BREAKING: John Mark Stallings dies

(UA) TUSCALOOSA — John Mark Stallings, son of former University of Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings, died early Saturday morning. John Mark, who was born with Down syndrome and suffered from health problems related to a congenital heart defect, was 46.

“I’ve known John Mark Stallings his entire life,” said Mal Moore, Director of Athletics at the University of Alabama . “I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Coach Stallings, Ruth Ann and the entire Stallings family. For someone who never played or coached a game, I think John Mark may have touched more Alabama fans than any other person ever did. I would like to thank the Stallings family for sharing their love for John Mark with all of us.”

John Mark’s story, detailed by his father in the book, “Another Season”, served as an inspiration to millions. The University of Alabama football equipment room was formally dedicated as the “John Mark Stallings Equipment Room” on December 8, 2005. John Mark’s courage and attitude had a positive impact on all who knew him. He also deeply affected Coach Stallings’ perception of football, and the coach’s approach on the field.

“I had a whole lot less tolerance for the gifted and a whole lot more tolerance for the guy that wasn’t quite as gifted,” Gene Stallings told a reporter in January of 2008. “With Johnny, I saw him struggle to walk, struggle to kick a ball, struggle to do everything that he did. So, I had a little tolerance for the guys that had to struggle. If you had talent and didn’t lay it on the line, I didn’t have much tolerance for you. The less talented guy can’t play on Saturdays. But he can get you ready to play on Saturdays. I wanted the guys who played on Saturday to have an appreciation for that guy who got them there.”

Funeral arrangements for John Mark Stallings are pending.

END UPDATE @ 3:30 p.m.

The Tuscaloosa News has reported the death of John Mark Stallings, son of former Alabama coach Gene Stallings.

According to the report filed by Cecil Hurt, John Mark Stallings, 46, died Saturday morning. John Mark had Down Syndrome and was in fragile heatlth “for years from coping with a congenital heart defect.”

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  1. 2
    Bama Fan In N Y C

    This is sad news. John was an avid Alabama football fan, so this is also like losing a member of the family.

    RIP and my thoughts and prayers are with Coach Stallings and his family and friends.

  2. 3

    Sorry to hear the new of John Mark. I know how much Gene loved him and we all did. Coach Stallings came and did some special things at Bama and that is where we all came to know and love John Mark. Rest now John Mark. All hardships are now done. Many very happy memories remain. My prayers go out to Coach Stallings and his family. They will always be family here.


  3. 6

    My thuoghts and prayers are with the Stallings family. The hearts of the Bama nation are heavy on this sad day. There was not a bigger Alabama fan than Johnny. I pray they feel the Lord’s comforting arms during this sad time.

  4. 12
    sam crews

    Coach Stallings our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family over the loss of your son John Mark.I think all the love that you,Ruth Ann and your daughters gave him showed what a strong family is all about.May God give you comfort at this time.

  5. 13
    tiger fan

    Very sad news.Coach Stallings was one of the Alabama coachs that I had respect for. I really admired his dedication to his son. R.I.P. John Mark

  6. 14

    I will always remember the ABC cameras on John Mark and his Mom during the Bama-Miami game. He loved watching the Tide play.

  7. 15

    To COACH STALLINGS, WIFE, Daughters, so sorry johnny left to go to HEAVEN. johnny was a very good man, i know you will miss him bad. i know the bama nation will miss Johnny And very bad, and we will always love him and you`ll. GOD BLESS YOU`LL

  8. 21

    Sorry for you loss Coach Stallings. John was an angel on earth and he was ready to go home!

    I remember last year Coach Stallings asked John who his favorite Alabama coach was, and John turned to him and said, “Nick Saban.” Coach Stallings replied, “I thought I was your favorite coach?” Then John said, “Not anymore!”

    You’ll deeply be missed, John, but I know you’re in a better place. God bless the family and friends of John.

  9. 22

    John Mark Stallings was like a second mascot in Alabama football. I got so tickled when they showed how ecstatic he was in the stands after Alabama would score a touchdown while his father was still our coach. You will be missed and may God comfort Coach Stallings and his family during this untimely loss.

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