Dude Hennessey

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Dude Hennessey

Lawrence "Dude" Hennessey (born December 23, 1929 in Covington, Kentucky; died March 2, 2011 in Tuscaloosa) was a defensive line coach for Bear Bryant's University of Alabama Crimson Tide football teams from 1960 to 1976.

Hennessy, the son of John and Mary Catherine Hennessy, grew up in Paris, Kentucky. He lettered for four years as one of Bryant's players at the University of Kentucky, going 31-11-3 in that span. He was a freshman starter on the 11-1 Wildcats team that upset #1 ranked Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl.

Hennessy earned a degree in business administration and coached the freshman team for a year before accepting a high school head coaching job in Sulphur Springs, Texas in 1957. In 1959 he returned to Kentucky as head coach at St Xavier High School in Louisville for a year before being hired by Bryant at Alabama.

Hennessy was known as an active and vocal coach in practice, but more reserved in his role in the press box during games. He recruited receiver Ray Perkins to the Crimson Tide and over his career coached such standouts at defensive end as Leroy Cook, John Mitchell, John Croyle, Robin Parkhouse, Creed Gilmer, Mike DuBose and Mike Ford. He also made frequent public appearances throughout the state as one of the more congenial and humorous coaches on the staff.

After retiring from coaching, Hennessey joined the staff of the Alabama National Alumni Association and served as director of Bryant Hall, the university's athletics dormitory. He was also an associate director of Tide Pride.

Hennessey died in 2011. He was survived by his wife, Carole, her two children, and his two daughters by a previous marriage. He is buried at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park.


  • Smothers, Jimmy (March 2, 2011) "Voice of 'Dude' loomed over Tide practices." Gadsden Times
  • "Lawrence 'Dude' Hennessey" obituary (March 3, 2011) Birmingham News

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