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Tough to Bear
SI.com's Stewart Mandel looks at the checkered tenures of Alabama's six head football coaches since Bear Bryant's retirement in 1982.
1983-86 Ray Perkins (32-15-1)

  Ray Perkins Ray Perkins
Jim Commentucci/Getty Images
The man charged with the unenviable task of replacing college football's greatest coaching legend just months after Bryant died of a heart attack was an All-America receiver on Bryant's 1964 and '65 national championship teams and the head coach of the NFL's New York Giants in the early 1980s. He went 8-4 his first season in Tuscaloosa but began to draw heavy criticism after a 5-6 mark in '84, 'Bama's first losing record in 27 years. He rebounded to go 9-2-1 and 10-3 and was making a salary of $500,000 but grew tired of the rigors of college coaching and the pressure of following in Bryant's footsteps. On New Year's Eve 1986, Perkins returned to the NFL as head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

1987-89 Bill Curry (26-10)

  Bill Curry Bill Curry
Allen Steele/Getty Images
Curry's .722 winning percentage remains the highest of any 'Bama coach since Bear. He won two SEC coach of the year awards and one SEC title. So where did he go wrong? One, the Georgia Tech alum and coach came from outside the 'Bama "family" and from a school that Bryant publicly despised, no less. Secondly, he never beat Auburn. His wife received death threats. After a homecoming loss to Ole Miss in 1988, someone threw a brick through his office window. It also came out in '89 that two-thirds of his players were on academic probation. Despite coming off a 10-2 season, Curry resigned to become coach at fellow SEC school Kentucky, a move many considered a clear step backward. He later blamed a new administration that he said tried to strip him of his authority.

1990-96 Gene Stallings (62-25)

  Gene Stallings Gene Stallings
Rick Stewart/Allsports
A former assistant to Bryant and player on his legendary "Junction Boys" team at Texas A&M, Stallings fit the 'Bama mold perfectly, delivering the school its 12th national title in 1992. Unfortunately, his tenure also produced the Tide's first-ever NCAA probation. An investigation found that boosters had provided loans totaling $24,000 to former player Gene Jelks -- whose audio-taped conversations touched off the scandal -- and that the school failed to declare cornerback Antonio Langham ineligible during the '93 season after he signed with an agent. The Tide had to forfeit their '93 wins, were banned from the '95 postseason and lost scholarships in '96 and '97.

1997-2000 Mike DuBose (24-23)

  Mike Dubose Mike DuBose
Scott Halleran/Allsport
Another former Bryant letterman, DuBose began his tenure dealing with the effects of one probation and ended it embroiled in his own controversies. A month before the start of the 1999 season, DuBose admitted lying about an improper relationship with a female employee, the school settling a sexual harassment claim by the woman for $350,000 and reducing DuBose's pay. DuBose bought himself time when his team went 10-3 and won the SEC championship, but he was fired a year later when the Tide went 3-8. Soon thereafter, the former high school coach for DuBose recruit Albert Means announced that he received $200,000 from boosters to ensure Means signed with 'Bama.

2001-2002 Dennis Franchione (17-8)

  Dennis Franchione Dennis Franchione
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
With the threat of an NCAA investigation looming, 'Bama lured the sought-after Franchione from TCU with a seven-year contract reported to be worth $1.2-$1.4 million annually. In February 2002, the NCAA announced its punishment for the Means incident and other violations: five years probation, a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 21 scholarships over three years. Despite that, Franchione managed to retain every player on the roster and lead the Tide to a 10-3 record in 2002. But he started to make fans nervous when he delayed signing a contract extension and word came that further sanctions could be in the offing. Sure enough, after weeks of rumors that he often vehemently denied, Franchione left for Texas A&M.

2003- Mike Price (0-0)

  Mike Price Mike Price
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Having spent his entire head coaching career in the outposts of Ogden, Utah, and Pullman, Wash., the low-key Price hardly seemed a good fit for the pressure cooker that is Tuscaloosa, and while he'd won two Pac-10 titles at Washington State, the program was not a year-in, year-out power. In his first spring at Alabama, though, Price's wide-open passing offense was greeted with excitement, and his spotless off-field record was welcome at a school still reeling from probation. But then came word in late April -- four months before his first game -- that 'Bama was investigating Price's behavior at a golf tournament in Pensacola, Fla., reportedly involving an expensive visit to a strip club and a woman charging $1,000 in room service to his hotel room.


 
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