On January 26, 1983, one of the legendary titans of college athletics in Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant passed away due to a massive heart attack.

One of the saddest days in Alabama Crimson Tide history left in its wake scores of memories and a shadow that numerous successors to Coach Bryant struggled to handle.

During a time of transition for Alabama football, another coach was beginning to make his mark on Alabama basketball.

At the time of Bryant’s passing, Wimp Sanderson was in the middle of his third season at the helm of the Crimson Tide men’s basketball program.

Legendary Alabama basketball coach and co-host of Inside the Locker Room Wimp Sanderson reminisced about the day that Coach Bryant died and its immediate aftermath.

Sanderson recounted the days leading up to Coach Bryant’s death including a Monday meeting with Bryant and the events that led to his eventual death.

During the week of January 26, 1983, Alabama basketball faced one of their stiffest tests of the season with a trip to top-ranked UCLA. Days prior to the game and around the time that Coach Bryant passed away, Coach Wimp Sanderson recalled the message that Paul Bryant, Jr., gave him about playing the game.

“Papa (Coach Paul Bryant) would have wanted you to play.” Sanderson mentioned.

Two days after Bryant’s passing, Sanderson’s Crimson Tide basketball team upset No. 1 UCLA 70-67.

Later on in the show, Coach Sanderson touched on how he reached out to Coach Bryant’s family as well as the task that Ray Perkins faced in succeeding Bryant as football coach and director of athletics.

Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the radioPup app.

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