College football might never again see a super fan quite like Alabama’s Dick Coffee.
Starting with the Crimson Tide’s 1946 season opener, Coffee — who died on Friday at age 91 — attended every single Alabama football game. All told, the Decatur, AL, native was in the stands to cheer on his alma mater for 781 consecutive games.
“There’s never been anyone greater,” one of Coffee’s friends, Oakley Melton, told AL.com. “He would go if it was raining, snowing, sleeting. Dick Coffee would be there, and his record was unblemished. … He had a full life. He’s going to be missed. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Coffee’s fandom was national recognized, too: In August 2010, ESPN put him atop their list of the top 20 college football super fans. What’s more, Coffee played a large part in getting Alabama and Auburn to resume their annual “Iron Bowl” rivalry game after a 30-year pause from 1908 to 1947.
“Dick and I both worked on a committee from the University of Alabama,” Melton told AL.com. “Auburn had a student committee working on their administrators and professional people over there, and finally the two presidents had a secret meeting at the University of Alabama farm in Coosa County. They both shook hands on it and agreed to resume the series. … Dick Coffee was a major reason for the resumption of that relationship.”
Incredibly, Coffee’s mark of 781 straight games isn’t even a college football record. USC super fan Giles Pellerin attended 797 consecutive USC football games before dying at the age of 91 in 1998.
Expect the Crimson Tide to make numerous tributes to this dearly departed, one-of-a-kind fan next season. He deserves it and then some.