Recently Enterprise native Dr. Gaylon McCollough released his 17th book, “Victory In The Game of Life,” and the former Wildcat and Alabama Crimson Tide star hopes to inspire with the story of his life.
McCollough was an all-state and all-star center at Enterprise High School and went on to become an All-SEC center for Paul “Bear” Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 1960s. He also earned Academic All-America honors.
McCollough was a senior captain on Enterprise’s 1960 Alabama State Championship and was a star on Alabama’s 1964 National Championship team. He was also the team captain of the south squad in the annual High School All-Star Game.
After graduating from Alabama, McCollough become a physician – including being one of Bryant’s personal physicians – and then an award winning plastic surgeon.
In his career, McCollough has written a number of books on the medical field, politics and even a book on the life of Bear Bryant, but “Victory in the Game of Life” is his own personal memoir.
“I want to encourage and inspire people, with this book, to reach higher than they might think possible and to dream big dreams and never be satisfied with mediocrity,” McCollough said.
In 2017, McCollough was presented with one of the most prestigious awards that the University of Alabama gives out to former athletes: the Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athlete Award. While accepting the award last year, in front of a sold-out Bryant-Denny Stadium, is when McCollough decided to write this book.
“I decided to write this book in September of 2017 when I was standing at midfield in Bryant-Denny Stadium holding that award in my hand,” McCollough remembered. “I had been on that same plot of land many times in my life and standing there looking up at 100,000 people I was really taken aback by not only being there but why I was there and all of the people that were responsible for my being there that day to receive that award going all the way back to my hometown of Enterprise.”
McCollough said the Bryant Alumni Award has meant more to him than any award, and there have been many of them, in his whole life.
“It’s to me the most valued award I’ve ever received,” McCollough said. “I’ve received a number of awards in my field – plastic surgery – and I’ve been inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and I’ve served as president in almost every organization in my specialty, but this meant so much more to me.”
The criteria for the award is contributions to society, character, professional achievement and service to fellow man.
“As I thought about that criteria and to be put into the same category of previous winners – some of which I looked up to myself as heroes – was very, very special to me,” McCollough said. “On my way home I decided I would write this book, so that I could recognize all of the people that have helped me reach that point and to pay tribute to my hometown. There is a lot about Enterprise in my book and why I’m so proud of being from there and growing up there. I’m still so proud to call Enterprise my hometown.”
McCollough said he carries around numerous memories of his hometown that he wanted to share in his book.
“I have extremely fond memories of my hometown,” McCollough said. “We won a state championship my senior year, which was very special to us. I remember riding my horse around the countryside with Frankie Sessions and Billy Stanley. Those are really fond memories of mine. I had a wonderful experience growing up and in my church, First Baptist, and of Enterprise High School.”
McCollough hopes that everyone that reads his new book takeaway something positive about it, especially the people of Enterprise.
“I hope my mentors that are still alive appreciate that I recognize them,” McCollough said. “I also hope the town people of Enterprise recognize how special it is to grow up there and how fortunate the young people in the city are for the fact that the city has dedicated so much to providing a high quality education to them.
“Also, I hope they recognize the great family values that the town and school can instill in young people that they can take into the world to help become successful.”
McCollough said that he included a quote in the book from his coach and mentor, Bryant, that he hopes can also help inspire.
“If you believe in yourself and you have dedication and pride and you never quit, you will be a winner,” the quote says. “Victory is high but so are the rewards.”
McCollough’s “Victory in the Game of Life” is available in book stores now and online at Amazon.com.