Good news for Fordyce and
college football fans. The Dallas County Museum recently received a grant from
the Arkansas Department of Historic Preservation to begin restoration of a historic
building in town that is planned to eventually become home to the Paul “Bear”
Born in Moro Bottom
and raised in Fordyce,
Bryant (1913-1983) picked up his nickname when, as a
youth, he wrestled a bear at the Fordyce Theater. He was the head coach of the
University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide from 1958-1983 and is one of the top college football coaches in college football history with 323
victories and six national championships. Five weeks after retiring as head
coach, he died of a heart attack.
Bryant left a legacy that
encompassed more than 37 winning seasons overall and five Associated Press
national championships at Alabama.
Plans are for museum to be located across
Main Street from the site of the Lyric Theater, where Bryant had his legendary
encounter with a carnival bear, thus earning him his nickname. According to
Agnes Phillips of the Dallas County Museum, those involved in the planning
process will receive advice from officials at the Paul W. Bryant Museum, which
is located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Fordyce was home to many famous coaches
along with Bryant including Larry Lacewell, Jimmy “Red” Parker and Houston
Nutt Sr. Photo by Jerry Lodriguss/The Times-Picayune.