Paul 'Bear' Bryant

Paul 'Bear' Bryant


9/11/1913, Fordyce, Arkansas



Birth Name

Paul William Bryant


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Legendary college football coach at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama who was the all-time leader in career wins at the time of his retirement after the 1982 season.


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Bryant never defeated legendary Tennessee coach Bob Neyland although he did manage two ties against him.

    • After his heavily favored Alabama team narrowly escaped with a victory on the road against Virginia Tech, Bryant swore he'd never bring another team to Blacksburg, VA, home of the Hokies.

    • Believe it or not, Bryant never played in a game against in-state rival Auburn during his playing days at Alabama. The two schools had severed athletic relations before Bryant's collegiate years and didn't resume playing each other again until 1946.

    • Howard Schnellenberger at Miami, Jackie Sherrill at Pitt and Texas A&M, Pat Dye at Auburn, Danny Ford at Clemson, and Charlie McLendon at LSU were among the successful head coaches who once served as assistants under Bryant.

    • Bryant and Georgia AD Wally Butts were accused of fixing a football game in the early 60's by the Saturday Evening Post. Butts sued the Post for libel and won.

    • In the 1950 Sugar Bowl, Bryant's Kentucky team defeated Oklahoma 13-7 and ended the Sooners' 31 game winning streak.

    • Bryant was posthumously elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

    • Bryant was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year a record ten times.

    • In 1968, Bryant received two votes for the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

    • Bryant died only 28 days after coaching his final football game.

    • In 38 years as a head coach, Bryant only had one losing season: his first at Texas A&M when he finished 1-9.

    • Bryant's parents were sharecroppers.

    • Bryant's favorite place to eat in Tuscaloosa was Big John's Barbecue.

    • From 1971-81 Bryant's teams hung eleven straight losses on arch-rivals Auburn, Tennessee, and LSU.

    • Bryant used to overlook practices of his Alabama teams from a tower on the practice field.

    • Bryant had losing records all-time against three teams: Notre Dame, Texas, and Rice.

    • Bryant reportedly did not get along with legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp when the two men coached together at the University of Kentucky and the fact that Rupp's program overshadowed his was one of the contributing factors in Bryant taking the Texas A&M job.

    • Joe Paterno, who would later pass Bryant in all-time wins, never defeated Bryant in match-ups between their teams.

    • Bryant's lone Southwest Conference championship team at Texas A&M didn't get to play in a bowl game because they were on probation.

    • Bryant was going to take the head coaching job at Arkansas in 1941 but decided to enlist in the Navy when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

    • In 1971, after several sub-par seasons, Bryant installed the wishbone offense at Alabama. This led to another successful run for his teams.

    • Bryant once suspended star QB Joe Namath from the team right before a bowl game for violation of team rules.

    • Bryant's first loss as a collegiate coach came against Virginia Tech by a score of 21-13 in 1945.

    • On October 19, 1935, Bryant played with a broken leg and helped lead Alabama to a 25-0 victory over the hated Tennessee Vols on their rival's homefield.

    • In 1935, Bryant married Mary Harmon Black in Ozark, AL.

    • Bryant and his wife, Mary Harmon, had a son named Paul, Jr. and a daughter named Mae.

    • Bryant was portrayed by Tom Berenger in the 2003 TV movie The Junction Boys.

    • In the early 1950's, Bryant wanted to integrate his Kentucky football teams but was vetoed by his university president.

    • Bryant was portrayed by Sonny Shroyer in the 1994 film Forrest Gump.

    • Bryant was portrayed by Gary Busey in the 1984 biopic The Bear.

    • There is a stadium, a high school, and a major street in Tuscaloosa named after Bryant.

    • Bryant is buried in Elmwood Cemetary in Birmingham, AL.

    • Bryant used to hand out victory cigars every time his Alabama teams defeated the hated Tennessee Vols.

    • Bryant's trademark was his hound's tooth hat.

    • When Bryant retired at Alabama, he was succeeded as head coach by Ray Perkins.

    • Bryant's last game was a 21-15 win over Illinois in the 1982 Liberty Bowl.

    • The first Afro-American player to suit up for one of Bryant's Alabama team was John Mitchell in 1971.

    • Bryant's all-time coaching record at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama was 323 wins, 85 losses, and 17 ties.

    • Bryant's Alabama football teams played in 24 consecutive bowl games.

    • Bryant's record at Alabama was 232 wins, 46 losses, and 9 ties.

    • Bryant won six national titles at Alabama (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979).

    • The only player of Bryant's who ever won a Heisman Trophy was Texas A&M RB John David Crow.

    • In 1957, Bryant's Texas A&M team was 8-0 and ranked #1 in the nation when word leaked out that Bryant had agreed to become head coach at Alabama. The team proceeded to lose its final two regular season games plus its bowl game to finish 8-3.

    • In 1956, Bryant led Texas A&M to the Southwest Conference title.

    • Bryant finished 1-9 in his first season at Texas A&M with only 35 players on his roster.

    • In 1954, Bryant left Kentucky and went to coach at Texas A&M.

    • Bryant led Kentucky to their first bowl win in 1947 and their first SEC title in 1950.

    • Bryant's first collegiate coaching win came against Guilford College by a score of 61-6 in 1945.

    • Bryant was head coach at Maryland in 1945 but left after one season to become the head coach at Kentucky.

    • After serving in the North African theatre during World War II and attaining the rank of Lt. Commander, Bryant was discharged from the Navy to train recruits and coach the North Carolina Pre-Flight football team.

    • Bryant was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

    • Alabama's record during Bryant's collegiate playing days was 23 wins, 3 losses, and 2 ties.

    • Bryant graduated from the University of Alabama in 1936.

    • Bryant led Fordyce HS to the Arkansas State Championship in football in 1930.

    • In 1927, Bryant wrestled a bear for a carnival promotion and was given his nickname.

    • Bryant was the 11th of 12 children born to William Monroe and Ida Kilgore Bryant.

  • Quotes