Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Jerry Claiborne

Jerry Claiborne


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kentucky
  • Years: 1961-1989
  • Inducted: 1999
  • Place of Birth: Hopkinsville, KY
  • Date of Birth: Aug 26, 1928
  • Place of Death: Nashville, TN
  • Date of Death: Sep 24, 2000

Member Biography

Jerry Claiborne was famous for three things. He was a winner. He took over washed-up programs and gave them new life. And he taught his players to be good students. He was a head coach 28 years with this record: 179-122-8. The College Football Association in 1988 gave his school, Kentucky, an award for leading the nation in number of football players graduated on time. Claborne coached four Academic All-Americas and 87 all-conference academics. His teams were in 11 bowl games. He coached Virginia Tech 1961-1970 with a 69-31-2 record. Then Maryland called. The school had won just nine games in five years. Claiborne had a winner his second year. Beginning in 1973 his teams made it to six consecutive bowl games. The Sporting News ia 1974 named him the nation's Coach of the Year. His 1976 team went 11-1 and ranked eighth in the Associated Press poll. For ten years at Maryland his record was 77-37-3. In 1982, his alma-mater, Kentucky called. The school had endured four straight losing seasons. Claiborne took Kentucky to bowl games his second and third years. He retired after the 1989 season. Sports Illustrated said in 1976 his great virtues were "organization, motivation, and hard work.: He said, "Coaching is one of the few professions where you can change people and help them to be good citizens and parents." Claiborne was born August 2, 1928 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He played halfback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky in 1946 and 1948-49. He was a Bryant assistant at Kentucky, Texas A7M and Alabama before launching a carrer as a successful head coach. In JUne of 1999, the Lexington, Kentucky chapter of the National Football Foundation was named after Claiborne. Jerry Claiborne died September 24, 2000.