Dude Hennessey was a defensive ends coach under Paul Bryant at Alabama from 1960 through 1976.
“The coaching staff’s cheerleader, its funnybone, its alter ego, its colorful blithe spirit,” was a sportswriter’s description of Dude Hennessey, who coached on four national championship teams. He later served with the Alabama National Alumni Association; as director of the athletics dormitory, Bryant Hall; and as associate director of Tide Pride.
Dude was first connected with Coach Bryant at the University of Kentucky, where Dude was a 150-pound defensive end who lettered four years. He was a starter as a freshman on the 1950 Wildcats team that went 11-1, including a 13-7 upset win over number one ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. He also played in the Cotton Bowl win over TCU following the 1951 season and played on UK teams that went 31-11-3.
After earning his degree in business administration, he coached the Kentucky freshman team for a year, then moved to Sulphur Springs, Texas, as head coach of the high school team in 1957-58. He was head coach at St. Xavier in Louisville, Ky., in 1959, and then came to Alabama.
Among the many players he recruited to Alabama was Ray Perkins, who would later be Bama’s head football coach.
He coached star defensive ends Leroy Cook, John Mitchell, John Croyle, Robin Parkhouse, Creed Gilmer, Mike DuBose, and Mike Ford.
In 2004, Dude accompanied the Crimson Tide to Lexington for the Alabama-Kentucky game. His former teammate, Babe Parilli, was an honorary captain for the Wildcats.
He was born Dec. 23, 1929, in Covington, Ky., and raised in Paris, Ky. by the late John and Mary Catherine Hennessey. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Jack, and by his infant son, John Duke.
Private graveside services Monday, March 7, at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park. Funeral mass 11 a.m. Monday, March 7, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Father Gerald Holloway officiating. The family will receive friends in the parish hall following the service.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carole Fields Hennessey, and her children, Becky Satterfield (Tommy) and John Hulsey; his daughters Haviland Hennessey Smith (John Blue) and Maggie Hennessey Nees, and their mother Sidney Hudson Hennessey; grandchildren Jessica Smith, Ginny Blue Smith, Madeline Nees, Hudson Nees, Lily Nees, Milyn Satterfield; sister Frances Ellen Love; nephew Tony Love; niece Mary Catherine Love; great nephew Jeffery Love; sister-in-law Anne Fields Lewis; and brother-in-law Wallace M. Lewis.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Building Fund, 811 5th Ave., Tuscaloosa AL 35401 or T-Town Paws, 1108 38th St., Tuscaloosa AL 35401.