Jackson State coaching legend W.C. Gorden dies at age 90

Published 1:28 am Saturday, October 24, 2020

W.C. Gorden, the legendary football coach who led Jackson State to eight Southwestern Athletic Conference championships, died Friday at the age of 90.

Jackson State announced Gorden’s death in a Twitter post late Friday night.

One of Gorden’s first head coaching jobs was in Vicksburg, at Rosa A. Temple High School. He led the Buccaneers to a perfect 11-0 and the Negro Big 8 championship in 1966.

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Gorden left Temple after that one season for a job on Jackson State’s staff, and spent 10 years as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach before becoming head coach in 1976. Gorden also coached JSU’s baseball team in 1971 and ‘72, and won the SWAC title in 1971.

After coaching two games on an interim basis in 1976, Gorden remained as Jackson State’s head coach until 1991. He only had one losing season and one other .500 season, and finished with a career record of 119-48-5.

Gorden won SWAC titles in 1980, 1981 and 1982, four in a row from 1985-88, and one more in 1990. The Tigers won a SWAC-record 28 consecutive games from 1985-89.

Gorden was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1994 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He is also a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.