May 4, 2012; Talladega, AL, USA; A detailed of Paul Bear Bryant painted on the helmet of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (not pictured) during practice for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Football: The Bryant Coaching Tree Continues to Thrive


Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When Bruce Arians accepted the head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals last week, he became the latest branch in the Bear Bryant coaching tree. For most of the season, Arians served as interim head coach and led the team to a 9-3 record and a playoff berth — the best performance by an interim in NFL history.

The Arians branch of the coaching tree isn’t exactly new, however. After serving as an assistant coach (running backs) for Coach Bryant’s last two season, Arians went on to head coach the Temple Owls from 1983-1988. Arians played college football for Virginia Tech. He is the second member of the Bryant coaching family to serve as head coach for the Cardinals. Gene Stallings coached the Cardinals from 1986-1989 before returning to The Capstone.

The Bryant Coaching Tree currently contains three college head coaches: Joey Jones (South Alabama), Mike Riley (Oregon State) and David Cutcliffe (Duke).  Three coaches, Danny Ford (Clemson), Howard Schnellenberger (Miami) , and Gene Stallings (Alabama), won national championships at the college level. All three played for Coach Bryant in college: Ford at Alabama, Schnellenberger at Kentucky and Stallings at Texas A&M. Many others have served as head coaches and assistant coaches over the years. Sylvester Croom (Titans) and John Mitchell (Steelers) currently serve as NFL assistants. Former player and NFL great Ozzie Newsome currently serves as General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens who will be facing the San Francisco 49ers in  Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013.

The University of Alabama has many other players and assistant coaches in the coaching ranks. Send us your list of former Alabama players and assistants (Bryant years or not) and we may write about their careers in future articles. Members of the Bryant coaching tree have participated in every level of football with much success over the years. Now, thirty years after his death, Coach Bryant continues to contribute to the world of football as his coaching tree thrives.

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