January 28, 1983
More than 100,000 fans lined the streets between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham for the funeral of Paul “Bear” Bryant, who died two days earlier at the age of 69. Considered the greatest college football coach of all time, Bryant ended his career only a month earlier after the University of Alabama defeated the University of Illinois 21-15 in the Liberty Bowl. He coached the Crimson Tide for 25 years, amassing a record of 232-46-9 while leading the school to 24 straight bowl games, 13 SEC championships and six national championships. Bryant was named national coach of the year three times and SEC coach of the year 10 times. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
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Paul “Bear” Bryant, front left, was born in rural Arkansas in 1913, the 11th of 12 siblings. As a youth, he worked on the family farm and played sports at Fordyce High School. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum, University of Alabama)
Paul Bryant, left, and Don Hutson were members of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team in 1934. Hutson went on to play professionally for the Green Bay Packers, and Bryant amassed a stellar college coaching career, including six national championships at his alma mater. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum, University of Alabama)
Paul “Bear” Bryant enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the early 1940s during World War II and was stationed in North Africa for a time between football-coaching stints at pre-flight schools. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum, University of Alabama)
A 32-year old Bear Bryant while head football coach at the University of Maryland, 1945. (From The Terrapin, the University of Maryland yearbook, University of Maryland, Wikipedia)
Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, named for former University of Alabama president George Denny and legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, is the home of the UA Crimson Tide football team. It was constructed in 1929 as Denny Stadium, and in 1975 the state legislature renamed it to honor Bryant. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum, University of Alabama)