Bryan Simpson "Coach" Pepper (born August 10, 1928, died August 7, 2008) was an educator, coach, and public address announcer. He was known as the Voice of Legion Field, having announced games at the historic stadium from 1963 until his death.
Pepper coached and taught mathematics at B. B. Comer High School in Sylacauga, Ensley High School, Hueytown High School and McAdory High School. His coaching record from those years is incomplete, but he had at least three 20-win seasons at Ensley, including the 26-7 team that won the 1958 state championship.
He served as principal of Jones Valley Elementary School after hanging up his coach's hat in 1964. He took over as principal at Jones Valley High School in 1978 and remained there until he retired in 1986. In his retirement he volunteered his time at Central Park Christian School, teaching physical education and helping with the athletics teams, serving as athletic director and public address announcer for the school's basketball games.
In 1970 Pepper became the public address announcer for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and many other events at Legion Field. He continued to announce for Alabama even as the Tide moved its home games to Bryant-Denny Stadium, until he was replaced by Tony Giles in 1997. He also announced Crimson Tide basketball for 14 years.
Pepper continued to announce at Legion Field for high school football games. He also was the announcer for the first year of play at the new Jackson-Olin High School stadium in 2007, and also announced at various other events from all-star high school baseball games to Birmingham middle school track and field championships. Among his other announcing positions were a five-year stint with the Birmingham Barons at Rickwood Field, football games for Samford University, numerous Alabama High School Athletic Association state championship events, and various professional football teams (including the USFL Birmingham Stallions) that called Legion Field home.
His last known event as an announcer was the Alabama Lions East-West High School Baseball Classic at Samford University in June 2008; he had announced the game almost every year since 1970, and played in the first such game in 1944.
Pepper was found unresponsive at his home in July 2008, possibly after suffering a heat stroke. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he passed away after being hospitalized for about two weeks.
Pepper was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2009.
- Sentell, Jeff (August 8, 2008) "Simpson Pepper, 'The Voice of Legion Field,' dies at 79." The Birmingham News.
- Sentell, Jeff (August 7, 2008) "Simpson Pepper Passes at age 79." The Birmingham News.
- Sentell, Jeff (July 22, 2008) "'Voice of Legion Field' Simpson Pepper in grave health." Birmingham News
- Plott, Bill (November 23, 2008) "Simpson Pepper, "Shorty" White among group of nine to enter Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame." Birmingham News