Paul "Bear" Bryant
Born into poverty on September 11, 1913, in Moro Bottom, Arkansas, Bryant earned some side cash as a teenager, as well as a lifelong nickname, by wrestling a bear on a theater stage in Fordyce, Arkansas. He eventually went on to be an All-American football star at Moro High School and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to the very first SEC championships in 1933 and 1934.
As a coach, Bryant made stops at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M and ultimately his alma mater, Alabama - winning, a lot, wherever he went. He has participated in more bowl games - 31 - than anyone in college football history. He took his 'Bama teams to to a ridiculous 24 consecutive bowl games; a streak that still stands as a national record today. 65 of his players made All-American first teams while 7 more were named Academic All-Americans.