Bear Bryant (Paul Bryant) (brī´ənt), 1913–83, American football coach, b. Moro Bottom, Ark. The son of sharecroppers, he became a Southern culture hero through his football successes. After playing on the Rose Bowl–winning 1935 Univ. of Alabama team, he coached for 38 years at four Southern universities: Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama. At Alabama (1958–82), his
teams won or shared six national championships (1961, 1964–65, 1973, 1978–79). Bryant retired with 323 wins, the record for coaches in the top-rated Division I-A until Joe Paterno surpassed it in 2001.
See biography by A. Barra (2005).