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Hartselle Enquirer

The "hippie" movement loosened up Coach a bit

By Staff
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
The powers of the "hippies" were pretty strong in the late 1960s.
So strong, there seemed to be a "hippie" movement that reached out and touched almost everyone's life – Especially those on college campuses of that day.
The students who were in Coach Bryant's program at The University of Alabama were no different. But Coach didn't like it.
So, he still enforced strict regulations concerning our clothes, hair and behavior.
We wanted to let our hair grow longer like the other students on campus, but I believe Coach Bryant was probably the last holdout nationwide against such things.
We were so determined, one day we sent Johnny Musso to meet with him about letting our hair grow down past our collar. The rationale was, someone of Johnny's stature would have a much greater chance of convincing Coach Bryant to see things our way.
Now, you have to understand, meeting with Coach Bryant was an experience in itself.
His desk was on a somewhat raised platform, and there was a single couch sitting in front of it. I believe Coach may have had all the springs removed from this couch, though, because when you sat down, you would sink to the floor.
You sat there with your knees up around your chin, looking up at this rugged looking man with steel blue eyes.
I'm not really sure what happened between Johnny and the Coach in their meeting, but I do know Coach Bryant loosened up some of his restrictions on dress and hair.
The day Johnny and Coach met I will never forget.
We had our usual team meeting. Coach would slowly walk in, winding his watch, and the room would become silent – instantly.
The same thing happened this day, except Coach had on the ugliest, long-haired wig I ever had seen. I have always thought Coach Bryant was a great actor, and this day proved it for me.
The entire team erupted into laughter, but he never changed the serious expression on his face. He looked at us for a few minutes, as if we had hurt his feelings, and walked out of the room.
Coach sure was a character.