Paul "Bear" Bryant played football for his high school in Fordyce, Arkansas, and for the University of Alabama. He acquired the nickname "Bear" because as a teenager in Fordyce, he wrestled a circus bear. At Alabama he was an end on the 1933-35 teams. Bryant started his coaching career as an assistant at Union (TN), Alabama, Vanderbilt and North carolina Pre-Flight. He was in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Bryant was head coach at Maryland for one year-1945, Kentucky eight years 1946-53, Texas A&M four years 1954-57, and Alabama 25 years 1958-82. His record at each school: Maryland 6-2-1, Kentucky 60-23-5, Texas A&M 25-14-2, and Alabama 232-46-9. His career total for 38 years: 323-85-17. His 1950 Kentucky team won the school's first conference championship and knocked off Oklahoma 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl, ending Oklahoma's 31-game winning streak. Bryant's 1956 Texas A&M team won the Southwest Conference. Before he became head coach at Alabama, the school had won just four games in three years. Bryant won five games his first year, made a bowl his second year, and was national champion his fourth year. He won six national championships- 1961,1964,1965,1973,1978,1979. His Alabama teams played in a bowl 24 straight years. When Alabama beat Auburn 28-17 on Nov. 28, 1981, it was his 315th win. This topped A.A. Stagg's 314 wins and Bryant was saluted as the all-time winningest coach in college football. On Dec. 29, 1982, Alabama beat Illinois 21-15. He previously had announced this would be his last game as a coach. This gave him 323 victories. Bryant was born in Moro Bottom, Arkansas on Sept. 11, 1913. He died Jan. 26, 1983, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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