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Jess Neely


Jess Claiborne Neely

Inducted 1971

Date of Birth



Smyrna, TN


Rice University (1940-1966)

Clemson University (1931-1939)

Rhodes College (1924-1927)


After 40 years within the ranks of collegiate coaching, Jess Neely left the profession with the deepest respect of his peers, honored and respected by his fellow coaches. He was elected president of the American Football Coaches Association and later received the association's Stagg Award for contributions to football. Neely played end and halfback at Vanderbilt and was captain of the 1922 team. He obtained a law degree at Vanderbilt, then went into coaching at Southwestern (now Rhodes College) 1924-27. For the next three years he was assistant football coach and head baseball coach at Alabama. Next came the head coach's job at Clemson 1931-39. His 1939 team beat Boston College 6-3 in the Cotton Bowl. Rice hired him, and he stayed 27 years 1940-66. He won four Southwest Conference championships and was in seven bowl games. During his time Rice built a stadium seating 70,000. His overall record for 40 years was 207-176-19. Neely returned to Vanderbilt as director of athletics 1967-71.


Wins 207

Losses 176

Ties 19

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