Paul William "Bear" Bryant was a collegiate football coach who served as the head coach of the University of Alabama football team for 25 years, a position he handled with distinction. He is credited with leading his team to a record 323 wins, making him the most successful coach in the history of collegiate football in the United States. He was admired for his moral courage and strength, as well as his discipline and direction, which made him a rigorous but well-liked coach. During warm-ups and games, Bryant, clad in his customary black and white houndstooth hat and sports jacket, was a common presence on the sidelines, avidly monitoring the teams. He was an avid football player since boyhood, and during his senior year of high school, he led his team to victory in the Arkansas state football championship. Despite his talent, he never played professionally and instead chose to become a coach after college. Before coming to the University of Alabama, he was the head football coach at the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky, and Texas A&M University before becoming the most successful coach in American collegiate football history.

Childhood and adolescence

Bryant was the son of a farmer, Wilson Monroe, and Ida Kilgore. He had 11 siblings, three of whom died as children.

When he was 13, he consented to wrestle a captive bear at a carnival, earning the nickname "Bear."

He went to Fordyce High School, where he began playing football as an eighth-grader.

In 1930, he helped his team win the Arkansas state football championship. In 1931, he was given the scholarship to play for the University of Alabama.

He enrolled at a Tuscaloosa high school to finish his education after leaving Fordyce High School before graduating.

Because he was on his high school's 1934 National Championship team and was chosen by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1936 NFL Draft, he didn't play for a team in the league.


After graduating from Union University in Jackson in 1936, he became a coach there.

At the University of Alabama, he was offered the role of an assistant coach under Frank Thomas. He held this position for four years, from 1940 to 1940.

He enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII. In 1944, he was released from the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Bryant took over as head coach of the Maryland Terrapins in 1945. In his debut season, he led the team to a 6-2-1 record. He did, however, leave after only one season due to a disagreement with the school's president.

In 1946, he was named head football coach at the University of Kentucky. He coached the squad for eight seasons, winning the Southern Conference in 1950 and the Sugar Bowl in 1951. (1950).

In 1954, he was offered the post of head coach at Texas A & M University. Despite a shaky start, he guided the squad to a 34-21 victory in the Southwest Conference title game in 1956.

During this time, his alma mater, Alabama, was having a very bad season. As a result, in 1958, he took over the team. When he arrived, he immediately improved the team's fortunes and led them to a victory over Auburn the following year.

Alabama won the Super Bowl in 1961 with an 11-0 record. They outlasted Arkansas to win the national championship. In 1963, they won the Sugar Bowl for the second time.

In 1966, the team went undefeated and won the Sugar Bowl, 34-7, over Nebraska.

Over the next three years, the team's performance was poor. In an attempt to resurrect his team, he switched from Alabama's classic power attack to the newly devised wishbone shape.

By bringing about this shift, he was able to help Alabama have a successful second half of the 1970s. In 1977, his squad beat No. 1 Southern California in Los Angeles and again beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1978, finishing the season 11-1.

In 1979, Alabama won the national title by defeating Penn State 14-7. His squad finished the season with a 12-0 record after defeating Arkansas 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl.

After the 1982 season, he declared his retirement.

Major Projects

Alabama's head football coach for 25 years, during which time he led the team to six national championships. His overall coaching record was 323-85-17. In his 38 seasons as a head coach, he had 37 winning seasons.

Achievements and Awards:

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan posthumously gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1935, he married Mary Harmon, and they had two children together.

In 1983, only weeks after retiring, he died of a heart attack.

In 1988, the Paul W. Bryant Museum was established on the University of Alabama's campus in his honor.