Council votes to rename campus streets after UA coaches

Katherine Martin

The Tuscaloosa City council voted Tuesday in favor of renaming three roads near Bryant-Denny Stadium after former Alabama football coaches.

The vote allows the council to rename 12th, 13th and 14th avenues between University Boulevard and Paul W. Bryant Drive after coaches Frank Thomas, Harold “Red” Drew and Gene Stallings.

“We have recognized several of our coaches that have accomplished a lot at the University in our city and we feel like these gentlemen deserve the same,” said Councilman Lee Garrison, whose district includes the University’s campus.

Members of the community approached Garrison about renaming other streets after UA coaches after the football team won the national championship in January, according to a Tuscaloosa News article.

As of now, there are two streets named after former coaches. Paul W. Bryant Drive was named in 1983 and 10th Avenue was renamed Wallace Wade Avenue in 1998, according to the article.

“By renaming the roads, I think this could bring even more excitement to the 2010 football season,” Garrison said.

Garrison said he plans to have the signs up before the first home game on Sept. 4. The street names will be placed in chorological order from when the coaches coached at the University.

12th Avenue will become Frank Thomas Avenue after coach Thomas, who coached the Tide from 1931 to 1946. Thomas won four bowl games, including two Rose Bowl games, while head coach at Alabama.

13th Avenue will become Red Drew Avenue, after the Alabama head coach from 1947 to 1954. Drew won the 1953 Orange Bowl and the 1953 SEC Championship while at Alabama.

14th Avenue will be renamed Gene Stallings Avenue in honor of Stallings who coached at the University from 1990 to 1996. Stallings led the Tide in an undefeated season in 1992, winning the University’s 20th SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl.

Mal Moore, athletic director for the University said the University appreciates the council’s decision to rename the streets.

“On behalf of the families of Coaches Thomas, Drew and Stallings, they are very proud of this gesture,” Moore said.

Councilman Bobby Howard said he was glad to see the city of Tuscaloosa acknowledge the coaches’ past accomplishments.

“A lot of things should have been recognized when they were noteworthy, Howard said. “Now we have the opportunity to honor their success.”

Robert Drew, son of former coach Drew, was present at the ceremony along with other members of the Drew family. He said the family appreciates the council renaming the streets.

“We will cherish it the rest of our lives,” Drew said.

Councilman Harrison Taylor said he was proud to be a part of the ceremony that honored the coaches.

“This is part of making this city a city of champions,” Taylor said.