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Iron Bowl events in 1957 brought the rivalry to a new level that lasted for years

The Iron Bowl rivalry between Auburn University and the University of Alabama “has long been reckoned as one of the most heated, if not the most heated, of collegiate rivalries in the country.”1


Since Alabama and Auburn played their first football game at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, Alabama on February 22, 1893, the matchup has been intense but the events that took place in 1957 brought the rivalry to a new level that would last for many exciting years.

Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama ca. 1939 (ADAH)Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama ca. 1940 postcard (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Auburn won in a shutout in 1957

The December 1, 1957, headlines from the Gadsden Times screamed Auburn Blasts ‘Bama With 40-0 TD Spree.

The story continued as follows:

Tigers Capture First SEC Title In Easy Romp

Undisputed No. 1 Spot in U.S. Seen

By Don Cox, Times Sports Editor

LEGION FIELD, BIRMINGHAM, Nov. 30 –

Mighty Auburn raked in all the chips here today before 45,000 shivering fans by pounding the once-proud Alabama Crimson Tide through the mud of Legion Field 40-0. The defeat was one of the worst ever administered in the series which was resumed in 1948, and virtually assured Coach Ralph (Shug) Jordan’s Tigers their first national championship. It certainly gave the Plainsmen their first Southeastern Conference title. . .

The year 1957 was Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s seventh year as head coach at Auburn. “Auburn was recognized as national champions by the AP Poll even though they were on probation and did not participate in a bowl game. Ohio State was named the national champion by the Coaches’ Poll.This was the first of only two times in the history of the AP championship that it was awarded to a team on probation not allowed to participate in a bowl game (it would occur again in 1974 with Oklahoma)”. 2

ralph-shug-jordan-wikipediaCoach Ralph (Shug) Jordan

Last year for Coach Whitworth of University of Alabama

In the football section of the Gadsden Times on December 1st, was a story with the headline Whitworth Era Ends At ‘Bama. The Iron Bowl game on November 30th was the last game for Coach J. B. “Ears” Whitworth. The article by James W. Smith, Jr., Times Staff Writer, recorded his last day as follows:

LEGION FIELD, BIRMINGHAM, Nov. 30 – Darkness was seeping into this chilly, wind-swept stadium as the University of Alabama said goodbye to J. B. (Ears) Whitworth. This was his last day as head football coach at his alma mater, and it was the most heart-breaking of his three-year reign at the school where he won fame as a player, Auburn had just drubbed the Crimson Tide, 40-0, the biggest score posted against a ‘Bama squad since 1951.

Whitworth bowed out with four victories, 24 losses, and two ties in three years. His contract expired at midnight. He did not ask for the contract to be renewed. . . (In the dressing room) Very little was said. Very little could be said. Alabama players think Whitworth is the “finest guy we ever saw.” Whitworth thinks the ‘Bama squad is “the swellest boys I ever coached.”

As darkness descended on the now-empty stadium, an era ended.

j-b-whitworth-alabama-football-coach-wikipediaCoach J. B. (Ears) Whitworth

The Beginning of Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant era

Next to the article on the departure of Coach Whitworth in the same newspaper was a small article from Houston, Texas with the headline

No Announcement Forthcoming, Says Alabama’s Choice

The article stated the following:

Texas A&M Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant said today “We’re thrilled to death and highly honored to play Tennessee” in the Gator Bowl. Texas A&M was selected today to play Dec. 28 in Jacksonville, Fla. He said he had “no announcement to make at this time” concerning his rumored move to Alabama and added that he did not know of any announcement coming up in the near future. Bryant, who earlier said he did not know whether he would replace J. B. Whitworth at Alabama still has seven years left on his contract with Texas A&M.

At the close of the 1957 season, having compiled an overall 25–14–2 record at Texas A&M, Bryant returned to Tuscaloosa to take the head coaching position, succeeding J.B. “Ears” Whitworth, as well as the athletic director job at Alabama “The Tide was 5-4-1 in Bryant’s first season. The next year, in 1959, Alabama beat Auburn and appeared in a bowl game, the first time either had happened in the last six years. In 1961, under his leadership, with quarterback Pat Trammell and football greats Lee Roy Jordan and Billy Neighbors, Alabama went 11–0 and defeated Arkansas 10-3 in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national championship.”3

Bear BryantCoach Paul (Bear) Bryant

Both Coaches successful

Both coaches, Ralph (Shug) Jordan and Paul (Bear) Bryant, were so successful in their careers at their respective Universities that the college stadiums were named after them, Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The The Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship Program is also named in honor of these two great coaches – Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan of Auburn and Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama. Both of these men had high work ethic and strived to instill in students commitment and academics as well as athletics.

1Wikipedia

2Wikipedia

3Wikipedia

Discordance:: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America. This Cottingham family’s descendants migrated and settled in Bibb County, Alabama.

Discordance:: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) (Kindle Edition)


By (author):  Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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3 comments

  1. Harold Prather

    I graduated from Auburn the following June.

  2. Doug Holland

    Why you got to post a game we got shut out in did pat get a hold of you????

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