Member of Tide's All-Century Team Killed in Hunting Accident
Monday, November 25, 2002
TUSCALOOSA -- Cecil Dowdy, Jr., a former University of Alabama football All-America, has died at 57.
Dowdy, a consensus All-America pick in 1966 as an offensive lineman at Alabama, was killed in a hunting accident near Helena, Ark., on Sunday, November 24, 2002. Dowdy was a native of Cherokee, Ala., but lived in Northport and worked for Randall Publishing Company.
"The news that I received regarding Cecil Dowdy was as shocking and as sad a phone call as I’ve received ever," said University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore who played football at Alabama a couple of years before Dowdy but had known him since Dowdy’s playing days. “I have great and fond memories of Cecil and his playing days. I thought he was one of the purest offensive linemen for his size. I remember his great quickness, great stance. He was a true All-America. We will miss him but will enjoy our memories of him."
He was a member of Alabama’s 'Team of the Decade' for the 1960’s, a honor bestowed during the Crimson Tide’s Centennial football season in 1992. In 1966 he won the Jacobs Trophy, symbolic of the Southeastern Conference’s best blocker.
Dowdy played on Alabama teams that went 30-2-1 in his three seasons, 1964, 1965 and 1966. He was a key roll player in helping Alabama win the 1964 and 1965 national championships. He was also a starter on Alabama’s 1966 SEC Championship team which finished the regular season 11-0 and beat Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl.
He gained national recognition in the 39-28 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska the previous season, on News Year’s Day 1966 when he dominated Nebraska All-American lineman Wally Barnes. And it was Dowdy’s blocking that helped Alabama’s Steve Bowman become the SEC’s leading rusher with 770 yards in 1965.
In describing Dowdy in 1966, Alabama’s coach, the late Paul Bryant said Dowdy was 'the finest blocking tackle we’ve ever coached.'
In a press release sent out by the University of Alabama in 1966, Dowdy was asked to describe his own style of play and showed his loyalty to Alabama in the process.
"Sometimes you wonder about your own ability," he said, "especially when everyone else seems to be getting the publicity. I think making some of the pre-season All-America teams really helped me because it made me realize that if I didn’t do the best I could, then we would lose and it would make everyone look bad, including Coach Bryant. We take a lot of pride in our blocking. The coaches tell us that if we don’t have anything else, to have pride. You know, it works."
Dowdy wore the number 70 on his Alabama jersey. He played in the July 8, 1967 7th Annual Coaches All-America Game sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association as a member of the East Squad which also included Steve Spurrier and Bob Griese as his teammates at quarterback.
He was born in Barton, Ala., on May 9, 1945 to Elzie and Cecil Dowdy and was coached at Cherokee Vocational High School by Bud Mills. Dowdy was a Class AAA all-state high school player in 1963.
His funeral arrangements are being handled by Heritage Chapel Funeral Home in Tuscaloosa.