May 4, 2009
Auburn, Ala. -
The Auburn Athletic Department and Tigers Unlimited recently announced the endowment of the Ralph "Shug" Jordan Professorship in memory and honor of the beloved Auburn coach.
Athletics Director Jay Jacobs made a special presentation to Ralph Jordan Jr. and Provost Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, who will award the professorship to a deserving faculty member, during the recent A-Day festivities.
Jacobs said the professorship was established to support the academic mission of Auburn University and President Jay G. Gogue's initiative to increase professorships on campus.
"We are committed to supporting the academic mission of Auburn University not only for our student-athletes, but for the campus as a whole," Jacobs said. "There is no better way for us to do that than to endow a professorship in honor and memory of Coach Shug Jordan, the most successful coach in Auburn history and one of the finest gentlemen to ever serve the university."
Jordan coached Auburn football from 1951-1975 and is the all-time winningest coach in school history with 176 victories, including the 1957 Associated Press National Championship team.
A native of Selma, Jordan lettered in three sports at what was then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute and was voted as the Most Outstanding Athlete in 1932.
Jordan was hired to coach the Auburn freshman football team and as a varsity assistant coach under Chet Wynne in 1932. Jordan also coached the Auburn basketball team for a 10-year span, compiling an 88-66 record.
Jordan served the U.S. Army in World War II and received a Purple Heart for a shrapnel wound he suffered during the invasion of Normandy at Utah Beach. He also fought in the Okinawa campaign in the Pacific in 1945.
He returned to Auburn to coach the basketball team in 1945 but left Auburn a year later to coach under Wally Butts at the University of Georgia until 1951. He returned to Auburn that year when Athletics Director Jeff Beard lured him back to the Plains to serve as head football coach.
In a remarkable turnaround, Jordan led a team that had gone winless the previous season to five victories in his first season. He won the National Championship six years later.
After serving as head coach for 25 years, which were also highlighted by the 1972 "Amazin's" who went 10-1 and beat undefeated Alabama 17-16 in one of the most famous games in school history.
After his retirement in 1975, Jordan served on the Auburn University Board of Trustees and played a key role in the expanding the stadium that bore his name to 72,000.