The tie between Alabama and SEC newcomer Texas A&M is obvious to anyone who’s studied the history of college football — Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Alabama graduate served as A&M’s head coach from 1954 to 1957 before heading home to Tuscaloosa in 1958. ESPN highlighted Bryant’s beginning at A&M with its movie “The Junction Boys,” which featured his first training camp with the Aggies in Junction, Texas.
While Bryant stands out as the obvious link between the two schools, there are other ones like Gene Stallings and Jackie Sherrill who each had a significant impact in the SEC as well as at A&M. Stallings played for Bryant at A&M in the mid-1950s and won Alabama’s first national championship in 1992 since Bryant’s retirement and passing ten years earlier. Sherrill is an Alabama graduate who also coached under Bryant and won three SWC championships as A&M’s head coach in the mid-1980s.
Even Dennis Franchione represents a tie as he coached the Tide from 2001 to 2002 and left for the same position at A&M in 2003.
Paul Bryant Jr. hosted a reception last night at the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa honoring 30 former Aggies players who played for his father in the mid-1950s.
They’ve only met four times on the field, but ‘Bama’s and A&M’s histories run deep.