How "Bear" Bryant Got His Nickname

The Bear


This site is dedicated to the memory of Paul Bear Bryant,
his contribution to the game and his actions which inspired
the long-running "Alabama-Bear Bryant" Joke Contest.

Thanks, Bear, for the Memory.

The following article contributed
Guest Editor
Carol Timberlake

Man went into a doctor's office.
Said "Doc, I'm having a hard time thinking." Doc examined him and told him, "Pretty basically, you're brain dead," to which the man replied, that, yes, that would cause difficulty thinking, then asked the Doc what to do about it. Doc took him to the brain room to show him what was available for a transplant.

First brain he showed him was $12,000. It had been the brain of a carpenter, and the doc told him he could have it transplanted and become a fine carpenter. Next brain was $14,000; it had belonged to a lawyer. Next was an $18,000 brain which was from a New York Stock Exchange Securites Trader. Then they looked at a $22,500 brain which belonged to a physician.

"Doc," the patient asked, "Don't you have something a little less expensive?" Doc told him of course they did and took him to a dim corner where there was a brain in a jar with a $4,000 price tag. "Whose was this?" asked the patient. "It belonged to a high government official," the doctor responded, then asked the patient, "Why don't you just browse around the room and select one you think you can afford, and we'll talk then. O.K.?"

Momentarily, the patient squealed out, "Doc! Doc! What's this one? It's $100,000.00! Whose brain was this? John Locke? Adam Smith? Albert Einstein?" The Doc looked at the brain and said, "Oh, no, nothing like that -- this $100,000.00 brain belonged to a sportswriter." Incredulous, the patient shrieked,"A SPORTSWRITER?!!! A Stupid Sportswriter?!! How in the world can that brain be worth $100,000.00?!!!!!!!!!"

"Oh," the doctor replied, "This is not the brain of just ANY sportswriter. This was the brain of an
Internet Football Webmaster & Prognosticator... It's never been used."

After the Alabama Million Dollar Band stops playing,
pass your mouse over Bear's mouth to hear him speak,
or, don't wait, and listen to him sing along

The Story Behind the Legend

The story of how coach Bryant got the nickname
told by Bear Bryant himself in his autobiography,
"Bear: The Hard Life and Good Times of Alabama's Coach Bryant".

"I was always a big kid, and I remember one summer we walked in from the Bottom to Mr. Smith's picture theater in Fordyce. The Lyric Theater... Drucilla Smith was at the theater, a striking 'older' girl with red dish- blond hair. She was standing by this poster that showed a picture of a bear and a guy offering a dollar a minute to anyone who would wrestle the bear. Mr. Smith was out front, and he was all excited because the man that was going to do the wrestling hadn't showed up. Somebody said to me,'Why don't you go in there?' And I sort of glanced at Drucilla Smith and said ,'For a dollar a minute I'd do anything.' You know, big-dogging it. I think this was in the summer, because I was chopping cotton for fifty cents a day at the time and felt I'd wrestle King Kong for a dollar a minute. Anyway, they egged me on, and Mr. Smith lined it up with the fellow who had the bear. There wasn't anything else to do anyway, and the picture cost a dime. Mr. Smith agreed to let me and my friends in free. The theater was a little old thin room, and seats went down-hill. At the bottom was the big stage, and if you sat right in front you couldn't see the screen for the stage. Nobody sat in those seats. When they brought that bear out Ike Murry said it was the scrawniest thing he had ever seen, but Ike wasn't volunteering to wrestle it. To me it looked 30 feet tall. I must have wanted that money real bad. The only thing I knew about wrestling was that if you got hold of somebody and kept your body away from him, he'd have a hard time breaking your hold. That was what I was going to do. Keep that bear from rolling over on me. The man made his speech about this big, ferocious thing and introduced me, and about time the bear reared up to face me I charged him and in a second had him down where he couldn't move. And there we lay. After a few nonviolent seconds the man began pushing at me, telling me to let him up. I wasn't ready to do that because time was flying by. I know what he wanted, though. He wanted action. I just lay there. Finally the bear worked loose, and I got him again, and he got loose again, and he started acting pretty ornery. And when I looked up his muzzle was off. I felt this burning on the back of my ear, and when I touched it I got a handful of blood. I was being eaten alive. I jumped off that stage and nearly killed myself hitting the empty front seats with my shins. I still have the marks on my legs where I crashed into those seats. After the show was over I went around to get my money, but the man with the bear had flown the coop. All I got out of the whole thing was a nickname."

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