A Sweet Gift
Thanks to a $1 million donation from Steve D. Smith to the Crimson Tradition Fund, The University of Alabama Gymnastics Practice Facility, was renamed the “Frances Smith Gymnastics Practice Facility”. The gift was made in honor of his mother, a life-long Alabama fan who “never misses a home gymnastics meet.”
In addition to being an avid Alabama Athletics fan, Frances Smith can be also be found at most football, basketball and baseball games. “All of my life our family have been loyal fans and spectators of the Crimson Tide,” Mr. Steve Smith said. “In 45 years as a local business in Tuscaloosa, we have been the beneficiaries of an extraordinary institution like The University of Alabama. I felt this was my opportunity to give back to a school that has meant so much to us as community members and Crimson Tide fans.”
The Smith family has lived in the Tuscaloosa community since 1960 when T.W. Smith moved his wife and five children from Maynardville, Tennessee to start a Krispy Kreme franchise. Frances Smith worked alongside her husband until his death in 1987. Undaunted, she and the children operated the local franchise from 1987 to 1994, a demanding job that often required 16 hour days, seven days a week. Her dedication resulted in her being named “Franchisee of the Year” in 1991, the highest honor given by the corporation. Her husband T.W. had been honored with the award in 1986.
All of the Smith children worked for Krispy Kreme at one point or another. Steve, Don, T.W. Jr., and Kathy combined to have over 200 years of experience with Krispy Kreme. Steve has continued the family’s legacy with the company earning the “Franchisee of the Year” award in 1988 and 1996. He was named to the Krispy Kreme Corporation Board of Directors in 1992 and was honored as a board member emeritus in 2003. Steve and his wife Connie have three children, Chris, Leslie, and Laura all of whom participate in the family business.
The state-of-the-art practice facility, which is part of the Coleman Coliseum Annex, boasts 12,500 square-feet with six uneven bars stations, five balance beams, three vaults and an oversized floor in place. The facility also has a built in video imaging system that uses an array of video cameras to record and then breakdown a gymnast's performance frame by frame allowing the luxury of immediate video feedback at any point in practice.