Date of Birth
University of Maryland (1972-1981)
University of Kentucky (1982-1989)
Virginia Tech (1961-1970)
Jerry Claiborne took over washed-up programs and gave them new life. And he taught his players to be good students. He was a head coach in college 28 years with this record: 179-122-8. The College Football Association in 1988 gave Kentucky, an award for leading the nation in number of football players who graduated on time. Claiborne coached four Academic All-Americas and 87 all-conference academics. His teams were in 11 bowl games. He coached Virginia Tech 1961-70 with a 69-31-2 record. Then Maryland called. The school had won just nine games in five years. Claiborne had a winner his second year. Beginning in 1973 his teams made it to six consecutive bowl games. The Sporting News in 1974 named him the nation's Coach of the Year. His 1976 team went 11-1 and ranked No.8 in the Associated Press poll. For ten years at Maryland his record was 77-37-3. In 1982 his alma-mater, Kentucky called. The school had endured four straight losing seasons. Claiborne took Kentucky to bowl games his second and third years. He retired after the 1989 season. Sports Illustrated said in 1976 his great virtues were "organization, motivation, and hard work." He said, "Coaching is one of the few professions where you can change people and help them to be good citizens and parents." Claiborne played halfback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky in 1946 and 1948-49. He was a Bryant assistant at Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama before launching a career as a successful head coach. In June of 1999, the Lexington Kentucky chapter of the National Football Foundation was named after Claiborne.
Class of 1999