Lawrence (Dude) Hennessey, one of the most colorful and most popular assistant football coaches in the history of The University of Alabama, died at home March 2. He was born Dec. 23, 1929, in Covington, Ky., and raised in Paris, Ky. by the late John and Mary Catherine Hennessey. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Jack, and by his infant son, John Duke. Private graveside services Monday, March 7, at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park. Funeral mass 11 a.m. Monday, March 7, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Father Gerald Holloway officiating. The family will receive friends in the parish hall following the service. “The coaching staff’s cheerleader, its funnybone, its alter ego, its colorful blithe spirit,” was a sportswriter’s description of Dude Hennessey, who coached on the defensive line for Coach Paul Bryant from 1960 through 1976, coaching on four national championship teams. He later served with the Alabama National Alumni Association; as director of the athletics dormitory, Bryant Hall; and as associate director of Tide Pride. Dude was first connected with Paul Bryant at the University of Kentucky, where Dude was a 150-pound defensive end who lettered four years. He was a starter as a freshman on the 1950 Wildcats team that went 11-1, including a 13-7 upset win over number one ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. He also played in the Cotton Bowl win over TCU following the 1951 season and played on UK teams that went 31-11-3. After earning his degree in business administration, he coached the Kentucky freshman team for a year, then moved to Sulphur Springs, Texas, as head coach of the high school team in 1957-58. He was head coach at St. Xavier in Louisville, Ky., in 1959, and then came to Alabama. Among the many players he recruited to Alabama was Ray Perkins, who would later be Bama’s head football coach. He coached star defensive ends Leroy Cook, John Mitchell, John Croyle, Robin Parkhouse, Creed Gilmer, Mike DuBose, and Mike Ford. In 2004, Dude accompanied the Crimson Tide to Lexington for the Alabama-Kentucky game. His former teammate, Babe Parilli, was an honorary captain for the Wildcats. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carole Fields Hennessey, and her children, Becky Satterfield (Tommy) and John Hulsey; his daughters Haviland Hennessey Smith (John Blue) and Maggie Hennessey Nees, and their mother Sidney Hudson Hennessey; grandchildren Jessica Smith, Ginny Blue Smith, Madeline Nees, Hudson Nees, Lily Nees, Milyn Satterfield; sister Frances Ellen Love; nephew Tony Love; niece Mary Catherine Love; great nephew Jeffery Love; sister-in-law Anne Fields Lewis; and brother-in-law Wallace M. Lewis. Pallbearers are Larry White, Robert Davis, Cedric Burns, John Nicola, Tommy Satterfield, and Ray Perkins.
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