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Alabama History and Stats

Why 'Crimson Tide'?
In early newspaper accounts of Alabama football, the team was simply listed as the "varsity" or the "Crimson White" after the school colors.
The first nickname to become popular and used by headline writers was the "Thin Red Line." The nickname was used until 1906.
The name "Crimson Tide" is supposed to have first been used by Hugh Roberts, former sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald. He used "Crimson Tide" in describing an Alabama-Auburn game played in Birmingham in 1907, the last football contest between the two schools until 1948 when the series was resumed. The game was played in a sea of mud and Auburn was a heavy favorite to win.
But, evidently, the "Thin Red Line" played a great game in the red mud and held Auburn to a 6-6 tie, thus gaining the name "Crimson Tide." Zipp Newman, former sports editor of the Birmingham News, probably popularized the name more than any other write





The Elephant
The story of how Alabama became associated with the "elephant" goes back to the 1930 season when Coach Wallace Wade had assembled a great football team.

On October 8, 1930, sports writer Everett Strupper of the Atlanta Journal wrote a story of the Alabama-Mississippi game he had witnessed in Tuscaloosa four days earlier. Strupper wrote, "That Alabama team of 1930 is a typical Wade machine, powerful, big, tough, fast, aggressive, well-schooled in fundamentals, and the best blocking team for this early in the season that I have ever seen. When those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes.

"Coach Wade started his second team that was plenty big and they went right to their knitting scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against one of the best fighting small lines that I have seen. For Ole Miss was truly battling the big boys for every inch of ground.

"At the end of the quarter, the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow. Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, 'Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,' and out stamped this Alabama varsity.

"It was the first time that I had seen it and the size of the entire eleven nearly knocked me cold, men that I had seen play last year looking like they had nearly doubled in size."

Strupper and other writers continued to refer to the Alabama linemen as "Red Elephants," the color referring to the crimson jerseys.

The 1930 team posted an overall 10-0 record. It shut out eight opponents and allowed only 13 points all season while scoring 217. The "Red Elephants" rolled over Washington State 24-0 in the Rose Bowl and were declared National Champions.

Coach Year Wins Losses
E.B. Beaumont  1892  2  2
 Eli Abbott  1893-96, 1902  10 15 
 Allen McCants  1897-1898  1  3
 W.A. Martin  1899  3  1
 M. Griffin  1900  2  3
 M.H Harvey  1901  2  1
 W.B. Blount  1903-1904  10  7
 Jack Leavenworth  1905  6  4
 J.W. H. Pollard  1906-1909  4  5
 Guy Lowman  1910  4  4
 D.V. Graves  1911-1914  21  12
 Thomas Kelly  1915-1917  17  7
 Xen C. Scott  1919-1922  29  9
 Wallace Wade  1923-1930  61  13
 Frank Thomas  1931-1946  115  24
 H.D. Drew  1947-1954  54  28
 J.B. Whitworth  1955-1957  4  24
 Paul W. Bryant  1958-1982  232  46
 Ray Perkins  1983-1986  32  15
 Bill Curry  1987-1989  26  10
 Gene Stallings  1990-1996  62  25
 Mike Dubose  1997-2000  24  23
 Dennis Franchione  2001-2002
 Mike Shula  2003-2006  26 23
 Nick Saban  2007-2008 11 6

Million Dollar Band: History
The Million Dollar Band began life in 1914 as a fourteen-member unit under Dr. Gustav Wittig, who led the group for 3 years. It became a military band in 1917 and was led by students until 1927, when Captain H. H. Turner assumed command. Captain Turner was succeeded in 1935 by Colonel Carleton K. Butler, who carried the band to national prominence.

The name "Million Dollar Band" was bestowed in 1922 by W. C. "Champ" Pickens, an Alabama alumnus. Accounts of how the name evolved vary. In the 1948 Alabama football media guide, it was described this way:

"At the time the band was named (1922), it was having a hard struggle. The only way they could get to Georgia Tech for a game was by soliciting funds from the merchants. They usually had to ride all night in a day coach, and we thought it was swell when we finally got a tourist sleeper and put two to a lower and two to an upper berth."

Thus, because of the band's fund raising prowess, Pickens called it the "Million Dollar Band." During that same Georgia Tech game in 1922 (won 33-7 by the Tech Yellow Jackets), an Atlanta sportswriter commented to Pickens, "You don't have much of a team; what do you have at Alabama?" Pickens replied, "A Million Dollar Band."

  • 1914-17 Dr. Gustav Wittig

  • 1917-27 (led by students)

  • 1927-1934 Captain H. H. Turner

  • 1935-1968 Colonel Carleton K. Butler

  • 1969 Earl Dunn

  • 1970-1983 Dr. James Ferguson

  • 1984-2002 Kathryn Scott

  • 2003-present Dr. Kenneth Ozzello

    "Yea Alabama!" lyrics
    Yea, Alabama! Drown 'em Tide!
    Every 'Bama man's behind you,
    Hit your stride.
    Go teach the Bulldogs to behave,
    Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave.
    And if a man starts to weaken,
    That's a shame!
    For Bama's pluck and grit have
    Writ her name in Crimson flame.
    Fight on, fight on, fight on men!
    Remember the Rose Bowl, we'll win then.
    So roll on to victory,
    Hit your stride,
    You're Dixie's football pride,
    Crimson Tide, Roll Tide, Roll Tide!!

    Alma Mater
    Alabama, listen, Mother,
    To our vows of love,
    To thyself and to each other,
    Faithful friends we'll prove.

    Faithful, loyal, firm and true,
    Heart bound to heart will beat.
    Year by year, the ages through
    Until in Heaven we meet.

    College days are swiftly fleeting,
    Soon we'll leave their halls
    Ne'er to join another meeting
    'Neath their hallowed walls.

    Faithful, loyal, firm and true
    Heart bound to heart will beat
    Year by year, the ages through
    Until in Heaven we meet.

    So, farewell, dear Alma Mater
    May thy name, we pray,
    Be rev'renced ever, pure and stainless
    As it is today.

    Faithful, loyal, firm and true
    Heart bound to heart will beat
    Year by year, the ages through
    Until in Heaven we meet.

    - Helen Vickers, 1908



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