NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Ben Jobe meant everything to Avery Johnson.
“Had I not met Coach at Southern University, I would not be here,” Johnson said.
After Alabama’s 79-74 loss to Kentucky in Saturday’s SEC Tournament semifinals at Bridgestone Arena, Johnson spoke fondly about his college coach and mentor who passed away Friday at the age of 84.
“He taught me a lot about how to be a man,” Johnson said. “Father. Husband. He promised my mom that I would get my degree.”
Johnson said Jobe’s health had been failing him in recent weeks.
“Ten days ago, I talked to Coach, he was getting admitted into the hospital and he didn’t sound good,” said Johnson about Jobe, who was living in Montgomery. “And then as time progressed, his health just deteriorated.”
Johnson had been talking Jobe’s daughter every day about Jobe's health. Johnson said Jobe “was alert” for Alabama’s 20-point win over Mississippi State in the second round Thursday.
Johnson was informed that Jobe was able to catch most of the first half of the Crimson Tide’s quarterfinal win Friday against South Carolina, but passed away later that day.