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Original Issue

The Bear Bryant Hilton


Football may not be king at the University of Alabama, but it lives like one in the ultimate of athletic dormitories. Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant's palace-away-from-home for proven players cost $1 million when completed in the spring of 1963. Brick colonial on the exterior, Italian provincial inside, the dorm is fully air-conditioned and houses 130 boys, two to a spacious room (upper right), 100 of them football players, 20 basketball, six baseball and four track men. Golfers, tennis players or swimmers might qualify "if they're winners," says Publicist Charley Thornton. The dorm has a library, two study rooms, a recreation room, a TV room with a 23-inch color television set, and two full-time dieticians to make the dining room hours (opposite) pass heartily. Steak is served every night and twice on Saturday. There are four luxury guest rooms for visiting mamas and papas. A swimming pool is to be added off the back (it was not put in immediately because, as Coach Bryant's wife said, "some people might think it a bit much") and Bryant has ordered a fountain for the front lawn. Last April the state legislature named the dorm Paul W. Bryant Hall, but it may be having second thoughts. Already this season Alabama has lost, and some legislators may be wondering if life has not become just a little too soft in Paul W. Bryant Hall.

It could be the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. It is, in fact, the entrance foyer of the athletes' dorm, where players and a proud Paul Bryant pose among marble columns, Italian lanterns and prints of Roman ruins.