By Tyler Martin
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
‘Victory in the Game of Life’ is a fitting title for Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough’s memoir.
He knows how to win on and off the field.
McCollough is a former University of Alabama football player (1962-64) who was part of a national championship team under Paul “Bear” Bryant and an Academic All-American. He was taken in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Later on, McCollough would forego the opportunity he had with the Cowboys to pursue a career in the medical field. McCollough graduated from UAB Medical School and has now been one of the most successful plastic surgeons in the state of Alabama for the last 40 years.
His memoir chronicles his life from growing up in Enterprise, Alabama, to playing center for three seasons under Bryant, to starting his own plastic surgery business. He offers tips and tools on how to pursue excellence and be successful in every area of life. The idea for writing the book began when McCollough was awarded the Paul W.Bryant Alumni-Athlete award in the fall of 2017.
“I was standing at midfield on that September afternoon and when they handed me that award and I saw my coach’s face engraved in that glass I looked at it and then looked all around Bryant Denny Stadium and my mind went back to all the times I had stood there before, but this time I was there to receive an award named after my coach,” said McCollough. “I was taken aback by the magnitude of it all and all the people who were responsible for getting me to this point started racing through my mind. In that moment I decided to write a book to pay tribute to everyone who had a role in my success because that is what victory in the game of life is all about.”
Along with writing this book, McCollough and his wife, Susan, have given back to UA in many other ways. The McCollough Institute for Pre-Medical Education will launch this fall. The Institute will teach and prepare pre-med students on what lies ahead for them in medical school.
Years ago, the Susan and Gaylon McCollough A-Club Career Development and Leadership Center was started on campus in Bryant Hall to help athletes choose a career and prepare them for it. The program helps athletes draft resumes, prepare for job interviews and offers other practical career skills.
“The University of Alabama has been so good to me and my wife,” McCollough said. “Our attitude is that we could never repay the University of Alabama enough for the connections and success it has given us.”
‘Victory in the Game of Life’ is available at the Paul W. Bryant Museum and both Supe Store locations. All revenue from the book will go toward the University of Alabama National Alumni Association and the Paul W. Bryant Museum.