Alabama's oldest football letterman, World War II veteran, Bill Cadenhead dies
The oldest living Alabama letterman, and the player believed to be the last living player from the historic 1948 Iron Bowl has died. Bill Cadenhead, who was a halfback, was 96.
Cadenhead’s death was confirmed by the Paul W. Bryant Museum, AL.com reported. The Greenville, Mississippi native played at Alabama from 1946-49, and rushed for a total of 783 yards and five touchdowns during his career.
He was a part of several firsts at Alabama.
The 1948 game was special because Alabama and Auburn renewed the rivalry after a 31-year absence.
Cadenhead and the Crimson Tide won 55-0 at Birmingham’s Legion Field in the game that would be come to be called “the Iron Bowl.”
Cadenhead first enrolled at Alabama in 1942, but dropped out after a year to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He served in the navy’s submarine corps, and also played for the San Diego Naval Air Station football team.
A third-team All-SEC pick as a junior in 1948, Cadenhead was the team’s alternate captain in 1949. As Most Outstanding Player on the 1948 team, he and 1947 MOP Harry Gilmer were the first Alabama players to have their hands and cleat prints placed in concrete on the “Walk of Fame” alongside Denny Chimes on the university’s quadrangle.
Cadenhead was drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions, but went into coaching instead. He spent five seasons at Coffee High School in Florence — going 27-19-4, including 9-1 in 1951 and 8-0-2 in 1952 — and sold insurance for State Farm for 35 years he retired.