50 Classes of the ASHOF

Class of 1969

Published Friday, May 19, 2017 5:00 pm

On April 28, 2018, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame will induct its 50th Class.  In celebration of this milestone, we will be sending an email out each week, over the next 50 weeks, beginning with the Inaugural Class of 1969, and culminating with the

Class of 2018.

This is the 1st of 50 Classes of the ASHOF

Class of 1969

Joseph Louis Barrow Johnny Mack Brown  Paul William "Bear" Bryant Michael J. Donahue
James Franklin Hitchcock Donald Hutson James Ralph "Shug" Jordan Frank W. Thomas


Joseph Louis Barrow

Joseph Louis Barrow was born May 13, 1914, near LaFayette, Alabama, in a tenant shack on Buckalew Mountain. He became Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber. On June 22, 1937, Joe KO'd Jim Braddock to become the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He had lost to Max Schmeling in June of 1936. In 1938, at Yankee Stadium, Louis got vengeance 2:04 into the first round. He retired March 1, 1949, with a record of 68 wins, 3 losses and 54 knockouts. He had defended his title on 24 occasions. Joe tried to come out of retirement twice; Ezzard Charles prevented it in 1950, and Rocky Marciano stopped him in 1951. Joe passed away April 22, 1981. President Ronald Reagan presented to Joe posthumously the American's Award on May 11, 1984.

Johnny Mack Brown

Johnny Mack Brown was born September 1, 1904 in Dothan, Alabama. At the University of Alabama he was a star football player who helped the Crimson Tide to national prominence in the 1926 Rose Bowl. He scored twice on passes from Grant Gillis and Pooley Hubert to defeat Washington 20-19. The "Dothan Antelope" was known for multiple scoring performances and was All-Southern for three years. Johnny Mack went on to become just as bright a star in western movies as he had been in football. He was enshrined in the National Football Hall of Fame in 1957. He passed away November 14, 1974.

Paul "Bear" Bryant

Paul William "Bear" Bryant was born on September 11, 1913, in Kingsland, Arkansas.He earned the nickname "Bear" after he wrestled a live bear for $5.00 in Fordyce, Arkansas. He was recruited to play football at Alabama and became "the other end" across from Don Hutson. After coaching jobs at Vanderbilt, Maryland, Kentucky and Texas A&M, he returned to his alma mater in 1958. Over the next 24 years Bryant's Crimson Tide won six national championships (61-64-65-73-78-79); he was the National Coach of the Year three times, as well as, SEC Coach of the Year eight times. In 1981 he became football's winningest coach with 315 victories. He finished his career with 323 victories. Coach Bryant died January 26, 1983.

Michael J. Donahue

Michael J. Donahue was born June 14, 1876 in County Kerry, Ireland. As a Yale University athlete, he starred in football, basketball, boxing, track and cross-country running. In 1904 he went to Auburn to coach football. In his 19 years as head football coach, the Tigers had a record of 101-37-5. They were undefeated four years, lost one game only in two years and were four time Southern Champions between 1904 and 1922.  He was one of the first coaches to install the forward pass in southern football, using it against Sewanee on October 26, 1906, at West End Park in Birmingham. He was the first coach or player from Auburn to be enshrined in the National Football Hall of Fame.  Coach Donahue passed away December 11, 1960.

James Franklin Hitchcock

James Franklin Hitchcock was born June 28, 1911 in Inverness, Alabama. This triple threat-running, passing, punting-was to become Auburn's first All-American. In 1932 he scored 71 points and was captain of the unbeaten Southern Champions. During his college career he punted 232 times without having one blocked. Later he played professional baseball and during the off-season would return to his alma mater to assist Coach Meagher. He continued his interest in football and became one of the top officials in the SEC. In 1954 he was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame and in 1966 to the Helms Football HOF. Hitchcock passed away June 24, 1959.

Don Hutson

Donald Hutson was born January 31, 1913 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  He attended the University of Alabama from 1932 to 1935, earned All-Southern and All-American honors, starred in the Rose Bowl and made a place for himself on the "All-Time Alabama Team". He played professional football eleven years for the Green Bay Packers; he led the NFL in scoring five years with 138 points in one year and a career total of 823. During those years Green Bay won 87 games.  He was a perennial All-Pro and later became a charter member of both the college and professional Football Halls of Fame. Hutson passed away June 26, 1997.

James Ralph "Shug" Jordan

James Ralph "Shug" Jordan was born September 25, 1910, in Selma, Alabama. As an Auburn athlete, he was called "Lefty" because that's how he pitched, shot baskets and snapped the football. After graduation, he stayed on with the Auburn coaching staff until World War II interrupted. After moving to the Miami Seahawks and the University of Georgia for a few years, Jordan returned to his alma mater. The Jordan Era began in 1951. His teams won 175 games, 24 without a loss from 1956-58, won a national championship in 1957 and went to 12 bowls before he retired in 1975. "Shug" produced 20 All-Americans; he coached Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan and Outland Trophy recipient Zeke Smith. Coach Jordan died July 18, 1980.

Frank W. Thomas

Frank W. Thomas was born November 15, 1898, in Muncie, Indiana. He was a four time letterman at Washington High in East Chicago, Illinois. After two years at Western Sate College, Thomas went to quarterback for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame from 1920 to 1922. He roomed with George Gipp and broke in the "Four Horsemen."  After coming south to coach at Georgia and Chattanooga, Thomas was recruited for Alabama by Wallace Wade in 1931. When he retired in 1946, Coach Thomas had led the Crimson Tide to four undefeated seasons, three Rose Bowls, one Sugar, one Cotton and one Orange Bowl. The only team to play in all four recognized Bowls in those days and in consecutive years. His record was 115-24-7 with two National Championship Teams. He was elected to the Helms Hall of Fame in 1951 and the National Football Hall of Fame in 1952.  Coach Thomas passed away May 11, 1954.