Former Mississippi State coach dead at 87

STARKVILLE – Former Mississippi State head football coach Paul Davis, who led the Bulldogs from 1962 through 1966, has died. He was 87.

Davis died Tuesday at Bethany House, a hospice in Auburn, Ala., according to a hospice spokeswoman and an official at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika, Ala.

The exact cause of death was not given.

Davis, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., who played at Ole Miss, was Auburn’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Shug Jordan from 1967-75, an assistant for Doug Barfield from 1975-80 and also was a member of Pat Dye’s staff from 1987-90.

In 1963, Davis’ Mississippi State team went 7-2-2 and battled North Carolina State and frigid temperatures to capture the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia.

Larry Templeton, who served two decades as MSU’s athletic director in Starkville, says he has fond memories of Davis.

“Paul Davis was our next-door neighbor,” Templeton told The Clarion-Ledger. “He and Mrs. Davis took me on some of the football trips when I was in high school because my mom and dad kept their two kids for them. They were special friends of my mom and dad’s.”

Davis’ teams were 20-38-2 overall and 9-22-2 in the Southeastern Conference in his five seasons at Mississippi State. He was later an assistant at both Auburn and Alabama.

Funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, with burial to follow at Auburn Memorial Park in Auburn.

During his 17-year career at Auburn, Davis coached seven All-Americans and participated in nine bowl games as a member of the staff.

Davis was a two-year letterman and 1947 graduate of Ole Miss. He coached in six decades, starting as a high school and junior college coach for eight years before serving as an assistant at Memphis State from 1955-58.

He coached in the Canadian Football League for two years and was an assistant at Georgia for a season before going to Mississippi State.

Survivors include two children and two grandchildren.

 

The Associated Press