Paul W. Bryant was, unquestionably, the greatest coach in the history of college football. It is with great pride we announce he is the inaugural coach to be inducted into the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame.
Upon his retirement in 1982, Bryant was the winningest coach in college football having earned 323 victories in the course of his 38-year career for an overall .780 win percentage. Bryant's teams won six national championships, fifteen conference championships and played in a total of 29 post season bowl games.
Bryant was named the National Coach of the Year three times and the SEC Coach of the Year 12 times. The former is now named in his honor.
Bryant is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in February 1983.
A native of Arkansas, Bryant was an end at the University of Alabama earning letters in 1933, 1934 and 1935. During his time on the team the Crimson Tide earned a 23-3-2 record and was named the 1934 National Champion after defeating Stanford in the 1935 Rose Bowl.
He went on to be an assistant at Union College, Alabama, Vanderbilt as well as with the North Carolina Pre-Flight school team during World War II. After the war Bryant began his career as a head coach earning a 6-2-1 record at Maryland, a 60-23-5 record at Kentucky and a 25-14-2 record at Texas A&M before returning to Tuscaloosa in 1958.
In 25 seasons at Alabama, Bryant's teams won 232 games, lost 46 and tied nine for an .824 winning percentage. Under his watch, Alabama earned a total of 13 double-digit win seasons including three undefeated and untied campaigns. He took the Tide to 24 straight bowl games. Bryant's name was added to the University of Alabama's football stadium in 1975 by degree of the Alabama state legislature.
Bryant died of heart failure on Jan. 26, 1983 -- less than a month after coaching his final game. As many as a million mourners lined the 53-mile stretch of Interstate 59 to see the mile-long funeral procession make the journey from Tuscaloosa to Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham where he is buried.