Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Willie Jeffries

Willie Jeffries


  • Position: Coach
  • School: South Carolina State, Howard, Wichita State
  • Years: 1973-2001
  • Inducted: 2010
  • Place of Birth: Union County, SC
  • Date of Birth: Jan 04, 1937

Member Biography

The first African-American to be hired as a head coach at a Division-I school (Wichita State), Willie Jeffries finished his career as the winningest coach in South Carolina State and MEAC history. A three-time Black National Championship winner, Jeffries is credited with inventing the "Freeze Option" offense and is the only person in history to coach against College Football Hall of Famers Paul "Bear" Bryant and Eddie Robinson. Jeffries won the MEAC conference title seven times, six with SCSU and one with Howard. He has also coached College Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell. Named coach of the year on eight different occasions, he was given the lifetime achievement award by the Black Coaches Association in 2002. An inductee of both the MEAC Hall of Fame and SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame, Jeffries was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent in 2001, South Carolina's highest honor for Outstanding Community Service.