May 4, 2012; Talladega, AL, USA; A detailed of Paul Bear Bryant painted on the helmet of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (not pictured) during practice for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
He might no longer hold more career wins than anyone else in the history of the game, but Bear Bryant is also our first inductee as coach in the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame. Follow @SBNationCFB
Even if he's been passed twice on the career list for the most wins in college football history, Paul "Bear" Bryant remains perhaps the most iconic coach to walk the sidelines. And the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame almost couldn't be credible if the man with the houndstooth cap hadn't been among its first inductees.
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Bryant is one of the best football minds in the history of the game. This is a guy who won not only at Texas A&M and Alabama, where you're kind of expected to win, but at Kentucky. In football. And winning is about all he ever did.
Bryant coached for 38 seasons and had a losing record in one of them. In only eight of his seasons did his team not finished ranked in at least one of the major polls.
His 323 career wins when he retired was, as we've noted, a record for any head coach at the time. He won a half-dozen national championships of some variety, 14 SEC titles and was a three-time national coach of the year. "I ain't never been nothing but a winner," Bryant famously said, and there's really nothing in the record to contradict it. He's now also a unanimous selection to be the first coach in the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame.
The SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame is a summer project involving all of the network's excellent college football blogs. Each community nominated five of its own for inclusion, with 10 of those nominees being inducted by our selection committee, which included reps from most FBS conferences. The inaugural class' first 10 will be revealed Monday and Tuesday, while the remaining 10 will be chosen by public vote Wednesday and Thursday.