Fowler learned leadership from Bear Bryant

Published 4:54 pm Monday, January 28, 2013

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Columbiana attorney Conrad Fowler knows a great deal about leadership, much of which he learned from Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant when he played for him in 1966-1968.

Conrad Fowler played wide receiver and split end for coach Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama, where he excelled in sports and academics. (contributed)

Coach Bryant taught him this, “A true leader recognizes the importance of acknowledging the objectives of the group. Attention to detail in connection with all aspects of the endeavor is a must — nothing is left to chance.”

Coach Bryant would often state “with preparation and attention to detail, you create your own luck in life and in game situations.”

Bryant taught in dealing with individuals in your charge, you have to recognize that you can’t treat everyone the same, but it is imperative that you treat everyone fairly. Some people deserve a second chance after failing in some important way. Fowler said, “Coach Bryant was always making it a point to address leadership qualities, whether in team sports, family, life or daily living.”

Fowler said Bryant’s advice has helped him throughout his life. “The importance of focus, ‘maximum’ effort and attention to detail are keys to successful living.”

Fowler’s advice to young leaders is to “expect the unexpected. Leadership is fully understanding the cost and hurdles to be cleared in achieving your goals. It is necessary to acknowledge the importance of discipline and attitude in a positive manner.”

Fowler’s leadership is evidenced. He was a three-year letterman at Alabama and received the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan award given to the university’s most outstanding senior. He was a member of the Jasons and ODK Leadership Honor Society and was president of his freshman law school class.

His 1966 team went 11-0 and is known as the team without a ring. When Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame were named the top three, the other two teams tied and were named No. 1 and No. 2 despite Alabama’s perfect season and impressive win over Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl.

Fowler holds multiple positions of leadership at Columbiana United Methodist Church, has been past president of the Shelby County Bar Association, a State Bar commissioner, active with Boy Scouts of America and Columbiana’s Kiwanis Club.


Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident. You can reach her at