This Head Coach was brought to Tuscaloosa to restore glory to the once proud Crimson Tide program. He took over a team left in disarray after the previous coach was fired (a coach who had also been an Alabama player). After restoring two other programs, one an SEC school, the pressure was intense on the coach to effect a decisive turnaround in Tuscaloosa.
As a former defensive player in college, this coach brought innovations in defense to the Alabama football program. He quickly established player discipline and tough practices. Under his new policies, however, the team finished its first season an abysmal one game over a break-even record. His second season as coach, Bama beat Auburn for the first time in six years but went on to lose its bowl game. An undefeated season and national championship were right around the corner.
This coach knew how to develop quarterbacks. His championship winning quarterback had initially decided on a Tech school, but changed his mind and made a life-altering decision to attend Alabama. He led the Crimson Tide to a unanimous (all three polls) National Championship, the first for Bama in a little over a decade and a half. He was considered the smartest quarterback at the time, graduated magna cum laude and in the top of his class. He was chosen as a permanent team Captain, and had his hand prints and cleat-prints stamped into the Walk of Fame at Denny Chimes.
The season following the National Championship the coach defeated a top-10 opponent in a bowl game, but didn’t repeat as national champions. Alabama rode a dominant defense into the New Year’s Day game and frustrated its opponent on the field. The Tide scored on the first offensive drive and overwhelmed the other team the entire game.
This coach was well-known and praised in the national media for his accomplishments on the football field, but was targeted by rule changes to limit his ability to sign players to the Alabama roster and was accused of unethical behavior (by disgruntled competitors).
He was very intent on winning games and many times talked about playing a full game, not giving up at halftime and winning the second half. He was so focused on football, he said thirty minutes after the last game he started thinking about the next game.
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