Sports community remembers Cecil Hurt as Alabama columnist with 'wit, style and grace'

Daniella Medina
The Tuscaloosa News

The death of longtime Tuscaloosa News sports editor and columnist Cecil Hurt reverberated through the sports community Tuesday. 

Hurt died of complications of pneumonia at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday. 

He was 62. 

The "institution," as Alabama football referred to Hurt as on social media Tuesday, has been an indispensable part of Alabama football coverage since he joined the Tuscaloosa News staff in 1982.

TOMMY DEAS:Tuscaloosa lost an institution, The Tuscaloosa News lost an icon and I lost a friend

MORE REACTIONS:Paul Finebaum gets emotional discussing Tuscaloosa News columnist Cecil Hurt's death

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The Alabama Athletics Twitter account added, "For more than 40 years, Cecil Hurt was there to tell our stories with wit, style and grace. A legendary figure, gone too soon."

Tuscaloosa News city editor Ken Roberts said Hurt's columns were an "essential part of being an Alabama football fan."

"I've attended Alabama football games for more than 30 years and many, many times I've overheard a fan in stands saying, 'I wonder what Cecil Hurt will say about this.' I think that shows the power of his skills as a writer," Roberts said. 

When Hurt first announced he developed pneumonia on Nov. 10, Alabama football coach Nick Saban expressed his condolences Hurt and his family. 

"I just want him and his family to know our thoughts and prayers are with him. He's represented the journalistic profession in about as a professional way as anybody that I know and we certainly are hoping that he has a speedy recovery," Saban said on Nov. 10. 

On Tuesday, Saban released a statement following Hurt's death. 

"He was a man of integrity and a fair-minded journalist blessed with wit, wisdom and an ability to paint a picture with his words that few have possessed," Saban said. "Cecil was loved throughout this community and state as an old-school journalist who covered the Alabama beat with class and professionalism..." 

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and other notable sports reporters also acknowledged the death of Hurt. 

"I am saddened to learn of Cecil Hurt’s passing. Cecil was a leading voice in telling the story of the SEC for four decades. The relationships he built, his credibility with readers, his clarity in communication and unrivaled wit made him a pillar of his profession. RIP Cecil," Sankey tweeted. 

Maddox said, "I have always admired his brilliant perspective and incredible wit," of Hurt. 

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted that the "veteran, award-winning journalist will be missed dearly by the people of Alabama."

ESPN analysts Cole Cubelic and Rece Davis also shared their condolences and experiences with Hurt. 

"His work was second to none, just as his sense of humor," Cubelic said. 

"From (Paul "Bear") Bryant to Saban, Cecil knew the pulse of Alabama better than anyone," Davis said. 

Notable Alabama sports reporters and broadcasters, including The Athletic's Aaron Suttles and Tide 100.9's Hunter Johnson, also tweeted their experiences with Hurt. 

ActionNetworkHQ football insider Brett McMurphy said Hurt was "one of the absolute giants in the industry." 

Former Alabama football player and current Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake tweeted, "RIP Cecil Hurt," followed by the hashtag #RollTide. 

Tuscaloosa News invites its readers to share their remembrances of Cecil Hurt and his impact on them through his words and their interactions with him, whether in person or on social media. Send them to