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Gene Stallings facts for kids

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Gene Stallings
Gene Stallings 2009.jpg
Stallings in 2009
Personal information
Date of birth (1935-03-02) March 2, 1935 (age 88)
Place of birth Paris, Texas
Career information
College Texas A&M
High school Paris
College Football Hall of Fame

Eugene Clifton Stallings Jr. (born March 2, 1935) is a retired American football player and coach. He played college football at Texas A&M University (1954–1956), where he was one of the "Junction Boys", and later served as the head coach at his alma mater from 1965 to 1971. Stallings was also the head coach of the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals of the National Football League (1986–1989) and at the University of Alabama (1990–1996). Stallings' 1992 Alabama team completed a 13–0 season with a win in the Sugar Bowl over Miami and was named the consensus national champion. Stallings was also a member of the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach on July 16, 2011.

Early years and playing career

Stallings was born in Paris, Texas. He attended Paris High School, where he played end as a sophomore alongside future NFL star, Raymond Berry. During his junior and senior year, Stallings was the captain of the football, basketball, and golf teams. He was recruited to Texas A&M University to play college football by then-head coach Raymond George.

At Texas A&M, Stallings was a member of the famed Junction Boys under head coach Bear Bryant. In 1956, he helped the team finish 9–0–1 and capture its first Southwest Conference championship since 1939. Stallings received his Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Texas A&M in 1957.

Coaching career

University of Alabama

In 1958, Stallings joined Bear Bryant's original staff at the University of Alabama as a defensive assistant. He was on hand for two of Alabama's national championship seasons, in 1961 and 1964.

Texas A&M University

Shortly after helping Alabama win the 1964 national title, Stallings was named the head coach of his alma mater, Texas A&M, at the age of 29. He coached the Aggies for seven seasons compiling a record of 27–45–1. During his tenure, the Aggies won the Southwest Conference in 1967, Stallings' only winning season at A&M. At the end of that season Stallings led Texas A&M to a victory over Alabama and mentor Bear Bryant in the Cotton Bowl. With the university only recently going co-ed, its military focus and the ongoing war in Vietnam, A&M struggled to recruit against its Southwest Conference rivals. He was fired at A&M following the 1971 season.

Dallas Cowboys

In 1972, Stallings joined the staff of the Dallas Cowboys as Tom Landry's secondary coach. He remained with the Cowboys for 14 seasons, and helped them win Super Bowl XII.

St. Louis / Phoenix Cardinals

In 1986, Stallings was named the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. In parts of four seasons, Stallings compiled a 23–34–1 record with the Cardinals and was the head coach during the franchise's move to Arizona. In 1987, the franchise's final season in St. Louis, the Cardinals rallied from a 28–3 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31–28, the largest fourth quarter comeback in NFL history. The Cardinals used the comeback to springboard themselves into position to clinch a playoff berth on the final Sunday of the season, but fell short with a 21–16 loss at Dallas.

The Cardinals' relocation from St. Louis to Arizona was approved on March 15, 1988.

In 1988, the Cardinals pulled off another miracle comeback, rallying from a 23–0 deficit against the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers for a 24–23 victory. Phoenix was 7–4 and in first place in the NFC East but collapsed, losing their final five games, including two to the division champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The 1989 season started with road victories at Detroit and Seattle, but injuries derailed any playoff hopes. With five games remaining in the 1989 season, Stallings announced that he would resign at the end of the season. Believing Stallings would be a distraction, general manager Larry Wilson ordered Stallings to leave immediately and named assistant Hank Kuhlmann as interim coach for the rest of the season. The Cardinals lost all five games under Kuhlmann and finished 5–11, the first of four consecutive seasons in which the team would lose at least 11 games.

University of Alabama

Stallings returned to Alabama as head coach in 1990. His first team finished with a 7–5 record, including a 34–7 loss to Louisville in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. Following Harold Drew, Stallings became only the second Alabama head coach since the renewal of the Iron Bowl in 1948 to defeat Auburn in his first attempt; Dennis Franchione became the third in 2001. Stallings' 1991 squad finished the season with an 11–1 record, including a 30–25 victory over Colorado in the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl.

In 1992, Stallings' experienced defensive unit led the team to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the first SEC Championship Game where Alabama defeated Florida, 28–21, giving Alabama its 20th Southeastern Conference (SEC) title, and its first outright conference title since 1979. Following a 34–13 victory over heavily favored Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to cap a perfect 13–0 season and the first Bowl Coalition national championship—their first national title since 1979.

In 1993, Stallings' squad won a second straight SEC West Division title, compiling a 9–3–1 record. However, the Tide lost to Florida in the SEC Championship Game. In 1994, Stallings' team finished the regular season with a record of 11–0, an 8–0 record in the SEC, and captured its third straight SEC West Division title. However, they lost the SEC title game for the second year in a row to Florida. Alabama finished the 1994 season with a 12–1 record, including a 24–17 victory over Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl.

After an investigation that ran from late 1993 to August 1995, the NCAA found Alabama guilty of four major rules violations during the 1993 season. Stallings was implicated, along with athletic director Hootie Ingram, in falsifying the eligibility of Alabama cornerback Antonio Langham during that season. Langham had signed with a sports agent and applied to enter the NFL Draft following the 1993 Sugar Bowl, but was not subsequently declared ineligible per NCAA rules. Alabama officials only declared him ineligible the week before the 1993 SEC title game. As a result, Alabama's football program was placed on three years probation, and docked a total of 30 scholarships from 1995 to 1998. Alabama was also forced to forfeit eight wins and one tie from its 9–3–1 1993 season in which Langham participated, resulting in an official record of 1–12. The Crimson Tide were also barred from postseason competition, including the SEC Championship Game and bowl games, during the 1995 season.

Alabama went 8–3 in 1995, the only season between 1992 and 1996 that Stallings didn't win the SEC West (Auburn finished first in the division in 1993 but was serving a post-season ban). Arkansas won the West title in 1995, with a last second touchdown against the Tide to claim their first ever victory over Alabama. However, the Tide would have been ineligible for the SEC Championship Game or a bowl game regardless as a result of the NCAA sanctions.

In 1996, Stallings' team won ten games and earned a berth in the SEC Championship Game, where they lost again to Florida, which eventually won the national title that season. Stallings announced on November 23, 1996 that he would resign at the end of the season. He completed his tenure at Alabama with a 17–14 win over Michigan in the 1997 Outback Bowl on January 1, 1997. Stallings compiled an official record at Alabama of 62–25 . The lost scholarships as a result of the 1995 infractions case, however, would hobble the Tide for several years to come; they would only win eight or more games three times between Stallings' departure and Nick Saban's arrival in 2007, and would also suffer four of its only five losing seasons since Bryant's arrival.

Outside football


Stallings married Ruth Ann Jack after his graduation from Texas A&M. The couple went on to have five children: Anna Lee, Laurie, John Mark, Jackie, and Martha Kate. As a result of John Mark being born with Down syndrome, and a congenital heart defect, Stallings became heavily involved in projects promoting better education and quality of life for the developmentally disabled; the two appeared in a 1987 NFL public service announcement for the United Way. Following Stallings's retirement, he moved back to the Paris area with his wife and son to establish Hike-A-Way Ranch, a working cattle ranch in Powderly, Texas.

Board leadership

Stallings serves on many boards, including formerly on President George W. Bush's Commission on Intellectual Disability. In addition, Stallings served on the board of Abilene Christian University. Other boards include Tandy Corporation, People's National Bank of Paris, Paris Regional Medical Center, Disability Resources, the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Association, the Great Southern Wood Corporation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Paris, Texas.

Stallings was appointed to the Texas A&M Board of Regents by Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2005. He served on the Committee on Audit and the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs. Stallings was chair of the Policy Review Committee and a member of the Special Committee on Educational Access. His term expired on February 1, 2011.


Stallings co-wrote the book Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son (ISBN: 0-316-81196-3) with AP journalist Sally Cook, which described his and his family's relationship with only son John Mark Stallings. John Mark, also known as "Johnny," was a dedicated follower of his father's career, a longtime Crimson Tide fan, and a tour guide in the Crimson Tide facilities. John Mark died on August 2, 2008, due to a congenital heart condition; in 2009, an updated paperback edition of the book was published with added material on the final years of John Mark's life. Two facilities at the University of Alabama were named for the younger Stallings: the Stallings Center that serves as home to the RISE Center for young children with disabilities, in 1994, and the equipment room in the University of Alabama football building in 2005. Most recently, Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, named its new football and soccer field after John Mark Stallings on October 8, 2010, an honor that had been planned prior to his death two years before:

The sports world lost a legend on Aug. 2 in Paris, Texas.

He's the son of a Junction Boy, which makes him a grandson of Bear Bryant. At the same time, he's both a son of Aggieland and a son of Alabama.

Gene Stallings' son, John Mark "Johnny" Stallings, touched a lot of lives in his 46 years, melting even the hardest hearts of the toughest athletes to play for Gene in college at Texas A&M, Alabama or in the NFL with the Cowboys and Cardinals.

And Johnny never strapped on the pads for a single play. ... Johnny made his difference by showing everyone he met, and even those he didn't, that someone with Down syndrome or a disability could make a difference in this world. ... With help from four sisters, the Stallings family raised a man who has become a legend in Alabama for his smile and his positive outlook on life. ...

The outpouring of love given to the Stallings family over the past week is a direct reflection of the love one man had for life and everyone he met. We should all be so lucky to live like that.

Awards and honors

Stallings received a number of national coaching awards in 1992 and was the SEC Coach of the Year twice, in 1992 and 1994. In 2000, Stallings was awarded Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University. He was awarded the Legends Award from the All Sports Association in Dallas in 2001. Stallings has also received many humanitarian awards, including the Arthritis Humanitarian Award of Alabama, National Boys Club Alumni of the Year, Dallas Father of the Year, Humanitarian Award of the Lion's Club of Alabama, and Paris Boys Club Wall of Honor.

Stallings has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas A&M Hall of Fame, Gator Bowl Hall of Fame and Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. He also received an honorary doctoral degree from Harding University.

Gene Stallings' involvement in the disability community, has also been strong. His son, John Mark was born with Trisomy 21, Down syndrome, and Gene Stallings has a school for children with disabilities named after him on the University of Alabama Campus, for which he hosts a charity golf tournament every year. The playground at the school is called the John Mark Stallings Playground.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Texas A&M Aggies (Southwest Conference) (1965–1971)
1965 Texas A&M 3–7 1–6 T–7th
1966 Texas A&M 4–5–1 4–3 4th
1967 Texas A&M 7–4 6–1 1st W Cotton
1968 Texas A&M 3–7 2–5 T–6th
1969 Texas A&M 3–7 2–5 T–6th
1970 Texas A&M 2–9 0–7 8th
1971 Texas A&M 5–6 4–3 4th
Texas A&M: 27–45–1 19–30
Alabama Crimson Tide (Southeastern Conference) (1990–1996)
1990 Alabama 7–5 5–2 T–3rd L Fiesta
1991 Alabama 11–1 6–1 2nd W Blockbuster 5 5
1992 Alabama 13–0 8–0 1st (West) W Sugar 1 1
1993 Alabama 9-3-1 5-2-1 2nd (West) W Gator 13 14
1994 Alabama 12–1 8–0 1st (West) W Florida Citrus 4 5
1995 Alabama 8–3 5–3 T–2nd (West) 21
1996 Alabama 10–3 6–2 T–1st (West) W Outback 11 11
Alabama: 70-16-1 & 43-10-1 &
Total: 89–70–1 &
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth
  • Indicates Bowl Coalition bowl.
  • #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
  • °Rankings from final AP Poll.

*Alabama forfeited eight wins and one tie, after Antonio Langham was ruled ineligible. Unofficial record for 1993 was 9-3-1.
‡ The 1995 Alabama team was on probation and ineligible to win the conference title, to be selected to a bowl, or to be selected in the coaches poll.
& Unofficial Record at Alabama is 70-16-1 (43-11-1 SEC) and unofficial overall record is 97-61-2.


Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SLC 1986 4 11 1 .281 5th in NFC East
SLC 1987 7 8 0 .467 3rd in NFC East
PHO 1988 7 9 0 .438 4th in NFC East
PHO 1989 5 6 0 .438 4th in NFC East
SLC/PHO Total 23 34 1 .405
Total 23 34 1 .405
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