September 11, 1913
Legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul William “Bear” Bryant was born Sept. 11, 1913, in Moro Bottom, Arkansas. He was the 11th of 12 children and earned his nickname for agreeing to wrestle a bear during a carnival when he was 13 years old. During his senior year, Bryant and Fordyce High School won the 1930 Arkansas state football championship. Bryant then came to Alabama, where he played from 1933 to 1935. He coached at Maryland, Kentucky and Texas A&M before returning home to lead Alabama to six national championships. He died in 1983 soon after retiring.
Read more at Encyclopedia 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)
Paul Bryant as University of Maryland head coach, 1945. (University of Maryland year book, Wikipedia)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy, center, poses with, from left, University of Alabama (UA) football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, White House Army Signal Agency John J. Cochran, All-American UA quarterback Pat Trammell, UA President Frank Rose, sportscaster Mel Allen, UA sports Hall of Famer Young Boozer Jr., Birmingham News sports writer Benny Marshall, and Alabama businessman Tom Russell at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in December 1961. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)
When he retired, Bryant held the record for most wins as an NCAA Division I head coach. During the 1960s and 1970s, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, under Bryant’s coaching, earned six national championships and had three undefeated seasons. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, The Birmingham News)
Bryant-Denny Stadium during the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers on Oct. 24, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Entrance to the Paul W. Bryant Museum. (Rtr10, Wikipedia)
Exhibition at the Paul W. Bryant Museum. (Amy Meredith, Flickr)
Alabama Legacy Moment: Paul “Bear” Bryant from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.