Chainsaw Bear brushed off the dust of years and returned to the public this fall, in a new home at the renovated Bryant-Denny Stadium. Chainsaw Bear, the chainsaw-carved statue of the late Coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, stood proudly in University Mall, the place of its birth, for six years, from 1992-1998. After glowering over patrons entering the JCPenney wing, near Bama Fever, Chainsaw Bear became a ward of the Bryant Museum, where he enjoyed a quiet semi-retirement. Recently, he moved to a new home in the field level suite at Bryant-Denny.
Brian Ruth, a Pennsylvanian known as “Master of the Chainsaw,” carved him out in the mall parking lot — behind the walls of a clear enclosure — from a 100-year-old Alabama pine, a rough, large piece of wood for a tough, larger-than-life man.
“It was the 10th anniversary of Bryant’s death, and the 100th anniversary of Alabama football,” said Denise Connell, University Mall marketing manager. “We had postcards made with the sculpture; they were at the information desk for years.”