Henry Harold "Hal" Self

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  • "Mrs. Self, Gil, Cheri, Hank, Sue and Family, Our hearts are..."
    - Kim, Chad, Jake and Sam Gillikin
  • "Mrs.Self, I am heart-broken over the lose of your husband...."
    - Lana Brown
  • "Thank you for your consoling words about my husband...much..."
    - shirley self
  • "Coach Self gave many of us an opportunity to earn a degree..."
    - P. Wayne Thorn
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FLORENCE Coach Henry Harold "Hal" Self, age 86, of Florence, died peacefully at home on the 6th day of June 2008, with his loving wife and children by his side. Hal Self was a renowned athlete and coach, a devoted family man, and a dedicated public servant who committed himself to bettering the community he was so proud to call home.

The funeral service for Coach Self will be 2 p.m. Sunday at Highland Baptist Church in Florence, Alabama, where he was a member for 59 years. Deacon Thomas Osborne and Reverend James A. Warren will officiate the service. A graveside service will follow at 5 p.m. at the Decatur City Cemetery with Elkins Funeral Home of Florence directing.

Hal Self was born on February 22, 1922 in Decatur, Alabama. In 1941, he earned a football scholarship to the University of Alabama and as their quarterback, he played in the 1941 Cotton Bowl, the 1942 Orange Bowl, and the 1944 Sugar Bowl. In 1945, Hal led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season, a SEC Championship and a 34 to 14 victory over the University of Southern California in the Rose Bowl, scoring the first and last touchdowns. In 1946, he was awarded the "Jacobs Award" as the best blocker in the Southeastern Conference.

Although drafted by the NFL's Brooklyn Tigers, Coach Self was called to a career in education and began coaching at Athens High School in 1947. In 1949, he was selected to restore the dormant football program at Florence State College, now the University of North Alabama, and coached with distinction until 1969, when he became UNA's athletic director. Coach Self remained with the athletic and physical education departments until his retirement in 1984. In keeping with his emphasis on education, Coach Self never had a player who stayed with the team four years who did not receive his college degree (a 100 percent graduation rate).

In 1970, Coach Self was one of 3 men who founded the Gulf South Conference and wrote its constitution and by-laws.

In recognition of his accomplishments, he was honored with induction into the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame, and was an inaugural inductee into the UNA Sports Hall of Fame.

Coach Self served the City of Florence as a councilman, as President of the Florence Industrial Expansion Committee, as a Charter member of the Y.M.C.A. Board of Directors, as chairman of the Florence Water and Sewer Board, as a member of the Florence Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the American Water Works and Charter member of the Research Division, as a member of the Alabama Education Association and as President of the University of North Alabama Unit, and as a member of the National Education Association.

He was preceded in death by his father, John Gilbert Self; his mother, Lottie Bell Self; his brothers, Ignatius Emilius (Ed) Self and Colonel John Wilford Self; and his sister, Theola Wynelle Lewter.

Coach Self is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Shirley Williams Self; son, Hank Self and wife, Laura Jane; daughter, Sue Raines and husband, Bill; son, Gil Self and wife, Cheri; grandchildren, Caroline, Wesley, Neil, Gil, Jr., Thomas Self and Zac and Nathan Raines and his wife, Amy; sisters-in-law, Annie Gay Self and Jeannie Self of Decatur; great-grandchild, Parker Raines; and a number of nieces, nephews and cousins.

Pallbearers will be Henry Harold Self Jr., Gilbert Porterfield Self, William Loyd Raines, David Wesley Self, Harold Neil Self, Gilbert Porterfield Self, Jr., and Thomas Harold Self.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the "Coach Hal Self Student Athlete Post Graduate Endowment," University of North Alabama, Office for Advancement, UNA Box 5113, 1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, Alabama 35632. This scholarship is awarded annually to a student athlete, male or female, who received his or her undergraduate degree at UNA, who has exemplified the integrity, character and values of Coach Self, and who is pursuing graduate studies at UNA or elsewhere.
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Elkins Funeral Home - Florence
1535 Hermitage Dr.
Florence, AL 35630
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Published in Tuscaloosa News on June 7, 2008