Learning the ABCs of Alabama Crimson Tide Football: "I"

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Learning the ABCs of Alabama Crimson Tide Football:

When some people hear the name Hootie, they think of the 1990s band Hootie and the Blowfish. Others may recall Hootie Johnson, the former chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.

Mention Hootie to Alabama fans, and they may recall former player and athletic director Hootie Ingram.

Cecil W. "Hootie" Ingram grew up in the shadows of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In high school, Ingram earned All-State honors in football, All-District recognition in basketball and played in a high school baseball All-Star game.

Remaining in Tuscaloosa, Ingram was also a multi-sport athlete at Alabama in football and as a second baseman on the baseball squad. He made his presence known during his sophomore campaign in 1952, earning All-Southeastern Conference honors after his 10 interceptions led the NCAA. His 10 interceptions and 163 return yards remain single-season school records.  

Northern fans learned why Ingram was arguably one of the best defensive backs in the SEC. Facing Syracuse in the Orange Bowl, Ingram intercepted a pass and returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the Crimson Tide's 61-6 rout of the Orangemen. Alabama finished the season 10-2.

Despite his success on defense, Ingram was moved to offense for his junior and senior seasons. As a junior in 1953, Ingram and future Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr shared quarterback duties. He also saw action that season at halfback. Alabama finished the season 6-3-3, including a 28-6 loss to Rice in the Cotton Bowl.

As a senior, Ingram was at halfback for the entire 4-5-2 campaign. His highlight of the season was a 68-yard touchdown run in the 12-0 win over LSU.  

After graduating from Alabama, Ingram was drafted in 1955 by Philadelphia but never played a game in the NFL. Instead, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After his one-year in the Army, Ingram was hired as an assistant coach for Manatee High School in Florida. He was head coach for a pair Alabama high schools from 1957 to 1959 before serving as an assistant coach at Wake Forest (1960), Virginia Tech (1961-1963), Georgia (1964-1966) and Arkansas (1967-1969).

Ingram finally earned his first collegiate head coaching position at Clemson in December 1969. Unfortunately, the Tigers struggled to a 12-21 record in his three seasons from 1970 to 1972. Ingram's most lasting contribution to the Clemson football program was the introduction of the "tiger paw" logo.

For the remainder of the 1970s, Ingram was an assistant and associate commissioner for the SEC. Then in January 1981, he was hired as the athletic director at Florida State. During Ingram's tenure from 1981 to 1989, the Seminoles won 31 conference championships and five national championships in softball, women's golf and women's indoor and outdoor track.

In September 1989, Ingram accepted the opportunity to return to his hometown when he was named  Alabama's athletic director. He hired Gene Stallings as head coach on Jan. 11, 1990, and two years later, Stallings led the Crimson Tide to the 1992 national championship.

While Ingram experienced the highest level of success, he left in disgrace. In August 1995, Ingram resigned as athletic director after his involvement in activities that led to NCAA rules violations. Alabama was subsequently placed on probation for three years.

Despite his less than glorious resignation as Alabama athletic director, Ingram has received numerous awards. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the following year was named to Alabama's "Team of the Century." Ingram was selected to the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award in 2007.

So, when Alabama fans think of a more famous Hootie, they probably won't be singing "Only Want to Be With You." They'll remember the athletic and administrative achievements of Hootie Ingram.     

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