Delta State University’s Horace L. McCool

from http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/DELTA-STATE-UNIVERSITY-MOURNING-PASSING-OF-A-DELTA-LEGEND-HORACE-L-MCCOOL-12684183

CLEVELAND, March 24 — Delta State University issued the following news release:

The football field stands silent today at Delta State University, as the school mourns the passing of a true Delta legend, Coach Horace McCool. McCool passed away on Tuesday, March 23, at Bolivar Medical Center. He was 81 years old.

Visitation is set for Friday, March 26 from 6-8 p.m. at Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland, and again on Saturday, March 27, from noon-2:30 p.m. at Cleveland’s First Baptist Church. Funeral services will follow at 2:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Horace L. McCool Facilities Fund at the Delta State University Foundation. Donations may be sent to DSU Box 3141, Cleveland, MS 38733.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Coach Horace McCool,” Jeremy McClain, director of athletics stated. “In his 13 year career as head football coach at Delta State; he ushered in an era of success on the gridiron never before seen at DSU. As an administrator, his effort to bring back women’s basketball and lead our entire program into an ever changing world was not only visionary, but exemplary.”

McCool was truly one of a kind. A master motivator, he directed the Statesmen football program for 13 seasons before moving into administration. His legacy stretches beyond the gridiron and into the hallowed halls of Sillers Coliseum and beyond to the very campus here at Delta State.

“In my years as athletic director, I enjoyed my close relationship and friendship with Coach McCool,” Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss stated. “I enjoyed watching his successful teams and I consider him one of the all-time greats of college football in our state. He will be long remembered for the outstanding service he rendered the university in his various capacities.”

Horace McCool served as the head football coach of the Delta State Statesmen from 1961-1973. Over the span of those 13 seasons, the Boyle, Miss., native recorded 76 wins, 48 losses and three ties. From 1961 to 1966, McCool’s teams reeled off six-straight winning seasons and an outstanding 41-15 record. His 76 wins still stand as the all-time record for a head football coach at Delta State and he still holds the distinction of being the only coach in Statesmen history to have six-consecutive winning seasons.

McCool coached 17 All-Americans at Delta State and helped develop several professional players, including Jack Gregory, an All-Pro defensive end with the New York Giants.

“Coach McCool always knew what to say and when to say it,” Ned Mitchell, a former Statesmen football player and past president of the Alumni Association, stated: “His halftime speeches were legendary. He got you so ready to play that you would run through a brick wall for him. He was always doing something to keep you focused on the task at hand, but not so serious that it wasn’t fun. I’m going to miss him.”

Prior to becoming head coach at Delta State, he served as an assistant coach with the Statesmen under legendary Head Coach Gene Chadwick for two years before being named head coach in 1961.

McCool also proved to be an outstanding leader, directing the University’s athletic programs as Director of Athletics from 1967 to 1977. He became Delta State’s first fulltime Athletics Director in January of 1974.

During McCool’s tenure, the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen enjoyed unparalleled successes on the field and in the classroom. McCool led the charge to reinstate women’s basketball at Delta State and watched as legendary head coach Margaret Wade directed the Lady Statesmen basketball team to three-straight national championships in the mid-70’s.

He was a major figure in the formation of the Gulf South Conference in 1971. Although the league was formed just prior to the 1971 football season, McCool pushed for championships to be declared in all sports during the initial year. At that time, the GSC was a 10-member league with universities in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Almost 40 years later, Delta State Athletics stands as the measure of success in the 15-team, six-state league with nine national titles and 38 conference championships.

After spending 25 years serving the Department of Athletics as a coach and administrator, McCool resigned as Director of Athletics in the spring of 1978. He went on to serve the University as Physical Plant Director for several more years.

McCool’s first coaching experience came in the Mississippi Junior College Conference as he served as an assistant coach at Itawamba Junior College and then as head coach at Northeast JC and Holmes JC. He gained national recognition when he was on the coaching staff of the National Junior College All-American game in Albuquerque, N.M., and the All-America High School games at Hershey, Pa., and Miami, Fla.

McCool played two seasons for legendary Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught from 1948-49 and also played baseball for the Rebels in 1949. He then transferred to Memphis State for the 1950 season before joining the United States Army during the Korean War. While in the service, he played one season for Ft. Jackson in South Carolina, a team which went 16-1 and lost to Carswell Air Force Base in the National Service Championship game. Following his time in the service, McCool transferred to Delta State. He would receive his bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State in 1952. Two-years later, he received his master’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi.

Prior to enrolling at Ole Miss, McCool was an outstanding prep player at Belzoni High School from 1944 to 1947.

McCool is a charter member of the Delta State Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1978, Delta State presented the long-time coach and administrator with the McHardy Service Award, and in 1997 the American Football Foundation presented McCool with the prestigious Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was a past member of the National Football Coaches Association, the National Athletic Directors Association, the Mississippi Education Association, the National Education Association, the Red Red Rose (Mississippi Chapter), Phi Delta Kappa and the Cleveland First Baptist Church.

Delta State University recognized Horace L. McCool by naming the stadium at Travis E. Parker Field in his honor. Through a Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning resolution, the name of Delta State’s football facility became Travis E. Parker Field at Horace L. McCool Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007. In true McCool fashion, after speaking to the team before the game, Delta State went on to rout Arkansas Tech, 43-14, before 7.254 fans.

During a press conference on Friday, Oct. 5, 2007, McCool said, “I am honored beyond words. Delta State has always been such an important part of my life and for over 30 years I have called it home. I want to thank the University, President Dr. John Hilpert, Jeremy McClain and all of the former assistant coaches and players who made this possible.”

McCool was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Bole of Shaw. The couple has three children, one daughter Memorie Naron of Cleveland, and two sons, Mike McCool of Jacksonville, Fla., and Scott McCool of Houston, Texas. The McCool’s are the grandparents of seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. For more information please contact: Sarabjit Jagirdar, Email:- htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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