Archived Story

A look back at Bear Bryant

Published 12:16pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today – Sept. 11, 2013—marks the centennial of the birth of famed Bama football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Sept. 11, 1913—A son, who his parents have named Paul William, was born today to Wilson Monroe and Ida Kilgore Bryant in Fordyce, Ark. He was the 11th of 12 babies to whom Mrs. Bryant gave birth. (Thirteen years later, instead of Paul, his friends started calling him “Bear” because of his wrestling match with a captive bear while a traveling amusement company was in his vicinity.)

Nov. 6, 1946—Paul Bryant, assistant football coach at the University of Alabama, was in town tonight for the Hartselle-Tuscumbia contest. He was looking for prospective members of the Crimson Tide squad.

Nov. 21, 1956—Local Crimson Tide fans were keenly disappointed today when Paul “Bear” Bryant removed himself as a possibility for head football coach at the University of Alabama, instead recommending Jim Tatum of North Carolina. Alabama is seeking a successor to Coach J. B. Whitworth whose three-year contract expires on the first of next month.

Dec. 2, 1957—Paul “Bear” Bryant signed a 10-year contract as football coach and athletic director at the University of Alabama today. His salary will be $17,500 yearly. Dr. Frank Rose, UA president-elect, said he believed the school had selected “the best football coach in the country.”

Dec. 9, 1957—Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant scheduled his first look today at the Alabama football team he has been hired to transform into a winner. Bryant said he expect to build a team “the equal of others in the Southeastern conference.”

Dec. 27, 1957—Bama fans will get a sneak TV preview of their new coach, Bear Bryant, in action tomorrow. His old team, the Texas A & M Aggies, will be playing the Tennessee Vols in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl. (Bama plays A & M in three days.)

Jan. 10, 1958—Local Tide football fans were interested to learn today that Coach Bear Bryant had added former Texas Aggie Eugene Stallings as an assistant coach with duties to be determined later. The new coach is 24. There are academic problems. Bryant said that, “Half of the squad is in trouble scholastically. I’m alarmed about it.”

Sept. 1, 1958—Crimson Tide fall football practice began today in Tuscaloosa under the direction of the new head Coach Bear Bryant.

Sept. 25, 1958—Multi-talented Hartselle musician and athlete Bob Cain is a member of the Crimson Tide cheerleading squad as Bama prepares to take the field against 15th-ranked LSU Saturday night in Mobile in Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s inaugural season as the Tide’s football mentor.

Feb. 1, 1962—Lawrence County High football coach Jim Blevins has been hired to fill a vacant position on Coach Bear Bryant’s staff at Bama. Coach Blevins will take the place of Charley Bradshaw who is the new head coach at Kentucky. Coach Blevins will work with linebackers.

Feb. 5, 1962—Bama and Ole Miss will begin a six-year football series beginning in 1965, Coach Bear Bryant announced today. The Tide was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the end of last season while Mississippi was No. 5.

March 16, 1972—Alabama head Coach Bear Bryant will speak at tomorrow night’s football banquet.

April 21, 1979–Randy Sittason of Vanderbilt and Roger Chapman of the University of Alabama were honored at a banquet hosted by the Hartselle Athletic Boosters tonight. Featured speakers were Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of the Crimson Tide and Fred Pancoast, formerly the Vanderbilt Commodores’ coach.

Jan. 26, 1983—Coach Bear Bryant died at Tuscaloosa’s Druid City Hospital today following a massive heart attack. (At Super Bowl XVII on the following Sunday a moment of silence was observed in his memory.)

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