American Football Database
Ralph Jordan
File:Ralph Jordan.jpg
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born(1910-09-25)September 25, 1910
Selma, Alabama
DiedJuly 17, 1980(1980-07-17) (aged 69)
Auburn, Alabama
Playing career


c. 1930



Position(s)Center (football)
Guard (basketball)
Pitcher (baseball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)


Auburn (assistant)
Auburn (assistant)
Miami Seahawks (assisant)
Georgia (assistant)

Head coaching record
Overall176–83–6 (football) (includes tie game forfeited by Mississippi State in 1975)
136–103 (basketball)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1957)
1 SEC (1957)
4x SEC Coach of the Year (1953, 1957, 1963, 1972)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1982 (profile)

James Ralph "Shug" Jordan (/ˈʃʊɡ ˈɜrdən/ SHUUG JURD-an; September 25, 1910 – July 17, 1980) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach of football and basketball. He served as the head football coach at Auburn University from 1951 to 1975, where he compiled a record of 176–83–6. He has the most wins of any coach in Auburn Tigers football history. Jordan's 1957 Auburn squad went undefeated with a record of 10–0 and was named the national champion by the Associated Press. Jordan was also the head men's basketball coach at Auburn (1933–1942, 1945–1946) and at the University of Georgia (1946–1950), tallying a career college basketball record of 136–103. During his time coaching basketball, he also served as an assistant football coach at the two schools. Auburn's Jordan–Hare Stadium was renamed in Jordan's honor in 1973. Jordan was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1982.

Early years and playing career

Born in Selma, Alabama, Jordan was nicknamed "Shug" as a child because of his love for sugar cane. A 1932 graduate of Auburn, he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball and was voted the Most Outstanding Athlete in 1932. Jordan was initiated into Theta Chi Fraternity at Auburn, and he started the Delta Beta chapter of Theta Chi at the University of Georgia.

Early coaching career

After graduation, Jordan became the head basketball coach and an assistant football coach at Auburn. In ten seasons (1933–1942, 1945–1946) as the head coach of the Auburn Tigers men's basketball team, he compiled a record of 95–77. Jordan also compiled 45 wins as head basketball coach at Georgia. In addition to having the most wins by a football coach in Auburn history, Jordan ranks fifth in wins among Tigers basketball coaches.

Military service in World War II

During World War II, Jordan fought in four major invasions as a United States Army officer. He saw action in North Africa and Sicily before being wounded in the invasion of Normandy and receiving a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After recovering from his wounds, he continued action in the Pacific theater, serving at Okinawa.

Head football coaching career

Prior to being hired as Auburn's head football coach in 1951, Jordan spent one season as an assistant coach of the Miami Seahawks of the All-America Football Conference in 1946, and then four years as an assistant at the University of Georgia. When he became head football coach at Auburn, he retained assistants Shot Senn (linemen), Joel Eaves (defensive ends), and Dick McGowen as head freshmen team coach, all former Auburn players who had assisted Jordan's predecessor, Earl Brown. Jordan also hired George L. "Buck" Bradberry (defensive backfield), Homer Hobbs (assistant line), Gene Lorendo (offensive ends), all former Georgia players, and Charlie Waller (offensive backfield). McGowen also served as Auburn's head baseball coach from 1951 to 1957. In his first season as head football coach, Jordan guided the Tigers to a 5–5 record, breaking Auburn's string of five straight losing seasons. In 1957, Jordan led Auburn football to its first Southeastern Conference title and the team's first national championship, which is shared with Rose Bowl Champions Ohio State. Auburn was ineligible for a bowl game, however, having been placed on probation indefinitely by the Southeastern Conference, after having paid two high school players US $500 apiece. [1]

In 1971, Jordan coached quarterback Pat Sullivan to the Heisman Trophy. However, Sullivan's Heisman-winning season ended in disappointment with a convincing loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl. The next year, Jordan's Tigers upset heavily-favored, arch-rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl, a victory which became known by the nickname Punt Bama Punt. In 1973, the university renamed Cliff Hare Stadium as Jordan–Hare Stadium in Jordan's honor, the first stadium in the United States to be named for an active coach. When Jordan retired after the 1975 season, he had amassed a record of 176–83–6 for a .675 winning percentage. His Auburn football teams had .500 or winning records in 22 of 25 seasons he coached.


Jordan died on July 17, 1980 at his home in Auburn, Alabama after a four-month fight with leukemia.[2]

Personal life

Jordan met Evelyn Walker (1913–2011), a native of Augusta, Georgia and a student at the University of South Carolina, when Jordan accompanied the Auburn University basketball team to a tournament there in 1934. Jordan and Walker married in 1937 and were the parents of three children. Evelyn Walker Jordan served as a Panhellenic advisor on the Auburn campus and became a licensed couples counsellor.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Auburn Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (1951–1975)
1951 Auburn 5–5 3–4 6th
1952 Auburn 2–8 0–7 12th
1953 Auburn 7–3–1 4–2–1 5th L Gator 17
1954 Auburn 8–3 3–3 T–7th W Gator 13
1955 Auburn 8–2–1 5–2–1 3rd L Gator 8 8
1956 Auburn 7–3 4–3 5th
1957 Auburn 10–0 7–0 1st 2 1
1958 Auburn 9–0–1 6–0–1 2nd 4 4
1959 Auburn 7–3 4–3 5th 15
1960 Auburn 8–2 5–2 4th 14 13
1961 Auburn 6–4 3–4 7th
1962 Auburn 6–3–1 4–3 6th
1963 Auburn 9–2 6–1 2nd L Orange 6 5
1964 Auburn 6–4 3–3 6th
1965 Auburn 5–5–1 4–1–1 4th L Liberty
1966 Auburn 4–6 1–5 8th
1967 Auburn 6–4 3–3 7th
1968 Auburn 7–4 4–2 T–3rd W Sun 16
1969 Auburn 8–3 5–2 T–3rd L Bluebonnet 15 20
1970 Auburn 9–2 6–2 3rd W Gator 9 10
1971 Auburn 9–2 5–1 T–2nd L Sugar 5 12
1972 Auburn 10–1 6–1 2nd W Gator 7 5
1973 Auburn 6–6 2–5 T–8th L Sun
1974 Auburn 10–2 4–2 T–2nd W Gator 6 8
1975 Auburn 3–6–2 2–4 T–7th
Auburn: 175–83–7
Total: 175–83–7
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Auburn Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (1933–1942)
1933–34 Auburn 2–11 2–9 12th
1934–35 Auburn 4–13 3–9 11th
1935–36 Auburn 10–7 7–4 5th
1936–37 Auburn 11–4 7–4 4th
1937–38 Auburn 14–5 6–3 4th
1936–39 Auburn 16–6 6–4 4th
1939–40 Auburn 7–10 6–7 8th
1940–41 Auburn 13–6 6–5 6th
1941–42 Auburn 11–6 9–5 5th
Auburn Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (1945–1946)
1945–46 Auburn 7–9 7–6
Auburn: 95–77 59–56
Georgia Bulldogs (Southeastern Conference) (1946–1950)
1946–47 Georgia 2–3
1947–48 Georgia 18–10 6–8
1948–49 Georgia 17–13 6–9
1949–50 Georgia 4–2
Georgia: 41–28 12–17
Total: 136–103

      National champion         Conference regular season champion         Conference tournament champion
      Conference regular season and conference tournament champion       Conference division champion

Honors and awards


  1. "Auburn Barred From Bowl Games, Placed on Probation by S.E.C.". Charleston Gazette: p. 13. February 14, 1956.
  2. "Ralph (Shug) Jordan Dead at 69; Coached Football at Auburn; A Colorful Coach". The New York Times. July 18, 1980. Retrieved August 14, 2011.

External links