Remembering Bear Bryant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 27, 2008

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Paul “Bear” Bryant would stride up and down the sidelines at the stadium that now bears his name.

At the same time, it seems like eons since we have heard his gravely voice talk about this prospect or that prospect.

A quarter-century has passed since the legendary coach died.

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Many historians say that Bear Bryant was much more than a coaching genius. His six national championships during 25 years at the University of Alabama are the stuff of legends. His record 328 games staggered statisticians of the day.

But Bryant was much more.

In a time, a restless time, when Alabama’s unrepentant racists bandied about shouting segregationist slogans, and officers sworn to uphold the law seemed more like thugs with big sticks &8212; at this particular time, Bryant stood head and shoulders above the negative. He brought pride to Alabama, where seemingly there was none.

Jonathan Bass, a professor at Samford University is correct in saying, “I’d make the case that Bear Bryant is the most significant cultural icon in Alabama history.”