BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
This is the third in a series of articles on National Championship Coaches at Alabama.
Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was born on Sept. 11, 1913 in Moro Bottom, Ar. Coach Bryant played at Fordyce High School from 1928-30. They won two state championships. Coach Hank Crisp signed Coach Bryant.
In the fall of 1931, Coach Bryant had to take a course at Tuscaloosa High School to meet his high school requirements. Coach Bryant played at Alabama from 1933-1935. He called himself the other end opposite of Hall of Fame End Don Hutson.
In 1933, Alabama finished at 7-1-1 and won the SEC Championship. It was the first season for the SEC. In 1934, Alabama finished at 10-0 and won the SEC, Rose Bowl and National Championship.
In 1935, their record was 6-2-1. This was the year Coach Bryant played with a broken leg. In 1936, it was the first year Bryant started his coaching career at Alabama. The position he coached was the guards. Coach Bryant coached at Alabama from 1936-39.
In 1940-41, he coached at Vanderbilt. On Dec. 7, 1941 Coach Bryant was heading to Little Rock Arkansas to sign a contract to be the head coach at Arkansas. What happened was Pearl Harbor, the war years. Coach Bryant served in the Navy and coached football at North Carolina Pre-Flight.
In 1945, he coached Maryland to a 6-2-1 record. From 1946-53, he was head coach at Kentucky and won the SEC in 1950. From 1954-57, he was head coach at Texas A&M and won the SWC in 1956. From 1958-82, he was head coach at Alabama and won National Championships in1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979. He also won 13 SEC Championships. Coach Bryant’s career record was 323-85-17.
The Tide had several near misses or could have been National Championships through Bryant’s years as head coach. They were ranked #1 in 1962 and suffered a loss to Georgia Tech. They were pre-Season # 1 in 1966 and finished 11-0 but were ranked #3. The top two teams tied each other.
In 1974, they were ranked # 1 by UPI but lost to Notre Dame in Orange Bowl. In 1977, they were leaped frogged by # 5 Notre Dame, Alabama was #3. Number #1 Texas lost to Notre Dame. #2 Oklahoma lost to Arkansas.
Coach Bryant could have won five national championship in the 1960’s and five more in the 1970’s for a total of ten. Coach Bryant won six national championships.
Next week I will discuss the fourth Alabama coach to win national championships.