More than 60 years ago, Bart Starr turned down Kentucky’s Paul “Bear” Bryant and chose to play football for Alabama, a lousy program that had faded from the national picture long before.
Starr wanted to stay close to his high-school sweetheart, an Auburn student named Cherry Louise Morton.
They wed during Starr’s Crimson Tide career, a time of serious uncertainty that AL.com’s Joseph Goodman documented extensively in his Valentine’s Day feature.
Among the highlights:
- Starr was “too poor” to marry Morton, and had to ask her four times before she said yes. They were 20 years old on their wedding day — a secret ceremony that Morton’s parents were unaware of.
- The Mortons found out about the wedding when Starr mailed a letter to their daughter. The envelope was addressed to “Mrs. Bart Starr.”
- After Morton transferred from Auburn to Alabama, the couple lived in an old Army barracks, which had “grass growing through the floorboards.”
Plenty of football fans are familiar with Starr’s post-Alabama career. The quarterback led several Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers teams to world championships, and established such a pristine off-field reputation that the NFL named its “Man of the Year” award after him.
Now 82 years old, Starr lives in Hoover, Ala.
He and Cherry Louise will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary this May.