Alabama Hometown

Steadman Shealy quarterbacked Bama to national cha

Almost every city and town in Alabama has a history of having sent young men to The University of Alabama to play football. From time-to-time we will take a look back at the men from a town or city and their impact on the Crimson Tide.

Recently there was some discussion of Phenix City, which lies close to Auburn but which has sent many fine players to Bama. There is more recent talk of the "pipeline" that has been sending players from Prattville to Tuscaloosa.

There are no current Alabama players from Dothan, but that city in Southeast Alabama has sent many outstanding players to perform for the Crimson Tide.

Perhaps the most famous Alabama player from Dothan was Johnny Mack Brown, a star on Alabama's first Rose Bowl team and later a star in cowboy movies. Brown, who was a halfback in Bama's Notre Dame box formation under Coach Wallace Wade, was a two-time All-Southern Conference player. In Alabama's first-ever bowl game, the 1926 Rose Bowl against heavily-favored Washington, he caught touchdown passes from Grant Gillis (59 yards) and Pooley Hubert (62 yards) in the Crimson Tide's 20-19 victory. It was reported that he spent much time posing for photographs and newsreels while the team was in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, and following his Bama football career he was offered a movie contract. Later Alabama football teams going to the Rose Bowl were hosted by Brown at his California ranch.

Brown had brothers who played for the Crimson Tide, including halfbacks Tolbert "Red" Brown in 1926-27 and Billy in 1928.

Alabama's last national championship under Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was engineered by quarterback Steadman Shealy of Dothan. Shealy was a nifty wishbone operator who went on to be the host of Bryant's Sunday television program and served as a Bama graduate assistant while earning his law degree.

Bryant had two teammates in his Alabama career who were from Dothan, halfback members of the 1935 team that won the Rose Bowl. They were Joe Riley and Young Boozer. Boozer would remain a lifelong friend and business associate of Bryant.

Kevin Jackson was an All-America strong safety in 1996 when he had seven interceptions, best in the Southeastern Conference and third best in the nation. He played two years at Bama after a junior college career and had 12 interceptions for the Tide.

Larry Roberts, a defensive tackle who played for Alabama on Bryant's final team in 1982, then starred for Ray Perkins' squads in 1983-85, went on to a very fine professional career, playing eight years with the San Francisco 49ers.

Based on Alabama's list of lettermen, the first Dothan native to play for Alabama was tackle W.A. Barnes in 1912. The most recent was wide receiver/defensive back Hirchel Bolden, who finished his career in 2002.

Relying strictly on the lettermen's list is not likely to give a complete history of players. Those who follow such things remember with amazement an Alabama player earning a letter under Coach Mike DuBose after he held for one point after touchdown kick. That player later quit the team. Old-timers tell of players who would start much of the season, but not be awarded letters.

Historically, any player who stays on the squad for four years, even if he never plays, receives a letter. Not many fans would remember placekicker Alan Lopez of Dothan, but he is listed as a 1987 letterman.

The Browns weren't the only brother combinations from Dothan to play for Alabama. In the late 1960s Steve 1967-70) land Tommy (1971-72) Wade, were Alabama defensive backs. And one of their teammates from Dothan was halfback Wayne Adkinson, 1970-72.

George Weeks was an end, 1940-42. Jim Burkett was a fine fullback, 1949-50, while Jim Loftin was a good halfback on poor Tide teams in 1956 and 1957. Gary Martin was a halfback on early Bryant teams, 1961-63.

Edgar Walker was a defensive end, 1995-97.

One of the best and most popular players from Dothan was former Alabama nose tackle Gus White, who played in 1974-76.

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