On this day in Alabama history: NFL great died

On this day in Alabama history: NFL great died
University of Alabama head coach Frank Thomas, center, with quarterback Harry Gilmer, left, and center Vaughn Mancha, the coach's star players at the end of his career with the Crimson Tide in the mid-1940s. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum, University of Alabama)

Aug. 20, 2016

Harry Vincent Gilmer (1926-2016) was a native of Birmingham who played halfback for the University of Alabama before becoming a player and coach in the National Football League. While playing for the Crimson Tide, he was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1945, MVP of the 1946 Rose Bowl and a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1945 and 1947. Gilmer was the first player selected in the 1947 NFL draft, when his $15,000 salary was the highest ever paid. He played backup to future NFL Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh during eight years in Washington, and was backup to future Hall of Famer Bobby Layne at Detroit before retiring in 1956. He was the first Tide player to become an NFL head coach. Gilmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and died in O’Fallon, Missouri, on this day in 2016.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama

Birmingham native Harry Gilmer played football for the University of Alabama, where he gained fame for his unique passing style and athletic abilities. He went on to an NFL playing and coaching career after graduating from college. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Paul W. Bryant Museum)














For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.


Related Stories