journalist who covered the Alabama beat with class and professionalism. He was a role model for young writers and the most trusted source of news for Alabama fans everywhere. He leaves a wonderful legacy as one of sports journalism’s best. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as well as Alabama fans everywhere who loved Cecil as much as we did.”

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Several journalists, fans, and national media pundits paid homage to Hurt via Twitter.

The University of Alabama honored him with a message from its social media too.

He will forever be known for his dedication to making Alabama football more than a game.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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