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Paul (Bear) Bryant

Born: Sept. 11 1913
Died: Jan. 26 1983
Head Coach
University of Maryland 1945
University of Kentucky 1946-53
Texas A&M University 1954-57
University of Alabama 1958-82


Coach Bryant was born Paul William Bryant in Kingsland, Arkansas. He earned the nickname "Bear" by wrestling a bear in a theater. Bear was an all-state high school football player in high school and later played college football for the University of Alabama. His first coaching job was as an assistant coach there after graduating in 1935. His first job as a head coach was at Maryland where he acquired a reputation as a demanding coach and strict disciplinarian. In 1946 at Kentucky, Bryant coached the team to four bowl games and won their only Southeastern Conference title. In 1956 at Texas A&M,, he won the Southwest Conference championship in 1956. When Coach Bryant returned to the University of Alabama in 1958, he revitalized the Crimson Tide football program into the nation's top-ranked college football team. His 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, and 1979 teams all won National Championships. In 1981, he broke Amos Alonzo Stagg's record of 314 coaching victories and finished coaching with 323 career wins. Under Bryant, Alabama had 25 winning seasons and was selected for bowl games 24 times. He retired from the University of Alabama in 1982 and died less than a year later.
Famous Bear Quotes:

"How many people watch you give a final exam? [About fifty is the reply.]
Well, I have 50,000 watch me give mine - every Saturday!"
To English Professor Tommy Mayo (at Texas A&M) when questioned about his emphasis on winning and his salary.

"Stephenson was a man among children - he didn't say very much, but he didn't have to."
About Dwight Stevenson, the center on the Championship 1979 squad. Bryant also called Stevenson "the best center I've ever coached."

"Sure I'd like to beat Notre Dame, don't get me wrong. But nothing matters
more than beating that cow college on the other side of the state."
To a group of boosters before an Auburn game. This comment was widely reported, and AU upset the Tide a few days later.

"I left Texas A&M because my school called me. Mama called,
and when Mama calls, then you just have to come running."
On why he had to leave A&M with six years left on his contract.

You couldn't play four years and be good enough to cost the University of Alabama thirty yards!"
An irate Coach Bryant to a player who had just received his second fifteen yard penalty of the game.

"he can't run, he can't pass, and he can't kick - all he can do is beat you."
Speaking of Tide QB Pat Trammel.

"All I know is, I don't want to stop coaching, and I don't want to stop winning,
so we're gonna break the record unless I die."
Bryant, when asked if he would break Alonzo Staggs record of 314 college wins.

"I know one thing, I'd rather die now than to have died this morning and missed this game."
Coach Bryant after Bama's win over unbeaten Auburn in '71.

"Hell, no! A tie is like kissing your sister!"
After being asked if he had considered going for a field goal when trailing by three points.

What the hell's the matter with you people down there? Don't y'all take your football seriously?"
Coach Bryant, upon calling Auburn at 6 AM only to find out that
none of the coaches were in their offices yet.

"Here's a twenty, bury two."
Coach Bryant, after being asked to chip in ten dollars
to help cover the cost of a sportswriters funeral.

"This is the saddest day of my life."
Coach Bryant, Upon hearing of Pat Trammell's death.

"I'm just a simple plowhand from Arkansas, but I have learned over the years
how to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm others down,
until finally they've got one heartbeat, together, a team."
Bryant, when asked why he was so successful as a coach.

Bear Bryant's Three Rules for Coaching:
1."Surround yourself with people who can't live without football."
2."Recognize winners. They come in all forms."
3."Have a plan for everything."