Bobby Marlow
Class of 2009

Bobby Marlow
"To most Alabama football fans, when they hear the term 'Italian Stallion,' they think Johnny Musso," said Marlow's nephew Don Marlow. "But, Uncle Bobby was the 'Italian Stallion' before the 'Italian Stallion."

His name will not be found in any Limestone County school annual. He was never featured in The News Courier for his high school football exploits. More than likely the public link to Limestone County is his birth certificate. However, the late Bobby Marlow's name can be found throughout the University of Alabama football record book as he was an All-American running back for the Crimson Tide.

The 2009 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee was born in Athens but moved to Troy as a young child when both of his parents died. He grew up in the Troy Baptist Children's Home and attended Troy High School. He received an athletic scholarship to the University of Alabama where he lettered three years (1950-52) in football and firmly established his place among the greatest running backs to ever wear the crimson jersey.

Marlow ranks among the Top 10 in just about every significant all- time rushing category at Alabama including career rushing yards (5th), single game rushing yards (3rd), career rushing touchdowns (6th) and longest touchdown run (3rd). His 6.3 career yards per carry is the highest ever of any University of Alabama running back with a minimum of 400 career rushing attempts.

"You can talk before or after but Bobby Marlow is the best running back to ever play at the University of Alabama,? said former UA teammate Harry Lee. "Bobby would have been a great running back in any era. He was such a powerful runner. Bobby was tremendously strong and that was way before any strength training programs."

Strong he was and Marlow saved some of his most explosive performances against the Crimson Tide's biggest rivals. He rushed for 233 yards against Auburn in 1951 which at the time served as the most yards ever gained by a Crimson Tide running back in a game. The record stood for 36 years until Bobby Humphrey ran through the Mississippi State defense for 284 yards.

Long time University of Alabama football fans can remember the days when Georgia Tech was a fierce rival. In 1950, Marlow rushed for 180 yards against the Rambling Wreck prompting legendary Georgia Tech football coach Bobby Dodd to comment that "Bobby Marlow is the best back that I have ever coached against."

The Crimson Tide was 24-10 during Marlow's three seasons at the capstone including a record setting 61- 6 victory over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl. Marlow was twice named All-SEC and was an All-American choice his senior season. The Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club named Marlow as the 1952 SEC Player of the Year. He rushed for a school record 2,560 yards during his career. Johnny Musso broke the record 19 years later.

The New York Giants liked what they saw in Marlow and made the 195 pound running back the eighth pick in the first round of the 1953 NFL draft. Marlow, however, optioned to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). 'Back then, the CFL paid more. I made more money playing linebacker in the CFL than Bart Starr made playing quarterback with the Green Bay Packers," joked Lee. "Bobby was just as dominant player in Canada as he was at Alabama. Bobby would absolutely put a helmet on you. I can remember one time that this new player from Army joined the league and Bobby hit him so hard that the guy had to wear a body cast afterwards."

Marlow played eight years in the CFL and earned numerous honors including being named to the CFL All Star All-Time Team. He briefly returned to Limestone County following his playing days. He lived with his brother Buddy in Elkmont for a short time before moving to Houston, TX to pursue job opportunities there. He would spend the remaining years of his life in Texas. Marlow passed away in 1985 of a heart attack.

"To most Alabama football fans, when they hear the term 'Italian Stallion,' they think Johnny Musso," said Marlow's nephew Don Marlow. "But, Uncle Bobby was the 'Italian Stallion' before the 'Italian Stallion."