Paul William “Bear” Bryant was a college football coach who spent 25 years as the head coach of the University of Alabama football team. He is widely regarded as the most successful coach in the history of collegiate football in the United States, having coached his team to a record 323 victories. He was admired for his moral fortitude and courage as much as he was for his discipline and direction, which made him a strict but well-liked coach. Bryant, dressed in his trademark black and white houndstooth hat and sports jacket, was a frequent sight on the sidelines during warm-ups and games, intently watching the teams. A lifelong football fan, he led his high school team to victory in the Arkansas state football championship during his senior year. Despite his brilliance as a player, he never played professionally and instead chose to become a coach after graduating. He was the head football coach at the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky, and Texas A&M University before joining the University of Alabama for his historic tenure as the most successful coach in the history of American collegiate football.
Childhood & Adolescence
Bryant was the farmer’s son of Wilson Monroe and Ida Kilgore. He had eleven siblings, three of whom died in infancy.
He earned the moniker ‘Bear’ after agreeing to wrestle a captive bear at a carnival when he was thirteen years old.
He attended Fordyce High School, where he began his athletic career as an eighth-grader on the school’s football team.
During his senior season, he helped his team win the 1930 Arkansas state football championship and earned a scholarship to play for the University of Alabama in 1931.
Due to his early departure from Fordyce High School, he enrolled in a Tuscaloosa high school to complete his education.
Despite being a member of his high school’s 1934 National Championship team and being selected in the 1936 NFL Draft by the Brooklyn Dodgers, he never played professionally.
Career of Bear
Following his graduation in 1936, he became a coach at Union University in Jackson. He was offered an assistant coaching position at the University of Alabama under Frank Thomas. He served in this capacity for four years, until 1940.
He enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander before being discharged from the Navy in 1944.
Bryant was named head coach of the Maryland Terrapins in 1945. He led the team to a 6-2-1 record in his first season. He did, however, resign after one season due to a disagreement with the school’s president.
In 1946, he was named football coach at the University of Kentucky. He coached the team for eight seasons, winning the Southern Conference (1950) and the Sugar Bowl (1951). (1950).
In 1954, he accepted the head coaching position at Texas A&M University. Despite a shaky start, he led the team to a 34-21 victory in the Southwest Conference championship game in 1956.
During this time period, Alabama’s football team, his alma mater, was in disarray. As a result, he assumed control of the team in 1958. He transformed the team’s fortunes upon his arrival, leading them to a victory over Auburn the following season.
Alabama won the 1961 Super Bowl and finished 11-0. They won the national championship by defeating Arkansas. In 1963, they won the Sugar Bowl once more. In 1966, the team went undefeated and defeated Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl.
The team’s subsequent years were disappointing. To resurrect his team, he opted for the newly designed wishbone formation over Alabama’s traditional power offense.
Bringing about this change enabled him to turn around Alabama’s fortunes in the latter half of the 1970s. In 1977, his team defeated No. 1 Southern California in Los Angeles, and also defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1978, finishing the season 11-1.
Alabama won the 1979 national championship with a 14-7 victory over Penn State. His team defeated Arkansas 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl and finished the season 12-0. After the 1982 season, he announced his retirement.
Significant Works of Bear
Bryant was Alabama’s head football coach for 25 years, winning six national championships. His career coaching record was 323-85-17. He won 37 of his 38 seasons as a head coach.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1935, he married Mary Harmon and together they had two children. He died of a heart attack just weeks after retiring in 1983.
The Paul W. Bryant Museum was dedicated to him on the University of Alabama’s campus in 1988.
Estimated Net Worth
Paul is one of the wealthiest football coaches in the world and is ranked as the most popular football coach. Paul Bear Bryant’s net worth is estimated to be around $2 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
In 1996, the United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp in his honor.