GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - Fred Sington Jr., who played football under Bear Bryant and later held several positions at Gadsden City Hall, died Tuesday after about a year of declining health. He was 82.
Friends on Facebook referred to him as "Mr. Gadsden," and Mayor Sherman Guyton called him "an icon for the city of Gadsden."
The son of legendary Alabama football great Fred Sington, the younger Sington was born in 1935, while his father was playing for the Washington Senators. The family would move back to Alabama in 1945.
Sington played football for Ramsey High School in Birmingham, graduating in 1953 and receiving a scholarship to the University of Alabama the same year.
His football years at Alabama were interrupted in 1954 by an injury and in 1956-57 when he joined the Navy. He returned in 1958, playing for Paul "Bear" Bryant" during his first two years of his legendary tenure. During his last season he kicked two game-winning field goals.
Sington received a law degree at Cornell University and practiced law in Arizona before returning to Gadsden to work in his family's chain of sporting goods stores. He went to work in Gadsden City Hall, as an administrative assistant to Mayor Steve Means, and was later appointed to the city's airport board.
Mayor Guyton remembers Sington "helped us out at the airport, all the grants he was able to get. He had a lot of contacts throughout the state and Washington, and was just a good, down to earth kind of guy you liked to be around."
Guyton remembered meeting Sington when he was 15. Guyton and Sington both played with a softball team sponsored by the First City National Bank. Sington was the pitcher. Guyton remembers Sington as a man always telling stories about his days with Bear Bryant.
Sington also appeared on local radio stations in Gadsden, broadcasting high school football games for nearly 50 years.
Sington's last appearance at Gadsden City Hall was at a city council meeting in November, where he was named to the Etowah County Patriots' Hall of Fame. Guyton presented him with a key to the city that day.
Sington's son, Fred Sington III, is the sports information director at Delta State.