HBCU Coach Profile: W.C. Gorden, Jackson State University

On the second edition of HBCU Coach Profile, we highlight W.C. Gorden the former head football coach for the Tigers of Jackson State University.

W.C. Gorden attended Tennessee State University where he played football as a wide receiver as well as baseball. He graduated from Tennessee State in 1952 with a degree in health and physical education and would later attain his master’s degree from TSU.

In 1956, W.C. Gorden’s coaching career began when he was hired by Eva Gordon High School in Magnolia, Mississippi where he would go on to coach football, baseball, basketball, and track while also serving as the school’s athletic director.

He then began a stint as athletic director and football coach for Temple High School in Vicksburg, Mississippi before settling at Jackson State in 1966.

In the early stages of his career with the Jackson State football team, W.C. Gorden held the position of defensive coordinator from 1966-1976. In his time as defensive coordinator, the Tigers won three SWAC Football Championships (1972, 1973, 1975) led by future Hall of Fame NFL running back Walter Payton.

In the midst of Gorden’s time as defensive coordinator for Jackson State’s football team, he was briefly the head coach of the baseball team winning the SWAC Baseball Championship in 1971.

In 1977, W.C. Gorden would be promoted to head football coach for Jackson State Tigers. As head coach, Gorden led the Tigers to eight SWAC Championship wins (1980-1982, 1985-1988, 1990) and the Black College National Championship in 1990. He also led the Tigers to nine Division I-AA Tournament appearances including six straight between 1985-1990.

W.C. Gorden holds an overall record of 118-47-5 and a conference record of 79-21 as the head coach of the Tigers football team including a stretch winning 28 straight SWAC conference games from 1985-1989. He would be inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1994 and College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

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