We take a look at the most interesting alumni from the 14 SEC institutions. Points are given for accomplishment, creativity and finding a unique way to impact society. Who says the SEC is only about football? Note that this list is compiled for entertainment purposes… obviously, there are notable individuals not included.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, check out part 1 and part 2.

The “Are You Not Entertained?” Group

14. Dierks Bentley, Vanderbilt University

Originally from Arizona, Dierks Bentley found his way to Nashville and Vanderbilt University where he eventually would become a country music star. Bentley has had a dozen of his singles hit No. 1 on the country music charts.

13. Jimmy Buffett, Auburn University (briefly)

Buffett began as a country music star and transitioned into an “island escapism” genre. He has sold millions of records and is one of the most successful music artists in the last 50 years. Buffett also has stakes in a number of other businesses including his Margaritaville restaurant chain.

12. Lyle Lovett, Texas A&M

Lovett is a grammy award winning country music artist who has recorded over a dozen albums. Lovett has also acted in a number of television shows and movies. Lovett was briefly married to actress Julia Roberts.

11. Sheryl Crow, University of Missouri

The songwriter and musician has sold an astounding 50 million albums worldwide and won nine grammy awards during her career. Crow has had some notable relationships including an engagement with cyclist Lance Armstrong.

10. Faye Dunaway, University of Florida

Dunaway is an Academy Award winning actress who starred in films such as Thomas Crown Affair and Bonnie and Clyde.

9. Brad Pitt, University of Missouri (did not graduate)

One of the top male actors in the business today, Brad Pitt is a movie star with an IMDB resume full of titles such as Legends of the Fall, Fight Club, Seven, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Moneyball, Fury and many more.

The Legendary Coaches

8. Pat Riley, University of Kentucky

Riley has a career spanning decades as a basketball player and coach, but he’s made his biggest mark as an NBA coach and executive. As a head coach, Riley has five NBA Championships. As an executive for the Miami Heat, he has two NBA Championships. As a player, Riley was the SEC Player of the Year in 1966 and has had his No. 42 retired at the University of Kentucky.

7. Bobby Bowden, University of Alabama

Bobby Bowden is the legendary college football coach with a career as head coach that began in 1970 and continued through 2009. He served as head coach at West Virginia and Florida State. His official record as head coach is 377–129–4 (.743) which includes some vacated wins by the NCAA. Bowden won two national championships at Florida State in 1993 and 1999.

The Authors

6. John Grisham, B.A. from Mississippi State University, J.D. from University of Mississippi

Grisham is an incredibly popular author of legal thrillers that have sold nearly 300 million copies. Many of his books have been turned into popular films as well. Books/movies such as The Firm, The Pelican Brief and A Time To Kill are some of Grisham’s most well known.

5. William Faulkner, University of Mississippi

William Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature. His works include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! and A Rose for Emily. Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

4. Harper Lee, University of Alabama

Harper Lee is known for her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird which deals with the topic of racism. The novel is one of the most read American novels and is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Interestingly, decades later, Lee has announced that she will be releasing her second novel Go Set a Watchman in July of 2015. This novel was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but was never released. Lee is 88 years old today.

The Space Cowboys

3. Bill Nelson, University of Florida

As a congressman, Nelson went through NASA training to fly as part of the crew on the Columbia in 1986. Ten days after his shuttle returned, the space shuttle Challenger accident occurred. Nelson has been a United State Senator from the state of Florida since 2003.

2. Barry Wilmore, University of Tennessee

“Hi. I’m the former Commander of the International Space Station.” Can you say that? Barry “Butch” Wilmore can. The Tennessee grad has thousands of hours under his belt of flying test aircraft for the U.S. military and has been to space several times while working as a NASA pilot. Wilmore also has several spacewalks under his belt. Whether you need something done on earth or in outer space, it’s likely that Wilmore can handle it.


1. Tim Cook, Auburn University

Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple. He served as Steve Jobs’s right hand man until Jobs’s resignation due to health concerns. Cook has continued Apple’s growth as the leading technology and consumer product company in the world, and recently oversaw the release of Apple’s first major product release in several years with the Apple Watch. Cook is also no stranger to social issues as he’s recently announced publicly that he is gay and has chimed in on issues such as climate change.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, check out part 1 and part 2.