Ralph "Shug" Jordan Biography
As one of the greatest coaches in Southeastern Conference history, Ralph "Shug" Jordan knew what it took to keep a team competitive every season. Shug was born in Selma. Alabama on September 25th, 1910. He had to work hard in order to build up the money to pay for college, but it was well worth it in the end.
Shug Jordan was an all-around player in the college sports world in the SEC. He played all three of the major sports: football, basketball, and baseball, and was a starter on all three squads. He was the center for the football team showing a leadership ability to get the offensive line set up before every play. Shug was also the forward on the basketball team, where he was one of the most dangerous scorers in the SEC when he was on the court. Finally, he was a hybrid pitcher/first baseman in baseball, and he was a great pitcher that knew how to win low scoring games.
After graduation in 1932, Shug became the assistant football coach for the university. He also became the head basketball coach, proving that he was a jack of all trades when it came to coaching as well as playing.
Not only was he a great coach, but he was also a great man that did service for his country when it needed him. Shug did not coach with Auburn long before he joined the Army Corps of Engineers. He took part in many major invasions, including both Normandy and Okinawa.
After World War II ended, Jordan became an assistant coach with the Miami Seahawks for one year. Then, in 1947, he was hired as Georgia's head basketball coach, as well as being an assistant in football. He coached for four years here, before taking his dream job as the head coach of Auburn University's football program.
As Auburn's head coach, Shug led the team from an 0-10 season to a 5-5 season in only his first year. In his third season, he had the team playing well enough to earn a coveted bowl birth in the Gator Bowl. 1957 was by far Jordan's greatest season however; he led his team to a 10-0 season. They won the national championship that season, and Shug became immortalized in college football.
Arguably the best win in Shug's career at Auburn was his famous victory over Alabama in 1972 in the famed "Punt, 'Bama, Punt" game. His team was trailing 16-3 late in the fourth quarter, only to block not just one, but two punts in the waning minutes to win 17-16 in a shocking upset. Shug's overall career record at Auburn was 176-83-6, showing just how dominant his teams had been in his 25 years with the program.
Jordan was one of the first great coaches in Auburn history, and he helped to shape the Alabama-Auburn rivalry into the blood feud that it is today. Jordan-hare Stadium was named after him while he was still coaching for Auburn. Shug died in 1980 as one of the greatest coaches in SEC history.
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