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On this day in sports history


The Greenville Standard


This is the second in a series of five articles covering Alabama coaches to win a national championship.

The second coach to win a national championship at Alabama was Frank Thomas who was a Notre Dame alumnus and the roommate of George “The Gipper” Gipp.

Coach Thomas played for Coach Knute Rockne from 1920-22. Coach Rockne said Coach Thomas was the smartest football player he ever coached. Coach Thomas first job was at Georgia. He was backfield coach from 1923-24.

From 1925-28 he was Head Coach at Chattanooga. Thomas record was 26-9-2. From 1928-30, Thomas returned as backfield coach at Georgia. He was hired after Coach Wade took the Duke University job.

Coach Thomas coached at Alabama from 1931-46. His first team finished with a 9-1 record. The 1934 Team won the national championship.

Don Hutson and Dixie Howell are in the College Football Hall of Fame as players. Paul Bear Bryant, who started as the other end, is in the College Football of Hall of Fame as a coach. Bill Lee Tackle and Captain was selected All-America along with Hutson and Howell.

Alabama opened the season on Sept. 29 vs Howard and won 24-0. They finished the season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 29 beating Vanderbilt 34-0 at Legion Field. The win clinched a Rose Bowl berth vs Stanford. Alabama won the SEC with a 7-0 and 9-0 overall record.

Alabama (10-0) beat Stanford 29-13. Four selectors recognized by the NCAA picked Alabama National Champions: they were Dunkel, Perryman, Williamson and Poling System.

The 1941 team was picked National Champions by Houlgate. This team finished the season at 9-2 and played Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl winning 29-21.

Under Thomas, Alabama won two national championships. Thomas’ bowl record was 4-2: Rose Bowl (2-1); Cotton(1-0); Orange(1-0). He won four SEC Championships (1933, 1934, 1937 and 1945).

Thomas record at Alabama was 115-24-7. After the 1946 season, Coach Thomas stepped down as Head Coach and took over as Athletic Director.

On May 10, 1954, Coach Thomas passed away in Tuscaloosa.

Next week I will present the third in a series of coaches at Alabama to win national championships.

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