When then Alabama Athletic Director Hootie Ingram hired Gene Stallings on Jan. 11, 1990 to become Alabama's head coach it was "his own character and accomplishments which earned him the job," Ingram said. Despite all the awards and victories Stallings has collected during his 38 years of coaching, it's the man behind those accolades that receives first mention from those who have been close to him for several years. This was a great reunion for Stallings, who was assistant coach under Alabama's legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant in 1962.
Gene Stallings is a former college and professional football coach best known for winning an NCAA Division I National Championship at the University of Alabama in 1992.
Stallings won an athletic scholarship to Texas A&M University to play football. When Paul "Bear" Bryant became head coach of Texas A&M in 1954, Stallings became one of the legendary "Junction Boys" enduring ten days of endless practice in the scorching Texas summer. Stallings was one of only a handful of players to make it through the torturous boot camp type experience earning the trust and respect of Bryant.
The Junction Boys went 1 - 9 that season, but two years later, the team was undefeated and won the Southwest Conference. In 1956, Stallings was one of three co-captains of the Aggies squad along with Lloyd Hale and future NFL head coach Jack Pardee earning All-Southwest Conference honors.
After spending a year as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M, Bryant invited Stallings to join his staff as an assistant coach of the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama in 1958. Stallings remained on the staff until 1964 when, at the age of 29, he was named the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies. He coached the Aggies for seven season compiling a record of 27-45-1 and winning the Southwest Conference championship in 1967 culminating in a Cotton Bowl victory over friend and mentor Bear Bryant.
In 1972, he joined the staff of the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Tom Landry. He remained with the Cowboys for 14 seasons as an assistant, coaching in three Super Bowls and helping lead the Cowboys to a victory in Super Bowl XII over the Denver Broncos.
In 1986, Stallings was named the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals football team. While coaching the Cardinals, Stallings' teams were known for their strong defenses, often ranking at or near the top of the NFC. Stallings compiled a 23-34-1 record with the Cardinals, impressive considering the turmoil surrounding the team's move to Phoenix.
By 1990, Alabama was looking for a head coach with ties to past glories. Being a former Crimson Tide assistant and one of Bryant's "Junction Boys" made Stallings a perfect fit. On January 11, 1990, Gene Stallings was hired as the head football coach at the University of Alabama.
Stallings led Alabama to an undefeated season in 1992. The Crimson Tide was ranked # 2 in the polls and faced the #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl to determine the National Championship. The heavily favored Hurricanes were a cocksure group led by Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. On January 1, 1993 Alabama's superior defense stopped the Hurricanes and the Crimson Tide's running game dominated the 'Canes defense leading to an upset of favored Miami 34 -13. The Crimson Tide squad was proclaimed 1992 NCAA Division I Football National Champions.
Stallings remained at Alabama until midway through the 1996 season. Stallings resigned as Alabama head coach on November 23, 1996 following a 24-23 win over arch-rival Auburn. Stallings left Alabama with an impressive 70-16-1 record, one SEC title and a national championship in his seven seasons with the Crimson Tide.
In his retirement, Stallings has worked as a consultant for several football teams including North Texas and Boise State and is a trustee of Abilene Christian University as well as a member of the Board of Regents of his alma mater, Texas A&M. He makes frequent motivational speeches to various athletic and religious groups. Stallings has been an advocate for Down syndrome research ever since his son Johnny was diagnosed with the illness in 1962. Stallings currently lives on his ranch near Paris, Texas.