Jeffries_Willie_1_2
Willie Jeffries
  • Became the first African-American head football coach at the NCAA Division I level when WSU hired him in 1979
  • His 1982 WSU team posted a record of 8-3 one of the best in school history
  • Won almost 60 percent of the college games he coached
  • Is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame
Jeffries, Willie

Inducted 2011

Born: January 4, 1937 - Union, S.C.

Graduated: Sims H.S., 1956; South Carolina State University, 1960

Overview

Willie Jeffries was the first African-American head football coach at the NCAA Division I level when Wichita State University hired him in 1979.

Time at WSU

Jeffries held the head coaching position at Wichita State University for five seasons.  The greatest memory for Jeffries during his time at WSU was a 13-10 victory over the University of Kansas in Lawrence during the 1982 season opener; it was the first time the two teams had played in 36 years. Jeffries' 1982 team posted a record of 8-3 one of the best in school history.

Coaching Career beyond WSU

He coached for 29 years at Wichita State, Howard and South Carolina State and posted a record of 179-132-6, including 19 of them at his alma mater, South Carolina State. Jeffries won almost 60 percent of the college games he coached, making him the winningest coach in the 107-year history of South Carolina State and owner of more Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victories than any other coach in history.  Jeffries' record during his two stints with the SCSU program (1973-78 and 1989-2001) included three Black National Championship, seven MEAC titles, several post-season appearances in Division 1-AA playoffs and Heritage Bowl, and numerous coaching awards.

Honors

Jeffries is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2010 the football field at South Carolina State was named Willie E Jeffries Field in his honor.