Archived Story

A look back at Shug Jordan

Published 12:01pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today—September 25, 2013—marks the 103rd anniversary of the birth of famed Auburn Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. The centennial of his younger counterpart at Bama, “Bear” Bryant, was commemorated a couple of weeks ago. It is only fitting that now tribute be paid to Coach Jordan. He not only had the most wins of any coach in Auburn’s football history, but was also a successful basketball coach, ranking fifth among all coaches (1933-42, 1945-46).

Sept. 25, 1910—Ralph Jordan was born in Selma. Early in life he acquired the nickname of “Shug” because of his fondness for sugarcane.

Sept. 29, 1932–Ralph Jordan, voted the most outstanding Tiger athlete last year, has been added to Auburn’s football coaching staff.

June 6, 1944—Ralph Jordan received both the Purple Heart and Bronze Stars as a result of wounds sustained in the invasion of Normandy. After recovery, he went on to fight in Okinawa.

June 1, 1951—Ralph Jordan was hired as Auburn’s football coach after the new governor, Gordon Persons, an API, grad, demanded an upgrading of the sport on the plains. (He retired following the 1975 season.)

Feb. 5, 1956—There was a lot of discussion among Auburn football followers in downtown Hartselle today. Spring football practice begins on the plains this afternoon. Fifty sophomores and 30 holdovers from the ’55 squad will be watched closely during the next few weeks. Coach “Shug” Jordan and his assistants will be looking especially for replacements for tackle Frank D’Agostino, fullback Joe Childress, and halfback Fob James. AU was ranked in the top ten nationally last year in the AP poll.

Sept. 11, 1957—On the plains, Auburn football Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan said his team’s scrimmage today was the worst he had ever seen.

Dec. 10, 1957—Tom Smith, general sports editor of the AP, presented Coach “Shug” Jordan and his undefeated Auburn Tigers with the national championship trophy today in a ceremony attended by many local students at Cliff Hare stadium. Gov. James E. Folsom proclaimed today “Auburn Day” in Alabama. The new Bama coach, “Bear” Bryant also sent his congratulations.

Jan. 30, 1958—Local War Eagle fans will be headed to the plains for more big games in the fall. The Auburn ’58 schedule includes home games with both Maryland and Wake Forest. Ralph “Shug” Jordan will be in his eighth season as head coach. Of course, the Alabama game will be played as always in Birmingham. The site of this game will never be changed.

July 7, 1958—Auburn’s head football coach, Ralph “Shug” Jordan and the athletic director, Jeff Beard, addressed area alumni tonight in Decatur. Auburn was the nation’s number one football team last fall. Coach Jordan is 47 and has been at API for a dozen years. Prior to that he worked with Coach Wally Butts at Georgia. He was recruited to come to the plains early in 1951 after the football team had come off a season in which they failed to win a single game. During the previous four seasons they could claim only a handful of victories.

Aug. 17, 1961—Ralph “Shug” Jordan, Auburn University’s head football coach spoke to Morgan County alumni tonight in Decatur. The Tigers will open their season on September 13 with a game against the Tennessee Vols at Shields-Watkins field in Knoxville. (Auburn won 24-21.)

May 17, 1975—Quite a few local alumni made the trip to the plains today to witness Auburn head Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s final spring intrasquad football game.

July 17, 1980—Auburn fans, and all Alabamians, mourned the death of former head football Coach “Shug” Jordan following an unsuccessful four-month battle against leukemia.

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