Charlie Coffey, football player & coach, died at 81

  Dead Famous

Dead. Charles E. “Charlie” Coffey, born  in 1934 and died on August 24, 2015 of cancer, he was a native of Shelbyville, Tennessee, attended the University of Tennessee to play football for General Robert Neyland.

While at the University of Tennessee he played guard, lettered from 1953 to 1955 and was selected as the team captain his senior year.

Coffey also maintained the highest grade average for four years of any member of the UT squad.

After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Coffey began his coaching career as an assistant football coach at Hialeah High School in Miami, Florida.

Then he spent five years at Southeastern Louisiana State University. His next move was to George Washington University in Washington D.C., and then back to his alma mater for two years coaching for Jim McDonald and Doug Dickey.

The Shelbyville, Tenn., native went on to serve as an assistant football coach at the University of Tennessee, tutoring the defensive line from 1963-65.

In 1965, Coffey received an offer to join Frank Broyles’ staff at the University of Arkansas as defensive coordinator. During that time, Coffey was earning a reputation as a strong leader and an excellent football coach.

After 5 years coaching at Arkansas with Broyles, three schools tried to recruit Coffey for their head coach positions.

The first school he visited was Virginia Tech and in 1971 without even visiting the other schools, he became their Head Football Coach.

Once he arrived in Blacksburg, Coffey established a potent passing attack, which resulted in Hokies quarterback Don Strock leading the nation in total passing and total offense in 1972.

During his time in Blacksburg, he set the program awash in orange, made a whirlwind media tour of the state to promote the Virginia Tech football team and improved the athletic facilities.

Most significantly, the new coach broke with Tech tradition and installed a pass-happy offense. Attendance at Virginia Tech football games increased to record breaking numbers.

The highlight of the ’72 season came when Tech upset 19th-ranked Oklahoma State in Blacksburg. After completing his three-season tenure from 1971 to 1973, he had compiled a 12-20-1 record.

Coffey then entered the trucking business in 1975, and founded Nationwide Express trucking company in 1981.


American football player and coach Charlie Coffey died on August 24, 2015 of cancer at age 81.