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Russell Coffee


1925 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Russell Coffee Obituary
Coffee, Coach Russell Coach Russell Coffee whose prolific coaching career spanned an important era of high school and college football in Texas died on December 12th, in Austin, Texas. His outstanding ability to inspire, motivate and befriend his players has been a hallmark to his life. Russell Weldon Coffee was born to Ira M. and Mary Ruth Coffee in Colorado City, Texas on April 27th, 1925. After graduating from Loraine High School he joined the US Navy in 1945 and was stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres, and also China. After the war, Russell attended and graduated from Abilene Christian College lettering in football, baseball, tennis and track. In 1949, Mr. Coffee's first coaching job was at San Angelo, Texas. In 1950 he went to Llano High School where the team won the district championship title. In 1951-1952 coaching at Lamesa High School, the team won the first district championship in the school's history. Mr. Coffee also received his MS from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene that year. Coach Coffee moved to Weatherford, Texas from 1953 to 1959 and served as Athletic Director and head football coach of Weatherford High during the notable years where they won three district championships. Coffee remarked one of his proudest achievements of this period was 'building a field house' with two assistants coaches, so the team would have a dressing room. Coffee moved to the University of Texas as an assistant coach from 1959 until 1967; the years many consider the golden era of the Longhorn football. As an offensive coach the Longhorns won four Southwest Conference Champion-ships, a National Championship, and played seven bowl games. Along with his coaching ability, Coach Coffee was an unusually prolific recruiter for the University. Marvin Kristynik recalls "Coach was a top recruiter; almost all of the captains of this period were Coffee's recruits. These included Bill Bradley, James Street, Pete Lammons, Joe Dixon and many more. During 1968-1971, as head coach of Garland High School, he was twice "Coach of the Year" in the Dallas area. Garland Owls won three district championships. From 1972-1973 Coffee coached at Texas Christian University as the offensive coordinator. After coaching, Mr. Coffee worked in the insurance industry in the Dallas area until his retirement at which time he moved to Austin. Coach Coffee was a prolific reader and was ready to both give his opinion and information on many subjects, particularly sports. His family is grateful to the exceptional number of former players and friends who kept in contact with him throughout the latter part of his life and particularly during his illness. Mr. Coffee is survived by his longtime companion, Ginny Harper, along with his three children and daughter in law, Rusty and Maribeth Coffee of Tool, Texas, Craig Coffee, Kay Lynn Coffee Watson of Austin; his sisters Mara Lee Nichols of Whitney, Texas, Jane Sandlin of Austin, and his ten grandchildren. A "Celebration of Life" Memorial Service will be held after the first of the year.



Published in Dallas Morning News on Dec. 18, 2011
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