Coach Paul Bryant
Coach Paul Bryant
As a University of Alabama graduate, Rick Rush was eyewitness to the color, excitement and drama that envelopedThe Coach and his 315th Victory. In this remarkable work, Rick has grasped for football fans everywhere the thrilling moment when Paul "Bear" Bryant climaxed a brilliant and storied career.
The game is between the University of Alabama and Auburn University at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The date was Nov. 28, 1981. The record at stake was Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant's breaking of Amoz Alonzo Stagg's record for the winningest college football coach ever. Alabama was behind 17-14 with 12:58 left to play. Coach Pat Dye from Auburn told his team at halftime that they were better than Alabama and there would never be a better chance to prove it. Tight end Jesse Bendross said that Coach Bryant told them, "If you don't think you can get beat, you won't." Bendross, streaking for the post, caught the ball and scored, putting Alabama on top 21-17. Then sophomore Linnie Patrick added another TD to make the final score 28-17 as can be seen on the scoreboard in the background. In the print are the familiar numbers that are synonymous with Alabama football. Many quarterbacks like Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler and Pat Trammell wore number 12. There were many linebackers who wore the number 54, but Lee Roy Jordan, who went on to have a fabulous career with the Dallas Cowboys, had to be the greatest. There were also many linemen who wore number 73, but John Hannah, who Sports Illustrated said was the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game, had to be the best. There is also one helmet with an eight on its side, leaving the viewer the freedom to mentally place a second digit beside it that would identify some of Alabama's many outstanding pass receivers. There is a cap with a white "A" on its front, which is symbolic of all the great assistant coaches that have been under the direction of Bryant. In the middle of all this frenzied action and high drama, dressed as he was that record-breaking day in Birmingham, Ala., is the Coach.