Eugene Clifton Stallings (Gene Stallings) was a Junction Boy and proud to be. He ‘survived’ the famous Bear Bryant’s 10-day football camp in the summer of 1954, one of the worst Texas drought years on record. As a legendary coach himself, Bear Bryant taught boys like Gene to become great men.
Gene Stallings began his football career in Paris, Texas, where he played end as a sophomore. Raymond Berry, future football great, played alongside him. Stallings was the captain of the football team and the golf team, and Coach Raymond George courted him to play football at the Texas A&M University. It was his first year at A&M that Stallings was introduced to Bear Bryant.
Gene Stallings proved to be a formidable player and helped lead his team to a 9-0-1 season and a Southwest Conference Championship. His leadership as a teammate translated into great leadership as a coach. He met up with Bear Bryant again at the University of Alabama as a defensive assistant and helped the team there capture two national championships. After several winning seasons under Bear Bryant at Alabama, Stallings returned to his alma mater, A&M. He coached the Texas Aggies for seven seasons with a record of 27-45-1. The Aggies only experienced one Southwest Conference win, in 1967, under Stallings.
Gene Stallings went on to coach with the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry. He stayed with the Cowboys for fourteen seasons and helped them to land the Super Bowl XII winning title. From the Dallas Cowboys he went on to become the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. From there he became the head coach for Alabama. Gene Stallings accumulated a 70-16-1 record during his time at Alabama and the team played in the Citrus Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and won a national championship in 1992. His notoriety still remains for these coaching successes. In fact, you can even find signed 8 X 10 photos of the tall and dark Gene on eBay.
Gene Stallings was also a wonderful father to his son. His child was born with Down’s Syndrome and Stallings has never treated his son as if he were mentally retarded, but he saw his son as a bit of a miracle because he still believed in Santa Claus 100% beyond the age of 26. His coaching years probably prepared him for the challenges of being a father to a special needs child. His love for his son was apparent in everything that he said about him, but you could tell that he just did his best despite all the challenges. Gene's son, John Mark Stallings, died in 2008.
Stallings remains a prominent figure on Board of Regents at A&M and was inducted in the Football Hall of Fame as a coach. The legacy of Bear Bryant carried on through Stallings as one of the tough southern football players and coaches, and one of the few, select men that survived to become a Junction Boy. That heritage of excellence was passed from his coach to those Gene Stallings coached himself and he remains an important figure in the world of college football today.