Al Browning, former Tuscaloosa News sports editor, dies

Published: Friday, April 26, 2002 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 25, 2002 at 11:00 p.m.

Al Browning, who served as sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News during the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at his Shelby County home.

Browning had been diagnosed with cancer last year.

An alumnus of the University of Alabama, Browning, 52, became sports editor of The News in 1977, replacing Mike McKenzie. He covered two national championship football teams at UA before leaving The News in 1982.

"Being a sports writer, I appreciate all the good work that Al did for The News," said Charles Land, who served as publisher of The Tuscaloosa News during Browning's tenure. "He had a real gift for developing material to write about, and that is one of the more important talents a writer can have.

"Al had an outgoing personality that really helped him in meeting people and developing stories. He went on to have success writing books, and he was far too young for us to be losing him," Land said.

Among Browning's friends was former University of Alabama head football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. When Bryant died in January 1983, Browning functioned as a media liaison for the Bryant family.

Browning, a native of Brewton, later became the sports editor of The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, where he covered one of Alabama's main football rivals, the University of Tennessee.

Because of his sometimes-controversial opinions and his University of Alabama background, Browning was often criticized in Knoxville. In later years, in a display of good humor, he would show friends a bumper sticker that had been distributed by a Knoxville-area bar that read "Will Rogers Never Met Al Browning."

Browning returned to Alabama in the late 1980s and worked on several projects, ranging from freelance newspaper and magazine articles to screenplays.

He authored or co-authored several books on Alabama football, including "Bowl, Bama, Bowl," "Crimson Coronation," "I Remember Paul `Bear' Bryant," and "B-A-M-A, A Full Season of National Championship Trivia." His most successful book was "Third Saturday in October," a history of the Alabama-Tennessee football rivalry. A second edition of that book was published last year.

Most recently, Browning had worked for the University of Alabama's athletic Internet venture, Crimson He also worked as a sports correspondent for The Birmingham News.

Browning, who lived in Sterrett, is survived by his wife, Stacy, and children Patrick and Isabelle.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Thursday.

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