On this day is sports history

BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE

The Greenville Standard

 

This is the fourth in a series of articles where I cover National Championship coaches at Alabama. Today’s coach is Gene Stallings who coached at Alabama from 1990-1996.

Coach Stallings was born on March 2, 1935 in Paris, Texas. Coach Stallings’ daddy was born in Honoraville in Crenshaw County in 1898. Hall of Fame player Raymond Berry’s daddy was Stallings coach in high school.

Coach Stallings signed with Texas A&M in 1953. Coach Bryant took over as head coach in 1954. Coach Stallings played for Coach Bryant from 1954-56. Coach Stallings was one of the Junction Boys, one of the 27 who played in 1954. Texas A&M won The Southwest Conference Championship (SWC) in 1956. He was a graduate assistant in 1957.

Coach Stallings came with Coach Bryant when he returned to Alabama in 1958. Coach Stallings coached on the 1961 and 1964 national championship teams.

After the 1964 season, Coach Stallings was hired as head coach at Texas A&M and was the head coach there from 1965-71. He won the SWC in 1967 and played Alabama in the Cotton Bowl and won 20-16.

From 1972-1985, he was a defensive back coach for the Dallas Cowboys. From 1986-89 he was head coach of the St. Louis/ Arizona Cardinals.

On Jan. 11, 1990, he was hired as head coach at Alabama. In 1990, the Tide’s record was 7-5; in 1991 they went 11-1 and in 1992 they went 13-0 and were National Champions. That spring celebrated the 100th anniversary of Alabama, “Century of Champions”.

Defense was where Alabama was excellent. The ‘bookends’ of Copeland and Curry was the cornerstone of the defense. Outside linebackers were Lemanski Hall and Antonio London. Inside linebackers were Derrick Oden and Michael Rogers. Defensive backs were Antonio Langham, Sam Shade, Tommy Johnson and George Teague.

They led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and held every opponent to less than two touchdowns except Florida. The Gators scored 21 points in the first Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Alabama was ranked #2 and played #1 Miami in the Sugar Bowl. It was the team of the 70’s vs the team of the 80’s. The older team beat the younger team 34-13. George Teague made a play called “The Takeaway” that will always be remembered.

Coach Stallings record was 70-16-1 at Alabama. Next week I will discuss coach number five.

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