April 13, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
Auburn's longest tenured head baseball coach, Paul Nix, who coached the program for 22 years from 1963-84, passed away Monday at the age of 76. Nix had an overall record of 515-376 and guided the program to a pair of NCAA College World Series berths, three Southeastern Conference championships, one SEC Tournament title and six SEC Divisional titles. He was named the SEC Coach of the Year five times.
Prior to his tenure at Auburn, Nix was the head baseball coach at Troy State where he tallied a 77-37 record in six seasons. In 28 years, Nix was 592-413.
"Paul Nix was a great Auburn man and we are extremely saddened by his passing," Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said. "He laid a strong foundation for our baseball program and brought it national recognition with Auburn's first-ever College World Series appearance. He was well respected by his players and developed many that went on to have successful careers in and outside of baseball. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Nix took the 1967 and the 1976 teams to the College World Series, finishing third in '67 and seventh in '76. He claimed SEC titles in 1967, '76 and '78 along with the league tournament crown in '78.
Nix was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 1963, '64, `67, '76 and '78 and was selected the NCAA District III Coach of the Year in 1967 and NCAA South Region Coach of the Year in 1976.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Nix," Auburn head baseball coach John Pawlowski said. "Coach Nix elevated this program to new heights during his 22 years as the head coach at Auburn, twice taking his teams to the College World Series. This is a tremendous loss for the Auburn family."
During his tenure, Nix helped produce two All-Americans in pitcher Q.V. Lowe in 1967 and first baseman Dom Fucci in 1978, along with 37 first-team All-SEC players and seven all-district players.
Upon Nix's retirement after the 1984 season, he had won more games than any other active SEC baseball coach and his 217 SEC wins were the most by any conference coach. He is currently ranked 10th on the SEC all-time wins list.
Nix's 1967 squad which was 32-10 and won a Southeastern Conference title with a 15-2 record, gave Auburn its first-ever trip to the CWS.
His second College World Series team in 1976 produced a then-school record 37 wins against 15 losses, while claiming the Southeastern Conference crown. Auburn won a third SEC title under Nix in 1978 after tallying a 33-21 mark, including a 15-8 league record.
Born on September 4, 1932, and a native of Greenville, Ala., Nix not only was the head baseball coach at Troy State for six seasons before coming to Auburn, but also an assistant football and basketball coach at the school.
Nix played baseball and football at Troy State until 1952 when he signed a pro baseball contract. He played three years at Single-A and Double-A ball and hit over .300 every year before graduating from Troy in 1955.
Nix is survived by his wife Gwen, two children, daughter Paula Nix Hooks and son Gary along with three brothers Gordon, Tim and Mike.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. CT at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika with the service being held on Thursday at Auburn United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Bethany House in Nix's honor.