Gene Stallings

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Gene Stallings
Gene Stallings 2009.jpg
Stallings in 2009
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1935-03-02) March 2, 1935 (age 79)
Paris, Texas
Playing career
1954–1956 Texas A&M
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1958–1964
1965–1971
1972–1985
1986–1989
1990–1996
Alabama (def. assistant)
Texas A&M
Dallas Cowboys (DB)
St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals
Alabama
Head coaching record
Overall 97–61–2* (college)
23–34–1 (NFL)
Bowls 6–1
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
National Championship (1992)
SWC Championship (1967)
SEC Championship (1992)
SEC Western Division Championships
(1992, 1993, 1994, 1996)
Awards
AFCA Coach of the Year (1992)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1992)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1992)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1992)
George Munger Award (1992)
SEC Coach of the Year (1992, 1994)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2010 (profile)

Eugene Clifton Stallings, Jr. (born March 2, 1935) is a retired American football player and coach. He played college football at Texas A&M University (1954–1956), where he was one of the "Junction Boys", and later served as the head coach at his alma mater from 1965 to 1971. Stallings was also the head coach of the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals of the National Football League (1986–1989) and at the University of Alabama (1990–1996). Stallings' 1992 Alabama team completed a 13–0 season with a win in the Sugar Bowl over Miami and was named the consensus national champion. Stallings was also a member of the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach on July 16, 2011.

Early years and playing career[edit]

Stallings was born in Paris, Texas. He attended Paris High School, where he played end as a sophomore alongside future NFL star, Raymond Berry. During his senior year, Stallings was the captain of the football, baseball, and golf teams. He was recruited to Texas A&M University to play college football by then-head coach Raymond George.[1]

At Texas A&M, Stallings was a member of the famed Junction Boys under head coach Bear Bryant. In 1956, he helped the team finish 9–0–1 and capture its first Southwest Conference championship since 1939. Stallings received his bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M in 1957.

Coaching career[edit]

University of Alabama[edit]

In 1958, Stallings joined Bear Bryant's original staff at the University of Alabama as a defensive assistant. He was on hand for two of Alabama's national championship seasons, in 1961 and 1964.

Texas A&M University[edit]

Shortly after helping Alabama win the 1964 national title, Stallings was named the head coach of his alma mater, Texas A&M, at the age of 29. He coached the Aggies for seven seasons compiling a record of 27–45–1. Under his tenure, the Aggies won the Southwest Conference in 1967, Stallings' only winning season at A&M. At the end of that season Stallings led Texas A&M to a victory over Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. He was fired at A&M following the 1971 season.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

In 1972, Stallings joined the staff of the Dallas Cowboys as Tom Landry's secondary coach. He remained with the Cowboys for 14 seasons, and helped them win Super Bowl XII.

St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals[edit]

In 1986, Stallings was named the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. In parts of four seasons, Stallings compiled a 23–34–1 record with the Cardinals and was the head coach during the franchise's move to Arizona. In 1987, the franchise's final season in St. Louis, the Cardinals rallied from a 28-3 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-28, the largest fourth quarter comeback in NFL history. The Cardinals used the comeback to springboard themselves into position to clinch a playoff berth on the final Sunday of the season, but fell short with a 21-16 loss at Dallas.

The Cardinals' relocation from St. Louis to Arizona was approved on March 15, 1988.

In 1988, the Cardinals pulled off another miracle comeback, rallying from a 23-0 deficit against the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers for a 24-23 victory. Phoenix was 7-4 and in first place in the NFC East but collpased, losing their final five games, including two to the division champion Philadelphia Eagles. The 1989 season started with road victories at Detroit and Seattle, but injuries derailed any playoff hopes. With five games remaining in the 1989 season, Stallings announced that he would resign at the end of the season. Instead, general manager Larry Wilson ordered Stallings to leave immediately and named running backs coach Hank Kuhlmann as his temporary replacement. The Cardinals lost all five games under Kuhlmann and finished 5-11, the first of four consecutive seasons in which the team would lose at least 11 games.

University of Alabama[edit]

Stallings returned to Alabama as head coach in 1990. His first team finished with a 7–5 record,[2] including a 34–7 loss to Louisville in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. Following Harold Drew, Stallings became only the second Alabama head coach since the renewal of the Iron Bowl in 1948 to defeat Auburn in his first attempt; Dennis Franchione became the third in 2001.[3] Stallings' 1991 squad finished the season with an 11–1[2] record, including a 30–25[4] victory over Colorado in the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl.

In 1992, Stallings' experienced defensive unit led the team to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the first SEC Championship Game where Alabama defeated Florida, 28–21, giving Alabama its 20th SEC title, and its first outright conference title since 1979.[2] Following a 34–13 victory over heavily favored Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to cap a perfect 13-0 season and the first Bowl Coalition national championship—their first national title since 1979.[5]

In 1993, Stallings' squad won a second straight SEC West Division title, compiling a 9–3–1 record. However, the Tide lost to Florida in the SEC Championship Game. In 1994, Stallings' team finished the regular season with a record of 11–0, an 8–0 record in the SEC, and captured its third straight SEC West Division title. However, they lost the SEC title game for the second year in a row to Florida.[5] Alabama finished the 1994 season with a 12–1 record, including a 24–17 victory over Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl.[2]

After an investigation that ran from late 1993 to August 1995, the NCAA found Alabama guilty of four major rules violations during the 1993 season. Stallings was implicated, along with athletic director Hootie Ingram, in falsifying the eligibility of Alabama cornerback Antonio Langham during that season. Langham had signed with a sports agent and applied to enter the NFL Draft following the 1993 Sugar Bowl, but was not subsequently declared ineligible per NCAA rules. Alabama officials only declared him ineligible the week before the 1993 SEC title game. As a result, Alabama's football program was placed on three years probation, and docked a total of 30 scholarships from 1995 to 1998. Alabama was also forced to forfeit eight wins and one tie from its 9–3–1 1993 season in which Langham participated, resulting in an official record of 1–12. The Crimson Tide were also barred from postseason competition, including the SEC Championship Game and bowl games, during the 1995 season.[6]

Stallings' 1994 team proved to be tremendously successful, as Alabama finished the regular season undefeated before losing to Florida in the SEC Championship Game. The team concluded the season by defeating Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl to finish the season 12-1.

Alabama went 8–3 in 1995, the only season between 1992 and 1996 that Stallings didn't win the SEC West (Auburn finished finished first in the division in 1993 but was serving a post-season ban). Arkansas won the West title in 1995, with a last second touchdown against the Tide to claim their first ever victory over Alabama. However, the Tide would have been ineligible for the SEC Championship Game or a bowl game regardless as a result of the NCAA sanctions.

In 1996, Stallings' team won ten games and earned a berth in the SEC Championship Game, where they lost to again to Florida, which eventually won the national title that season. Stallings announced on November 23, 1996 that he would resign at the end of the season. He completed his tenure at Alabama with a 17–14 win over Michigan in the 1997 Outback Bowl on January 1, 1997.[2] Stallings compiled an official record at Alabama of 62–25 (70–16–1 if the 1993 forfeits are disregarded).[2] The lost scholarships as a result of the 1995 infractions case, however, would hobble the Tide for several years to come; they would only win eight or more games three times between Stallings' departure and Nick Saban's arrival in 2007, and would also suffer three of its only four losing seasons since Bryant's arrival.[7]

Outside of football[edit]

Family[edit]

Stallings married Ruth Ann Jack after his graduation from Texas A&M. The couple went on to have five children: Anna Lee, Laurie, John Mark, Jackie, and Martha Kate.[8][9][10][11] As a result of John Mark's being born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, Stallings eventually became heavily involved in projects promoting better education and quality of life for the developmentally disabled;[12] the two appeared in a 1987 NFL public service announcement for the United Way.[11][13] Following Stallings' retirement, he moved back to the Paris area with his wife and son to establish Hike-A-Way Ranch, a working cattle ranch in Powderly, Texas.[8][14]

Board leadership[edit]

Stallings serves on many boards, including President George W. Bush’s Commission on Intellectual Disability, and he was formerly a member of the board of Abilene Christian University. Other boards include 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.

Stallings was appointed to the Texas A&M Board of Regents by Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2005. 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. His term expired on February 1, 2011.

Writing[edit]

Stallings co-wrote the book Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son (ISBN 0-316-81196-3) with AP journalist Sally Cook, which described his and his family's relationship with only son John Mark Stallings. John Mark, also known as "Johnny," was a dedicated follower of his father's career, a longtime Crimson Tide fan, and a tour guide in the Crimson Tide facilities. John Mark died on August 2, 2008, due to a congenital heart condition;[9][10][15] in 2009, an updated paperback edition of the book was published with added material on the final years of John Mark's life.[16] Two facilities at the University of Alabama were named for the younger Stallings: the Stallings Center that serves as home to the RISE Center for young children with disabilities, in 1994, and the equipment room in the University of Alabama football building in 2005.[15] Most recently, Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, named its new football and soccer field after John Mark Stallings on October 8, 2010,[17] an honor that had been planned prior to his death two years before:

The sports world lost a legend on Aug. 2 in Paris, Texas.

He's the son of a Junction Boy, which makes him a grandson of Bear Bryant. At the same time, he's both a son of Aggieland and a son of Alabama.

Gene Stallings' son, John Mark "Johnny" Stallings, touched a lot of lives in his 46 years, melting even the hardest hearts of the toughest athletes to play for Gene in college at Texas A&M, Alabama or in the NFL with the Cowboys and Cardinals.

And Johnny never strapped on the pads for a single play. ... Johnny made his difference by showing everyone he met, and even those he didn't, that someone with Down syndrome or a disability could make a difference in this world. ... With help from four sisters, the Stallings family raised a man who has become a legend in Alabama for his smile and his positive outlook on life. ...

The outpouring of love given to the Stallings family over the past week is a direct reflection of the love one man had for life and everyone he met. We should all be so lucky to live like that.

[18]

Awards and honors[edit]

Stallings received a number of national coaching awards in 1992 and was the SEC Coach of the Year twice, in 1992 and 1994. In 2000, Stallings was awarded Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University. He was awarded the Legends Award from the All Sports Association in Dallas in 2001. Stallings has also received many humanitarian awards, including the Arthritis Humanitarian Award of Alabama, National Boys Club Alumni of the Year, Dallas Father of the Year, Humanitarian Award of the Lion’s Club of Alabama, and Paris Boys Club Wall of Honor.

Stallings has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas A&M Hall of Fame, Gator Bowl Hall of Fame and Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. He also received an honorary doctoral degree from Harding University.

Gene Stallings' involvement in the disability community, has also been strong. His son, John Mark was born with Trisomy 21, Down syndrome, and Gene Stallings has a school for children with disabilities named after him on the University of Alabama Campus, for which he hosts a charity golf tournament every year. The playground at the school is called the John Mark Stallings Playground.

Head coaching record[edit]

College[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Texas A&M Aggies (Southwest Conference) (1965–1971)
1965 Texas A&M 3–7 1–6 T–7th
1966 Texas A&M 4–5–1 4–3 4th
1967 Texas A&M 7–4 6–1 1st W Cotton
1968 Texas A&M 3–7 2–5 T–6th
1969 Texas A&M 3–7 2–5 T–6th
1970 Texas A&M 2–7 0–7 8th
1971 Texas A&M 5–6 4–3 4th
Texas A&M: 27–45–1 19–30
Alabama Crimson Tide (Southeastern Conference) (1990–1996)
1990 Alabama 7–5 5–2 T–3rd L Fiesta
1991 Alabama 11–1 6–1 2nd W Blockbuster 5 5
1992 Alabama 13–0 8–0 1st (West) W Sugar 1 1
1993 Alabama 9–3–1* 6–1–1* 2nd (West)* W Gator 13 14
1994 Alabama 12–1 8–0 1st (West) W Citrus 4 5
1995 Alabama 8–3 5–3 T–2nd (West) 21
1996 Alabama 10–3 6–2 T–1st (West) W Outback 11 11
Alabama: 70–16–1 44–9–1
Total: 97–61–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl, or College Football Playoff (CFP) game.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

*Alabama forfeited eight wins and one tie, after Antonio Langham was ruled ineligible. Official record is 1–12 (0–8 SEC).
‡ The 1995 Alabama team was on probation and ineligible to win the conference title, to be selected to a bowl, or to be selected in the coaches poll.
& Record at Alabama is 62–25 (38–16 SEC) including forfeited games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schoor, Gene (1994). The Fightin' Texas Aggies: 100 Years of A&M Football. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 121. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "2006 Alabama Football Media Guide, Published by Ebsco Industries, Birmingham, AL, Pages 172 and 200" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  3. ^ "Alabama Football Game Notes: Auburn". Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  4. ^ "The Official Site of the University of Alabama Athletics". Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  5. ^ a b "ial 2006 Divisions I-A and I-AA Football Records Book, National Poll Champions, Page 79" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  6. ^ "NCAA Public Report on Infractions at Alabama" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  7. ^ Millson, Charlie. The Five Biggest 'Bama Scandals. Bleacher Report, 2011-08-20.
  8. ^ a b Carolyn Mason. "Life on the ranch: Gene Stallings may live in Texas, but he's taken a piece of Alabama with him," Tuscaloosa Magazine, September 7, 2006.
  9. ^ a b Joe Simnacher. "John Mark 'Johnny' Stallings - 1962–2008 - Coach's son cared for others, defied odds," The Dallas Morning News, August 5, 2008, page 1B (Sports section front page).
  10. ^ a b "John Mark Stallings, the son of former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings, dies". 
  11. ^ a b Robert DeWitt. "Stallings known for role as father: coach won titles but is also remembered for bond with his son," Tuscaloosa News, July 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Susan Schindehette. "Johnny's gift," People, February 2, 1998.
  13. ^ "Another season" on YouTube, Dateline NBC (posted to YouTube by the Bryant Museum). Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  14. ^ Staff reports. "John Mark Stallings remembered as genuine, selfless friend to many," The Christian Chronicle, August 2008.
  15. ^ a b Tim Gayle. "John Mark Stallings dies at age 46," Montgomery Advertiser, August 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
  16. ^ "Sports briefs," Mobile Register, November 10, 2009, page 1C.
  17. ^ Faulkner University Athletics
  18. ^ Douglas Pils. "Week in review/preview," San Antonio Express-News, August 10, 2008, page 2C.

External links[edit]