'Bama superfan Coffee dies at 91
Alabama superfan Dick Coffee, who attended 781 consecutive Crimson Tide football games, has died at 91.
"He was a great American and a great Alabama fan,” friend Oakley Melton, 85, told The Birmingham News. “There’s never been anyone greater. He would go if it was raining, snowing, sleeting. Dick Coffee would be there, and his record was unblemished."
Coffee attended his first game in the 1946 season opener, a 26-7 win over Furman, and all 14 of 'Bama's games last season, including the 42-14 victory over Notre Dame in the BCS championship game.
“He was in a wheelchair and couldn’t hear, but he was at all of them,” Ken Gaddy, director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, told The News.
However, he doesn't own the Guiness World Record. Gilles Pellerin attended 797 consecutive USC football games starting in 1926 until he died in 1998 in the Rose Bowl parking lot during the Trojans' game against UCLA.
“I thought he had the all-time record, and I sent it to the Guinness Book of World Records when he got up to about 700,” Melton said. “They wrote back and said no, he was second.”
Melton said he tried to get Coffee in the A-Club, the school's athletic letter-winners organization.
“I thought he deserved to be an honorary member,” Melton said, “but they’re very strict on that and don’t permit anybody but that wasn’t a player.”
The Crimson Tide open the season Aug. 31 against Virginia Tech in Atlanta.