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Days after heart attack, Gene Stallings hopes to attend Alabama-Texas A&M

Gene Stallings
JASON GETZ/USA TODAY SPORTS

When Texas A&M reunites its 1967 conference championship team against Alabama Saturday, one special guest hopes to attend despite a major health scare.

Former Aggies and Crimson Tide coach Gene Stallings hopes to attend Saturday’s game at Kyle Field despite suffering a heart attack a week ago, declaring his plans in an interview with Rick Karle of Birmingham TV station WBRC:

Stallings led the Aggies to the Southwest Conference championship in 1967, the third year of his eight-year stint in College Station. He finished Texas A&M’s season that year by beating Alabama, then under Stallings’ former coach Bear Bryant, in the Cotton Bowl.

The school is planning to honor the members of that team in a special reunion ceremony Saturday to mark 50 years since the Aggies’ SWC title.

During that season, Texas A&M lost its first four games against SMU, Purdue, LSU and Florida State. But the Aggies rallied to win the next seven, including victories over bitter rival Texas (then entering a budding dynasty under head coach Darrell Royal) and an Arkansas squad just three years removed from an undefeated season.

As Alabama fans remember well, Stallings returned to Tuscaloosa in 1990 after 18 years in the NFL, leading the Crimson Tide to its first championship since Bryant’s retirement. Alabama defeated Miami to win the Sugar Bowl and the national title after the 1992 season.

The heart attack is the most recent health issue for the 82-year-old Stallings, who also suffered a stroke earlier this year.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said on his radio show Thursday that he hopes all Alabama fans “have a thought and a prayer for Coach Stallings and his family.”

 

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