The Full Wiki

Bear Bryant: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Paul William "Bear" Bryant (September 11, 1913 – January 26, 1983) was an Americanmarker college football coach. He was best known as the longtime head coach of the University of Alabamamarker football team. During his twenty-five year tenure as Alabama's head coach he amassed six national championships and thirteen conference championships. Upon his retirement in 1982 he held the record for most wins as head coach in collegiate football history. At the University of Alabama, the Paul W.marker Bryant Museummarker, Paul W. Bryant Drive and Bryant-Denny Stadiummarker are all named in his honor. He was also known for his trademark houndstooth hat, deep voice, casually leaning up against the goal post during pre-game warmups, and frequently holding his rolled-up game plan while on the sidelines.

Before arriving at Alabama, Bryant was head football coach at University of Marylandmarker, the University of Kentuckymarker, and Texas A&M Universitymarker.

Early life

Paul Bryant was the 11th of 12 children who were born to William Monroe and Ida Kilgore Bryant in Moro Bottom, Arkansasmarker. His nickname stemmed from his having agreed to wrestle a captive bear during a theater promotion when he was 13-years-old.

He attended Fordyce High School in Fordyce, Arkansasmarker, where tall Bryant - who as an adult would eventually stand - began playing on the school's football team as an eighth grader. During his senior season, the team, with Bryant playing offensive line and defensive end, won the 1930 Arkansasmarker state football championship.

Bryant accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Alabamamarker in 1931. Since he elected to leave high school before completing his diploma, Bryant had to enroll in a Tuscaloosamarker high school to finish his education during the fall semester while he practiced with the college team. Bryant played end for the Crimson Tide and was a participant on the school's 1934 National Championship team. Bryant was the self-described "other end" during his playing years with the team, playing opposite the big star, Don Hutson, who later became an NFL Hall-of-Famermarker. Bryant himself was second team All-SEC in 1934, and was third team all conference in both 1933 and 1935. Bryant played with a partially-broken leg in a 1935 game against Tennessee. Bryant pledged the Sigma Nu social fraternity, and as a senior, he married Mary Harmon.

Bryant was selected in the fourth round by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1936 NFL Draft, but never played professionally.

Coaching career

Assistant and North Carolina Pre-Flight

After graduating in 1936, Bryant took a coaching job at Union Universitymarker in Jackson, Tennesseemarker, but he left that position when offered an assistant coaching position under Frank Thomas at The University of Alabamamarker. Over the next four years, the team compiled a 29–5–3 record. In 1940 he left Alabama to become an assistant at Vanderbilt Universitymarker under Henry Russell Sanders. After the 1941 season, Bryant was offered the head coaching job at the University of Arkansasmarker. However, following the bombing of Pearl Harbormarker, Bryant joined the United States Navy. He served off North Africa, seeing no combat action. However his ship, the civilian merchantman SS Uruguay was rammed by another ship and ordered to be abandoned. Bryant disobeyed the order, saving the lives of his men. 200 others died. He was later granted an honorable discharge to train recruits and coach the North Carolina Navy Pre-Flightmarker football team. One of the players he coached for the Navy was the future Pro Football Hall of Famemarker quarterback Otto Graham. While in the Navy, Bryant attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

University of Maryland

In 1945 Bryant accepted the job as head coach at the University of Maryland. In his only season with the Maryland Terrapins , Bryant led the team to a 6–2–1 record. However, there was a struggle for control of the football program between Bryant and Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd. Byrd was a former Terrapin coach (1912–1934) and, when Bryant was coach, he was the University President. In the most widely publicized example of the power struggle between the two strong-willed men, Bryant suspended a player for violating team rules only to discover that Byrd had the player reinstated while Bryant was away on vacation. Bryant left Maryland to take over the head coaching position at the University of Kentucky.

University of Kentucky

Bryant coached at the University of Kentuckymarker for eight seasons. Under Bryant, Kentucky made its first bowl appearance (1947) and won its first Southeastern Conference title (1950). The 1950 Kentucky team concluded its season with a victory over Bud Wilkinson's #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl. The team finished the season ranked #1 according to the Sagarin Rankings. The living players from the 1950 team were honored during halftime of a game during the 2005 season after the NCAA retroactively recognized the team as co-national champions for that season. Bryant also led Kentucky to appearances in the Great Lakes Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Cotton Bowl Classic. Kentucky's final AP poll rankings under Bryant included #11 in 1949, #7 in 1950, #15 in 1951, #20 in 1952 and #16 in 1953. The 1950 season was Kentucky's highest rank until it finished #6 in the final 1977 AP poll.

Bryant departed Kentucky after he and basketball coach Adolph Rupp had both completed successful seasons in their respective sports. Legend has it that, as a reward, Rupp was given a Cadillac automobile: Bryant was given a cigarette lighter. Bryant left Kentucky, furious that the University had not reprimanded Rupp for his players' roles in the college basketball point shaving scandals of the early '50s. Kentucky was suspended from playing college basketball in 1953, and Rupp received no suspension. This led Bryant to conclude that basketball was #1 on the Kentucky campus and Bryant could not abide by that. Rumors also stating that Bryant left Kentucky after his ideas of integrating the team were rebuffed.

Texas A&M University

In 1954 Bryant accepted the head coaching job at Texas A&M Universitymarker. He also served as athletic director while at A&M.

The Aggies suffered through a grueling 1-9 initial season which began with the infamous training camp in Junction, Texasmarker. The “survivors” were given the name “Junction Boys.” Two years later, Bryant led the team to the Southwest Conference championship with a 34–21 victory over the University of Texasmarker at Austinmarker. The following year, 1957, Bryant's star back John David Crow won the Heisman Trophy (the only Bryant player to ever earn that award), and the Aggies were in title contention until they lost to the #20 Rice Owls in Houstonmarker, amid rumors that Alabama would be going after Bryant.

Again, as at Kentucky, Bryant attempted to integrate the Texas A&M squad. "We'll be the last football team in the Southwest Conference to integrate," he was told by a Texas A&M official. "Well," Bryant replied, "then that's where we're going to finish in football."

At the close of the 1957 season, having compiled an overall 25–14–2 record at Texas A&M, Bryant returned to Tuscaloosa to take the head coaching position, as well as the athletic director job at Alabama.

University of Alabama

Bryant took over the Alabama football team in 1958. When asked why he came to Alabama, he replied "Momma called. And when Momma calls, you just have to come runnin'." After winning a combined four games the last three years, the Tide went 5–4–1 in Bryant's first season. The next year, in 1959, Alabama beat Auburn and appeared in a bowl game, the first time either had happened in the last six years. In 1961, under his leadership with quarterback Pat Trammell, football greats Lee Roy Jordan, and Billy Neighbors, Alabama went 11–0 and defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national championship.

The next three years (1962–1964) featured Joe Namath at quarterback and were among Bryant's finest. The 1962 season ended with a victory in the Orange Bowl over Bud Wilkinson's University of Oklahomamarker Sooners. The following year ended with a victory in the 1963 Sugar Bowl. In 1964, the Tide won another national championship but lost to the University of Texasmarker in the Orange Bowl in the first nationally televised college game in color. The Crimson Tide would repeat as champions in 1965 after defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Coming off of back-to-back national championship seasons, Bryant's Alabama team went undefeated in 1966 and defeated a strong Nebraska team 34–7 in the Sugar Bowl. However, Alabama finished third in the nation behind co-national champions Michigan State and Notre Dame, who had previously played to a 10–10 tie in a late regular season game.

The 1967 team was billed as another national championship contender with star quarterback Kenny Stabler returning, but the team stumbled out of the gate and tied Florida State 37–37 at Legion Fieldmarker. The season never took off from there, with the Bryant-led Alabama team finishing 8–2–1, losing in the Cotton Bowl Classic to Texas A&Mmarker, coached by former Bryant player and assistant coach Gene Stallings. In 1968, Bryant again could not match his previous successes, as the team went 8–3, losing to the University of Missourimarker 35–10 in the Gator Bowl. The 1969 and 1970 teams finished 6–5 and 6–5–1 respectively.

For years, Bryant defended charges of racism by saying the social climate didn't allow him to go after black players. He finally was able to convince the administration to allow him to do it after scheduling the Tide's 1970 season opener against a strong University of Southern Californiamarker team led by African-American fullback Sam Cunningham. Cunningham rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns in a 42–21 victory against the overmatched Tide. After that season, Bryant was able to recruit Wilbur Jackson as Alabama's first African-American scholarship player, and junior-college transfer John Mitchell became the first black man to play for Alabama. By 1973, one-third of the team's starters were African-American.

In 1971, Bryant installed the wishbone offense. The change helped make the remainder of the decade a successful one for the Crimson Tide. That season Alabama went undefeated and earned a #2 ranking, but lost to #1 Nebraska, 38–6 in the Orange Bowl. The team would go on to split national championships in 1973 (Notre Dame defeated Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl, which led the UPI to stop giving national championships until after all the games for the season had been played - including bowl games), 1978 (despite losing a regular season matchup against co-national champion USC) and win it outright in 1979.

Bryant coached at Alabama for 25 years, winning six national titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, and 1979) and thirteen SEC championships. Bryant's win over in-state rival Auburn Universitymarker, coached by former Bryant assistant Pat Dye in November 1981 was Bryant's 315th as a head coach, which was the most of any head coach at that time.

Retirement and death

Bryant announced his retirement as head football coach at Alabama effective with the end of the 1982 season. His last regular-season game was the 23–22 loss to Auburn University and his last post-season game was a 21–15 victory in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennesseemarker over the University of Illinoismarker. When asked in a post-game interview what he intended to do while retired, Bryant sarcastically replied that he would "probably croak in a week."

On January 26, 1983, Bryant, complaining of chest pains, checked into Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa. Only minutes later, he died after suffering a massive heart attack. His death came 28 days after his last game as a coach, and only one day after passing a routine medical checkup. On his hand at the time of his death was the only piece of jewelry he ever wore, a gold ring inscribed "The Junction Boys". He is interred at Birmingham's Elmwood Cemeterymarker.

Defamation suit

In 1962, after Bryant lambasted The Saturday Evening Post for printing an article that accused Bryant of encouraging his players to "engage in brutality" in a 1961 game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the magazine claimed that Bryant and Georgia Bulldogs coach Wally Butts had conspired to fix their 1961 game together in Alabama's favor. Butts, also on Bryant's behalf, sued Curtis Publishing Co. for defamation. The case went to the Supreme Courtmarker. As a result of Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts 388 U.S. 130 (1967), Curtis was ordered to pay $3,060,000 in damages to the plaintiff.

Honors and awards


Many of Bryant's former players and assistant coaches went on to become head coaches at the collegiate level and/or in the National Football League, including six (in bold) who are currently active head coaches at NCAA programs.


1971 NAIA National Championship 1981 National Championship

1981 NSSA Coach of the Year
1981 Walter Camp Coach of the Year

Texas A&M:
1992 National Championship

1992 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year

1992 Walter Camp Coach of the Year

1974 Sporting News Coach of the Year

1999 College Football Hall of Famemarker Inductee (as coach) 1970 AFCA Coach of the Year

1986 College Football Hall of Famemarker Inductee (as coach) 1983 National Championship

1983 NSSA Coach of the Year

Assistant coaches

2005 College Football Hall of Famemarker Inductee (as coach)

Texas A&M:
1960 (H) National Championship

1958 (AP)(UPI) National Championship

1958 NSSA Coach of the Year

also served as assistant coach under Bryant at Alabama

also served as assistant coach under Bryant at Alabama and Texas A&M

# previously served as assistant coach under Bryant at Kentucky

Head coaching record

In his 38 seasons as a head coach, Bryant had 37 winning seasons and participated in a total of 31 post–season bowl games, including 24 consecutively at Alabama. Bryant won 15 bowl games, including eight Sugar Bowls.

(*) Before the 1974, the final Coaches' Poll, also known then as the UPI Poll, was released before the bowl games, so a team that lost its bowl game could still claim the UPI national championship. This was changed as a result of Alabama claiming the 1973 Coaches' Poll national championship despite losing to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

(**) The NCAA retroactively recognized the 1950 Kentucky Wildcats football team as the co-national Champions. The Sagarin ratings also have Kentucky at #1 that year.

See also


  1. Bear Bryant: 25 Years Retrieved on October 17, 2008.
  3. Alabama Football

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address