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Robert Lee Dodd vs Paul Bear Bryant

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • May. 13, 2022 - 3:36 PM

Robert Lee Dodd vs Paul Bear Bryant

At one time there was no hotter rivalry in the South than Alabama and Georgia Tech.

At one time there was no hotter rivalry in the South than Alabama and Georgia Tech.

Both Tech and Bama were viewed as top programs and many times the SEC Championship came down to which team won that game.

Tech and Alabama have played 52 times and the record is Alabama 28 wins, Georgia Tech 21 wins and 3 ties. In the 1950s Bobby Dodd held the edge with 6 wins in the series. But with Bear Bryant coming home in 1958 the series turned to Alabama’s favor.

Even with the Bear, the crafty Dodd always gave Alabama as much as they got, and Bryant always felt he had to bring his best game.

In 1962, the game was to be played in Atlanta at Grant Field. Before the game Bryant had invited a recruit, Kim King, to come and visit him in his hotel room at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

The hotel was the one that used to be located across North Avenue on the South side of the stadium and you could see the field if you were in a higher room. On that day the Bear had one of those rooms.

At the time Alabama was coming off a National Championship and was undefeated going into that November game. Bear said to Kim King.

“It’s raining, It’s a sloppy field. This is Dodd’s weather. He’ll figure out a way to play in this weather. He knows how to win in this kind of weather.”

Tales from the Georgia Tech sideline. Kim King

Dodd did win 7-6 and it was the only victory he would have over a Bear Bryant-coached Alabama team. Many Tech fans felt it was revenge for what was known as the Chick Graning affair. The prior year an Alabama player had delivered an illegal blow in the face to Chick Graning. No penalty was called but the hit was violent, and Graning had several facial bones broken.

For those that might not remember, Kim King, the young lefthander, went on to Tech to become a starting quarterback and later became the color analyst for the Tech radio broadcast for some 30 years. He broadcasted with Al Ciraldo and later Wes Durham.

In that same year, 1962, was the story in the Saturday evening post about the Bear and Wally Butts, the coach at UGA, about how they fixed a game for betting purposes. The court case went before the Supreme Court and the Bear won.

The fine, some say, lead to the end of the Saturday Evening Post.

As for the legendary game between Georgia Tech and Alabama, it went on for two more years. Alabama won in both 1963 and 1964.

During the 1964 game, the Bear came out with his team and wore a football helmet as he was fearful of the Tech students, who sat behind the opposing team at the time, hurling a whiskey bottle at him. Unfortunately, in 1962 there were a few thrown at him.

1964 would see the end of the rivalry as Georgia Tech announced that they would be leaving the SEC and becoming an independent program. Coach Dodd and the Tech Administration named the passing of the 140 rule as the reason why.

The 140 rule allowed football and basketball to have 140 scholarship players combined. In addition, Tech stated that Alabama would cut players and not honor their scholarships, something Dodd did not do.

The two teams would not meet again until 1979 and 1981. In 1979 Alabama and Bear Bryant shellacked Tech 30-6. However, in 1981 Georgia Tech went into Tuscaloosa and defeated the number 2 ranked Tide 24-21.

It would be Tech’s only win of that season. The two teams are scheduled to play again in 2030 and 2031 in a home and home series.

Richard Proctor, born in Newnan, recently moved back from Denver, Colorado, and is an avid college football fan as well as a published author. He is the son of Dr. Ernest Proctor PAPP Clinic.