TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Three University of Alabama alumni — Marty Lyons, Leon R. Marlaire and Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough — were honored with the 2017 Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award during a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 9, at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the UA campus.
The Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award recognizes former athletes whose accomplishments since leaving UA are outstanding.
The criteria include character, contributions to society, professional achievement and service. On the field to present the awards were UA President Stuart R. Bell; Calvin Brown, director of Alumni Affairs; Greg Byrne, athletic director; Chad Coker, president of the National Alumni Association; Linda Thomas, president-elect, National Alumni Association; and J.C. Ranelli, A-Club president.
Marty Lyons played football for UA from 1975 to 1979. During his time with the Crimson Tide, Lyons was the Outstanding Defensive Lineman in the nation, SEC Defensive player of the year, an All-American selection and the captain of the 1978 National Championship team. Lyons went on to play for the New York Jets, where he joined the New York Sack Exchange and was the 1984 National Football League Man of the Year. In 1982, he established the Marty Lyons Foundation, which provides support and hope to terminally ill children by granting them their last wishes. In 2016, Lyons returned to UA and graduated with a bachelor’s in human environmental sciences. He lives in Smithtown, N.Y.
While at UA, Leon R. Marlaire was the starting point guard on the Alabama “Rocket Eight” Basketball team from 1952 to 1956. Marlaire graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s in commerce and business administration and went on to serve as the vice president of Baggett Transportation Co. Marlaire served as an executive member of the UA Jefferson County Alumni Association, a member of The University of Alabama Commerce Executive Society and participated in the Tide Pride basketball program. Marlaire is a past president of the University A-Club and a charter member and past president of the Birmingham Red Elephant Club. In 2008, he was named Alabama’s SEC Basketball Legend. He lives in Vestavia Hills.
Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough played football for the Crimson Tide from 1962 to 1964. A member of the 1964 National Championship team, McCollough graduated with a bachelor’s in biology from UA in 1965 and graduated from the medical school in 1969. While at UA, he won the Charlie Compton Award, the Coach Frank Thomas Award and was an All-American, All-SEC and Academic All-American selection. Among his numerous achievements, McCollough has guided several boards and committees, served as past chairman of the Arts and Sciences Capital Campaign and endowed multiple scholarships for students at the University. He lives in Gulf Shores.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.