Bear Bryant

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Paul William "Bear" Bryant (September 11, 1913January 26, 1983) was an American college football coach who was named National Coach of the Year three-times; in 1961, 1971 and 1973.[1] The national coach of the year award was subsequently named the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award in his honor. Bryant was the Head Coach of Sports Illustrated's NCAA Football All-Century Team.[2] In February 1983, Bryant was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


  • Recruiting is the one thing I hate. I won't do it unless my coaches tell me I've just got to. The whole process is kind of undignified for me and the young man. [3]
  • I don't guess anybody would think much of what Joe did nowadays, including myself. But he was supposed to be a leader, so he had to live by the rules. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and it was to the greatest athlete I ever coached. [4]
    • Speaking about Joe Namath, the star quarterback, being benched for an infraction before the 1963 final regular-season game against Miami and the Sugar Bowl.
  • There's a lot of blood, sweat and guts between dreams and success. [5]

Quotes attributed to Bryant[edit]

  • Cunningham did more for integration in Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King Jr. [6]
    • African-American Sam "Bam" Cunningham led University of Southern California's integrated football team to a lopsided victory against Alabama's segregated team in 1970. Bryant integrated Alabama's team the next year.

Quotes about Bryant[edit]

  • In many ways, American sports embody the best in our national character -- dedication, teamwork, honor and friendship. Paul "Bear" Bryant embodied football. The winner of more games than any other coach in history, Bear Bryant was a true American hero. A hard but beloved taskmaster he pushed ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats. Patriotic to the core, devoted to his players and inspired by a winning spirit that never quit, Bear Bryant gave his country the gift of a legend. In making the impossible seem easy, he lived what we all strive to be. February 23, 1983
    • Ronald Reagan's remarks when awarding 1983 Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Bryant. [7]
  • And he [Bryant] was a smart enough man to know that all kinds of great football players from Alabama, some of whom just happened to be black and were not able to play for him because of the prevailing prejudice, in many cases young men who were on their way to the pros, and he knew as well that he had the law of the nation on his side now if he wanted to play them, and that only local prejudice kept him from recruiting them, and most important of all, he was the one man in all of Alabama who could go ahead and recruit them, and stand up to George Wallace, and bring the culture along with him. And for 13 years, when he could have made a great difference, he did very little and did not really dissent from the biases of the region. [9]
    • Comment by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam about Bryant's participation in racial segregation while coaching University of Alabama's football team.


  1. Barra, Allen (2005). The Last Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant. W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 517. 
  2. Maisel, Ivan (August 16, 1999). "SI's NCAA Football All-Century Team". Sports Illustrated. ISSN 0038-822X. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
  3. Phillips, B.J. (Sep. 29, 1980). "Football's Supercoach". Time: 6. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  4. Phillips, B.J. (Sep. 29, 1980). "Football's Supercoach". Time: 6. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  5. Roberts, Drew (Aug. 7, 2012). Top Fifty Quotes From Bear Bryant. Retrieved on 2015-12-17.
  6. Spanberg, Erik (September 13, 2005). "He was a giant in the world of college football". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  7. 1983 Presidential Medal of Freedom site url accessed on 12-11-2008
  8. Puma, Mike (2007). Bear Bryant 'simply the best there ever was'. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
  9. Halberstam, David (2007). Just a coach, not a leader. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.

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