When Alabama opens their season against Virginia Tech on August 31, there will be something missing.
Dick Coffee passed away last week at age 91, and with him goes one of the most incredible streaks in sports. Coffee had attended every single Crimson Tide game since 1946, when he returned from the war and enrolled at Alabama.
The total? 781 games, 51 bowls and 65 Iron Bowls. He was in a wheelchair at Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame on January 7.
Here are a few highlights from Dan Kausler, Jr.’s incredible story, but you should definitely take the time to read the entire piece:
“He was a great American and a great Alabama fan,” said Oakley Melton, 85, of Montgomery, who became friends with Coffee in 1946 at Alabama. “There’s never been anyone greater. He would go if it was raining, snowing, sleeting. Dick Coffee would be there, and his record was unblemished. He went to a game in Nashville where the weather was just unbearable. He didn’t let the weather hold him back.
“He had a full life. He’s going to be missed. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Coffee wasn’t known as somebody who would toot his own horn, as the saying goes. Figuratively, at least.
“He was head of the pep squad,” Melton said. “He blew an old bass horn and would go, ‘Toot, toot, toot, toot, toot,’ and all the students would yell, ‘Go!’
In 2010, ESPN.com named Coffee the number one super fan in America and cited this terrific anecdote:
Coffee got a major scare for the 1964 Sugar Bowl when he couldn't reach the game due to snow. With time running out, Coffee asked the operators of a freight train if they would add an extra car on the back to transport him and his fellow Tide fans down there. He made it in time to witness Alabama's victory over Ole Miss. A stroke in 1994 didn't stop Coffee's streak, either.
Coffee was also highlighted by the broadcast during the Tide’s 2011 visit to Penn State:
Amazingly, Coffee does not own the record of most consecutive games attended. That belongs to Giles Pellerin, a USC fan who attended straight 797 Trojan games between 1926 and 1998. Pellerin died of cardiac arrest at age 91 in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl during the 1998 USC-UCLA game.