Statement on the Death of Paul ``Bear'' Bryant

January 26, 1983

Today we Americans lost a hero who always seemed larger than life. Paul ``Bear'' Bryant won more college football games than any other coach in history, and he made legends out of ordinary people. Only 4 weeks ago, we held our breath, then cheered, when the ``Bear'' notched his final victory in a game named, fittingly, the Liberty Bowl.

He was a hard, but loved taskmaster. Patriotic to the core, devoted to his players, and inspired by a winning spirit that would not quit, Bear Bryant gave his country the gift of a life unsurpassed. In making the impossible seem easy, he lived what we strive to be.

Note: Mr. Bryant, 69, died in Tuscaloosa, Ala., following a heart attack. He had recently retired as head coach of the University of Alabama football team.

On January 28 the White House announced that the President had asked Coach George Allen to be his personal representative at the January 28 funeral services for Mr. Bryant in Tuscaloosa.