Former Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Jack Rutledge, a member of the team’s first Bear Bryant-led national championship squad, has passed away.
According to 247Sports, Rutledge died on Thursday after a battle with cancer and dementia.
The news has already brought reactions from a variety of people who knew and met with him:
Getting unfortunate news from my @AlabamaFTBL A-Club friends that Coach Jack Rutledge passed away. He always had a good heart & strong message for us living in Bryant Hall.. And great Coach Bryant stories. You will be missed. Rest In Peace Coach. @UofAlabama @abc3340 pic.twitter.com/gMj4DM4qGu
— Christopher Sign (@ChristopherSign) January 24, 2019
Rest in Peace to Jack Rutledge….A fine and classy gentleman and a man who truly bled Crimson as well…..
— Stan J. Griffin (@StanJGriffin) January 24, 2019
Sadden to hear about the passing of coach Jack Rutledge
He was always very nice to me when I talked to him
— PrideOfTheTide.com (@PrideOfTheTide) January 24, 2019
Rutledge was recruited by Alabama head coach Jennings Whitworth in 1957, but real on-field success when the team hired Bear Bryant in 1958.
Though he played running back and won two state championships in as a high school athlete in Alabama, Rutledge transitioned to offensive lineman and linebacker in college.
He was a starting offensive guard in 1961 when the Crimson Tide went 11-0 en route to a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas and culminating in the school’s first title under the legendary coach.
Following Rutledge’s graduation, he briefly coached high school football and later joined Bryant’s coaching staff until Bryant retired in 1982.
During his time on Bryant’s staff, Rutledge coached offensive linemen and special teams.