History Quick Links
"Crimson Tide" Name By The Numbers National Championships SEC Championships
Signature Moment Coaches Bryant-Denny Stadium Big Al
Bear Bryant National Rankings Iron Bowl The Heisman




  Tradition

The University of Alabama was founded in Tuscaloosa in 1831, but it wasn't until 1892 that the football team took the field for the first time. There has probably been no program that has meant as much to the identity of its home state as Alabama. Alabama can claim at least a share of 14 National Championships and make a good argument that it was unfairly denied a few others. The Tide have also claimed 22 SEC Championships. Alabama has had 31 ten win seasons, played in 59 bowl games and won 33 of them, which are all NCAA records. Alabama has had 103 players honored 120 times as first team All-Americans (47 consensus) in its history, including 12 players honored twice and two players (Cornelius Bennett and Woodrow Lowe) who were honored three times. Following the end of the 2009 regular season, an NCAA-record 6 Alabama players were honored as first team All-Americans (Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody, Mark Ingram, Rolando McClain, Mike Johnson and Leigh Tiffin) and they honored their first Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram.



  Tradition

Alabama had a good team right from the beginning of their history. Over the first 30 years they went 116-53-16, but still lacked respect from the college football world. Going into the 1922 season the University of Penn was one of the powerhouses in college football with a 336-101-19 record dating back to 1885. That season Penn had Alabama on the schedule and they weren't giving Alabama any respect, the game against the Tide was considered to be "a breather". The Tide won 9-7 and was the first time Alabama had gone up north and won a game. It may not have been their most dominating game or their most exciting game, but it was the game that gave validation to the Alabama football program.



  Tradition

Alabama had many good seasons over the next 33 years but were unable to capture a National Championships. But when J.B. Whitworth coached the Tide to a 4-24-2 record from 1955 to 1957 Alabama decided it was time for a change. That's when they hired Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. The one person who is synonymous with Alabama Football is Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Bryant arrived in Tuscaloosa as head coach in 1958 and you could see an almost immediate change. Each of his first four years Alabama's record increased culminating with a 11-0 record in 1961 that included a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas and Coach Bryant's first National Championship. The defense in 1961 gave up just 25 points the entire season, compiling six shutouts, five of them in consecutive games. Alabama followed up with a 10-1 record in 1962, a 9-2 record in 1963 and then back to back National Championships in '64 and '65. In 1966 Alabama went undefeated again but were only reward the number 3 spot, even though number 1 and 2 two had both tied a game that year. Bryant would coach Alabama for 25 seasons, winning six National Titles and compiling a record of 232-46-9.



  Tradition

There is a long list of players that could be considered as Alabama's best: Joe Namath, Johnny Mack Brown, Lee Roy Jordan, Ozzie Newsome, John Hannah, Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas and Shaun Alexander. But if forced to choose most people would say wide receiver Don Hutson, not just for his accomplishments at Alabama but also his contribution to the NFL afterwards. In the 1930s when Hutson played, very few football teams, college or pro, passed the ball. Most teams only ran the ball then chose to pass only if they were desperate or wanted to surprise their opponent. One columnist once wrote "Hutson was football's Copernicus, proving that the universe did not revolve around the run." By the time Hutson retired in the 40's the passing was an integral part of football offenses. After his days at Alabama Hutson played just nine seasons in the NFL but he led the NFL in touchdowns in eight of those nine seasons (nobody else has led the league more than three times). He also led the league in catches a record 8 times. Hutson holds the record for consecutive years leading the NFL in touchdowns catches with five straight seasons, and then he had another string of four consecutive years which still stands as the second longest streak. When Hutson retired with 488 receptions and 7,991 yards the next best receiver only had 190 catches and 3,309 yards.



  Tradition

Alabama's biggest rival is easily the Auburn Tigers and it is perhaps the number one rivalry in all of sports. When the two teams first started playing each other the rivalry got so heated and ugly that arguments and fights arose. Their hate escalated to such a high level that they decided they couldn't play each other anymore. After 41 years of refusing to play each other the two sides finally agreed to face off once again, but only if they played at a neutral site in Birmingham. Alabama's legendary coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant, added fuel to the rivalry by referring to Auburn as "that cow college on the other side of the state." The two school's hate for each other is shared by the very passionate fans. Just about every single living soul in the state of Alabama is either an Alabama or Auburn fan. Alabama and Auburn is such a big rivalry that friends stop talking to each other because of their loyalties to their teams. There have even been some cases where coupled have divorced because of an Alabama-Auburn game.



  Tradition

It's hard to pick Alabama's best game because of all the history the school has. The game against Penn mentioned before is certainly the most important game because it put the Crimson Tide on the map. Alabama's biggest upset came in the 1966 Orange Bowl. After the regular season Alabama was ranked number four with an 8-1-1 record. The first through third place teams were undefeated so it looked like Alabama had no shot at the National Championship. The Orange Bowl was the last bowl game scheduled and in two previous games the number two and number three teams were upset. This meant there was just one team ahead of Alabama in the rankings, Nebraska, the team they faced that night. They could now win a share of the National Championship if they could beat Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were overwhelming favorites because of their size, their lineman outweighed Alabama's linemen by twenty pounds each. However, Alabama shocked everyone with a few trick plays including running the ball with a Tackle and an onside kick while up 24-7. Nebraska never knew what hit them and Alabama went on to win 39-28 and won the National Championship.



  Denny Chimes

The Walk Of Fame at Denny Chimes has been an Alabama tradition since the spring of 1948. Some consider the ceremony at Denny Chimes one of the most important Alabama tradition. Winning, of course, being the most important. The University of Alabama is the only school that honors its players in such a way. From the spring of 1948 to the spring of 2005, 147 names have been captured in cement on the Walk of Fame. Those 145 names represent 143 men who have made the Crimson Tide what it is today The two members of the class of 2005 will bring the total to 145 people whose name, achievements, as well as their hand and footprint, will live on forever in the memories of Crimson Tide fans.



  Denny Chimes

Under coach Nick Saban, who achieved great success as head coach of Tide rival LSU and arrived to great fanfare in 2007, the Alabama program once again seems headed in the right direction. In his first season, Saban guided the Tide to a 7-6 record and an Independence Bowl win over Colorado. Maybe more importantly, Saban in February pulled in what many experts consider the best recruiting class in the country and in 2009 led the Tide to a perfect 14-0 season! The Tide followed that up with a 10-3 record in 2010 and a 12-1 record in 2011 while beating #1 LSU in the BCS Championship Game. The #2 Tide followed that up in 2012 with a 13-1 record while collecting another SEC Championship along with a 42-14 victory over #1 Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game on Jan.7, 2013.

The University of Alabama is the South's most successful program. With 15 national championships, the Crimson Tide boast a legacy of success that puts the program on par with college football's elite.







How the Crimson Tide Got its Name
In early newspaper accounts of Alabama football, the team was simply listed as the "varsity" or the "Crimson White" after the school colors.

The first nickname to become popular and used by headline writers was the "Thin Red Line." The nickname was used until 1906.

The name "Crimson Tide" is supposed to have first been used by Hugh Roberts, former sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald. He used "Crimson Tide" in describing an Alabama-Auburn game played in Birmingham in 1907, the last football contest between the two schools until 1948 when the series was resumed. The game was played in a sea of mud and Auburn was a heavy favorite to win.

But, evidently, the "Thin Red Line" played a great game in the red mud and held Auburn to a 6-6 tie, thus gaining the name "Crimson Tide." Zipp Newman, former sports editor of the Birmingham News, probably popularized the name more than any other writer.




By The Numbers:
The Tide's 15 national championships came in 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009 and back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. Along with those titles, the Tide have won 23 SEC championships and appeared in 60 bowl games (including championship games), winning 35 of them, for an overall bowl record of 35-22-3 through the 2012 season.

Alabama ranks No. 6 in all-time college football wins, with 826 (officially) through the end of the 2012 season. Ninety-eight Alabama players have earned All-American honors. Maybe most importantly, the Tide has a record of 42-34-1 against their in-state rival, the Auburn Tigers.

Other NCAA records include 23 10-game win streaks, and 16 seasons with a 10-0 start. The Tide have 32 10–win seasons, and has 35 bowl victories, both NCAA records.




Signature Moment:
Bryant's last national championship team may have been his best. Certainly, that 1979 team's championship win -- over No. 1 Penn State, led by their own coaching legend, Joe Paterno -- delivered Alabama football's most dramatic moment.

A bruising defensive struggle eventually was settled late in the fourth quarter, when Penn State, driving for a game-tying touchdown, lined up on fourth down just inches from the Alabama goal line. Paterno called for a straight-up dive play, counting on his massive offensive line to get him a win. But tailback Mike Guman was stuffed by Alabama All-American linebacker Barry Krause. Alabama took over, held off Penn State through the game's final minutes, and won their 11th national title.




Alabama Football Coaches
# Name Season(s) Games Coached Wins Losses Ties Championships
1 E.B. Beaumont Jr. 1892 4 2 2 0 0
2 Eli Abbott 1892-1895, 1902 20 7 13 0 0
3 Otto Wagonhurst 1896 3 2 1 0 0
4 Allen McCants 1897 1 1 0 0 0
5 W.A. Martin 1899 4 3 1 0 0
6 Malcolm Griffin 1900 5 2 3 0 0
7 Michael Harvey 1901 5 2 1 2 0
8 William Blount Jr. 1903-1904 17 10 7 0 0
9 Jack Leavenworth 1905 10 6 4 0 0
10 John "Doc" Pollard 1906-1909 30 21 5 4 0
11 Guy Lowman 1910 8 4 4 0 0
12 Dorsett "Tubby" Graves 1911-1914 36 21 12 3 0
13 Thomas Kelly 1915-1917 25 17 7 1 0
14 Xen Scott 1919-1922 41 29 9 3 0
15 Wallace Wade 1923-1930 78 61 13 4 3
16 Frank Thomas 1931-1946 146 115 24 7 2
17 Harold Drew 1947-1954 89 54 28 7 0
18 Jennings Whitworth 1955-1957 30 4 24 2 0
19 Paul "Bear" Bryant 1958-1982 287 232 46 9 6
20 Ray Perkins 1983-1986 48 32 15 1 0
21 Bill Curry 1987-1989 36 26 10 0 0
22 Gene Stallings 1990-1996 87 62 25 0 1
23 Mike DuBose 1997-2000 47 24 23 0 0
24 Dennis Franchione 2001-2002 25 17 8 0 0
25 Mike Price 2003 0 0 0 0 0
26 Mike Shula 2003-2006 49 10 23 0 0
Int. Joe Kines 2006 1 0 1 0 0
27 Nick Saban 2007-present 106 85 16 0 3


SEC Coach Of The Year
Frank Thomas 1945
Harold Drew 1952
Bear Bryant 1961, 1964, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981
Bill Curry 1989
Gene Stallings 1992
Mike DuBose 1999
AP SEC Coach Of The Year
Bear Bryant 1961, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981
Bill Curry 1989
Gene Stallings 1992
Mike DuBose 1999
UPI SEC Coach Of The Year
Bear Bryant 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1981
Bill Curry 1987, 1989
AFCA Coach Of The Year
Bear Bryant 1961, 1971, 1973
Gene Stallings 1992
Bobby Dodd Coach Of The Year
Bill Curry 1989
FWAA Coach Of The Year
Gene Stallings 1992
George Munger Award
Gene Stallings 1992
Walter Camp Coach Of The Year
Gene Stallings 1992



AFCA - The AFCA Coach of the Year award is given annually to the top college football coach by the American Football Coaches Association.

FWAA - The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award is given annually to a college football coach by the Football Writers Association of America. The award honors Eddie Robinson, former coach at Grambling State who holds the record for most Division I wins with 408.

George Mungar Award - The George Munger Award was presented to the NCAA Division I college football coach of the year by the Maxwell Football Club from 1989 to 2009. The award was named after former University of Pennsylvania head coach George Munger. People who voted for the winners of the award included NCAA head coaches, members of the Maxwell Club, and sportswriters from all over the country.

Walter Camp Award - The Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award is given annually to the collegiate American football head coach adjudged by a group of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors under the auspices of the Walter Camp Football Foundation as the Coach of the Year; the award is named for Walter Camp, a progenitor of the sport. It also honors a Walter Camp Man of the Year for service.

Bobby Dodd Award - The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award is an annual college football award given to the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision head coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. The award is named for Bobby Dodd, longtime head football coach at Georgia Tech and was established in 1976 to honor the values that Dodd exemplified. Award recipients are chosen by a selection committee composed of college football experts and all previous recipients.

Of the 28 different head coaches who have led the Crimson Tide, (27 Head Coaches and 1 Interim Head Coach, Mike Price), Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Bear Bryant, and Gene Stallings have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.





Back