Alabama Not Just Football: 30 Amazing People Who Were Built By Bama

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James Fail

James Fail was a financial executive and philanthropist. After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Fail graduated from the University of Alabama in 1949.

He went to work as a salesman at Merrill Lynch. His career included work as an executive in investment, mortgage, banking, savings and loan, and insurance businesses.

Fail became widely known for his philanthropic efforts after he retired. In 1997, he and his wife created The Patsy and Jim Fail Scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College. He served as a Director of the Beneficial Mortgage Company, a member of the Economic Club of New York, and a Director of the Phoenix Symphony. In 2007 he donated $200,000 to the Mobile Symphony to endow the principal cello chair in his wife’s memory.

He was also a major donor to the Crimson Tide Foundation throughout his life, most famously through a 2008 contribution. When the south end zone at Bryant-Denny was renovated, the visitor’s locker room also underwent updates. To Fail, who had probably been teased about his name for his entire life, this was the perfect opportunity. Everyone wants failure to come out of the visitor’s locker room, right? In 2008 he commented, ” Earlier this year, when I saw the visitors’ locker room as a potential naming right, I figured it was the most appropriate opportunity I would ever have to use my name.”

The Fail Room was renamed in 2008. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, visiting teams are 3-46 at Bryant-Denny, including a 20-game home win streak after the locker room was first named.

James Fail died in 2010.

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