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Longtime Jackson State coach Gorden dies at 90

Field Level Media

October 24, 2020 at 5:11 pm.

Longtime Jackson State football coach and College Football Hall of Famer W.C. Gorden died Friday at age 90.

Gorden coached the Tigers from 1976-91, leading them to eight Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and nine NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances.

“Words cannot describe the feeling of this loss,” the school said in a statement. “The tradition and excellence W.C. Gorden brought to JSU is unmatched and will live on through countless generations.”

Gorden compiled a 119-48-5 record at the school in Jackson, Miss., with only one losing season. The six-time SWAC Coach of the Year was induced into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1994 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2019, he was named to ESPN’s list of the top 150 greatest college football coaches of all time.

Gorden’s teams produced 29 NFL draft picks, including five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jimmy Smith.

Current Jackson State coach Deion Sanders posted a statement on Instagram.

“Lord we lost a football GIANT and a pioneer of excellence,” Sanders wrote. “W.C. Gorden was a great leader, man, teacher, legendary coach and a true Game Changer that championed the cause for ‘building on tradition, blazing new trails.'”