To get to the football offices at Alabama, a trip down Paul W. Bryant Drive is needed — with good reason. Considered by most to be the greatest college football coach of all time, the man they called "Bear" roamed the Alabama sidelines for 25 seasons, most while wearing his trademark houndstooth hat.
Bryant guided the Crimson Tide to six national championships, and at the time of his retirement in 1982, he held the record for most career wins with 323. His head coaching career began in 1945 at Maryland, and after stints at Kentucky and Texas A&M, the Fordyce, Ark., native took over at Alabama in 1958. National championships followed in 1961, '64, '65, '73, '78 and '79.
A former Crimson Tide player, Bryant was a member of the 1934 national championship team, and after graduating in 1936, he began his coaching career as an assistant at Union University in Tennessee.
In all, Bryant took 29 teams to bowl games and finished his career with a 323-85-17 record. He died Jan. 26, 1983, at 69 — only 28 days after coaching his last game.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun