One of the most iconic names in Alabama sports history, Gene Stallings, has been selected as the 2017 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Alabama Football Legend Award, presented by Regions Bank.
“Gene Stallings is a true Alabama legend,” Johnny Williams, Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Executive Director said. “His accomplishments on the field are well-documented, including his seven-year run and 1992 National Championship at the University of Alabama. He has played an even more important role in the lives of this state off the field. His legacy will be difficult to duplicate.”
Stallings will be honored at the 2017 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Alabama Football Legend Luncheon, which will be held Friday, Dec. 15, at the Renaissance Hotel. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale through the Camellia Bowl (www.camelliabowl.com) website.
Previous Alabama Football Legend Award recipients include former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden (2014), former Auburn head coach Pat Dye (2015) and former Alabama All-American linebacker Woodrow Lowe (2016).
Stallings is best known for leading the Crimson Tide to a perfect 13-0 record and the 1992 National Championship. It was the first national title for the Crimson Tide since 1979. Alabama defeated Florida 28-21 in the inaugural SEC Championship Game at Legion Field and then trounced No. 1 ranked Miami 34-14 in the Sugar Bowl to win the school’s 12th national championship.
Stallings played for legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at Texas A&M and was a member of the famed “Junction Boys.” Stallings was an assistant under Bryant at Alabama and then became the head coach at Texas A&M. He led the Aggies to a 7-4 record and the 1967 Southwest Conference championship. The season was capped with a 20-16 win over Alabama in the 1968 Cotton Bowl.
Stallings also worked for legendary coach Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys. In his 14 seasons (1972-85), Dallas played in three Super Bowls and defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII. Stallings later served as the head coach of the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals before returning Tuscaloosa to become the Tide’s head coach in 1990.
Stallings has made an even bigger impact off the field.
Stallings and his wife Ruth Ann had five children: Anna Lee, Laurie, John Mark, Jackie, and Martha Kate. John Mark was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect and Stallings eventually became heavily involved in projects promoting better education and quality of life for the developmentally disabled. He and John Mark appeared in a 1987 NFL public service announcement for the United Way.
During his time in Tuscaloosa, he was heavily involved in the Gene Stallings Rise Center. Stallings and his family were devoted to the development of the facility. He annually hosted a The Gene Stallings Charity Golf Tournament to raise funds for the facility.
Stallings has served in the Commission on Intellectual Disability with former President George Bush. He also served on the board at Abilene Christian University and the board of regents at Texas A&M University. He served on the Committee on Audit and the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs. Stallings was chair of the Policy Review Committee and a member of the Special Committee on Educational Access.
He has also been involved on the boards with the Tandy Corporation, People’s National Bank of Paris, Paris Regional Medical Center, Disability Resources, the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Association, the Great Southern Wood Corporation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Paris, Texas.