Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame selmaborntidefan's Avatar
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    Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    I got a look on another thread and somebody mentioned the oft-repeated claim that Gene Stallings was Bear Bryant's favorite to replace him, and it got me to thinking about a question to ask some of the older-timers:

    Why was Ray Perkins chosen?

    Keep in mind that at that time I was 13 years old and - more importantly - I lived in Germany, so I didn't have any access to Tuscaloosa news at the time (believe it or not whippersnappers, the Internet was NOT invented by Al Gore, but we didn't use it back then).

    Why Perkins?

    I realize that an argument could be made that he had turned around a pathetic Giants franchise pretty quickly. I also recall hearing that he was Bear Bryant's 'favorite end' whom Bryant had stayed in the hospital with when he got a concussion.

    But the roller coaster began back then so why was Perkins the hire?
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame jthomas666's Avatar
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    IIRC, at the time Stallings was an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys, who were in the midst of a playoff run. Stallings didn't think it would be fair to the Cowboys to take another job in the middle of the playoffs.
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by jthomas666 View Post
    IIRC, at the time Stallings was an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys, who were in the midst of a playoff run. Stallings didn't think it would be fair to the Cowboys to take another job in the middle of the playoffs.
    Wasn't that the strike shortened season? Just looked, it was, but the Cowboys went all the way to the NFC CG that year...
    Last edited by NYBamaFan; November 22nd, 2008 at 08:44 AM.

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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by NYBamaFan View Post
    Wasn't that the strike shortened season?
    Yes, it was. Dallas had the second-best record in the NFC and, in fact, were the only team to beat the one-loss eventual Super Bowl champions that year, the Redskins.

    Stallings was the secondary coach (I believe) on that team.
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    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    I'll tell you what I heard at the time, and it came from someone personally close to him. You may remember that Coach's public position was that he was staying out of the selection process. If were asked privately, and he was, his second choice was CGS. but his first choice was, in fact, Perkins. The logic was that Coach recognized that the wishbone was passe' - that it had been well dxed and could be defended. One of the reasons he gave publicly for his retirement was that he never wanted to coach kids to pass-block again. Perkins was a respected offensively-minded coach, whereas CGS was the opposite - a defensively-minded coach. He felt that the defense would be fine, but the offense needed revamping totally. I've always accepted this as the truth, both because of who told me and also because it made sense. Whatever the order of choice, it would be unthinkable that Perkins would have been hired without Coach's strong stamp of approval, no matter what he said publicly...
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Alasippi's Avatar
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    I'll tell you what I heard at the time, and it came from someone personally close to him. You may remember that Coach's public position was that he was staying out of the selection process. If were asked privately, and he was, his second choice was CGS. but his first choice was, in fact, Perkins. The logic was that Coach recognized that the wishbone was passe' - that it had been well dxed and could be defended. One of the reasons he gave publicly for his retirement was that he never wanted to coach kids to pass-block again. Perkins was a respected offensively-minded coach, whereas CGS was the opposite - a defensively-minded coach. He felt that the defense would be fine, but the offense needed revamping totally. I've always accepted this as the truth, both because of who told me and also because it made sense. Whatever the order of choice, it would be unthinkable that Perkins would have been hired without Coach's strong stamp of approval, no matter what he said publicly...
    Wasn't he, in fact, also the AD at the time? I'd agree with the above.
    I can't see Coach Bryant just walking away with no input on his successor.

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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alasippi View Post
    Wasn't he, in fact, also the AD at the time? I'd agree with the above.
    I can't see Coach Bryant just walking away with no input on his successor.
    Yeah. Perkins was AD as well--the last Bama coach to hold both positions.
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    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    It seems to me that he resigned as AD also. I know there was a selection committee named, but I don't remember who was on it. Maybe TommyMac or another OF can. CPB's input was strictly informal, I was told.
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    I think there is a lot of truth to what Earle said. The wishbone offense was on the way out and the only other top level team I recall that stayed with the wishbone was Barry Switzer's Oklahoma team. Perkins inherited a team recruited to run the wishbone and he had a pretty tough time getting his type players to run a more pro style offense. Also I have heard that due to Coach Bryant's health and knowing he was close to retiring the overall talent level was also on the decline.

    The story of CGS being Coach Bryant's first choice has been taken as gospel since Coach Bryant's death. Being the coach to replace Coach Bryant was a no win situation at best.
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    The story of CGS being Coach Bryant's first choice has been taken as gospel since Coach Bryant's death.
    I'm well aware of that. It just doesn't match up with what I heard at the time. Also, what I heard makes sense...
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    I'm well aware of that. It just doesn't match up with what I heard at the time. Also, what I heard makes sense...
    What you're saying is what I remember at the time. In fact, I never heard Gene Stallings' name come up until Bill Curry resigned in early 1990. I do know that Paul Bryant Jr. sought out Stallings at a press conference and said, "This is what Papa wanted," but I also recall very clearly what little I heard at the time was that Bryant had endorsed the selection of Perkins.

    I'm also aware of the controversy of Bryant having to retire because of the age laws in Alabama and Pat Dye using that as a recruiting tool.
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    It seems to me that he resigned as AD also. I know there was a selection committee named, but I don't remember who was on it. Maybe TommyMac or another OF can. CPB's input was strictly informal, I was told.
    All I can remember is Coach Bryant was also the AD (maybe it was a way to pay him more money back then) and Coach Perkins assumed the same position. When Perkins resigned and Bill Curry was named HC, Steve Sloan was named AD.
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    Re: Why Did Ray Perkins Replace Bear Bryant?

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    I'll tell you what I heard at the time, and it came from someone personally close to him. You may remember that Coach's public position was that he was staying out of the selection process. If were asked privately, and he was, his second choice was CGS. but his first choice was, in fact, Perkins. The logic was that Coach recognized that the wishbone was passe' - that it had been well dxed and could be defended. One of the reasons he gave publicly for his retirement was that he never wanted to coach kids to pass-block again. Perkins was a respected offensively-minded coach, whereas CGS was the opposite - a defensively-minded coach. He felt that the defense would be fine, but the offense needed revamping totally. I've always accepted this as the truth, both because of who told me and also because it made sense. Whatever the order of choice, it would be unthinkable that Perkins would have been hired without Coach's strong stamp of approval, no matter what he said publicly...

    You hit the nail right on the head, Earle ... that's the same thing I was told by people very close to the decision.

    But CGS was always one of Bryant's favorite people, and I'm sure Papa Bear was smiling when we eventually hired him.

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