Former Hokies Coach Charlie Coffey Dies

Former Virginia Tech head football coach Charlie Coffey passed away at his home in Shelbyville, Tennessee Monday night at age 81.

Coffey coached Tech three years from 1971 through '73, his best season in '72 when the Hokies went 6-4-and-1. He coached some of Tech's all-time greats including quarterback Don Strock and tight end Mike Burnop. Coffey leaves behind a wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and one great grand child with another on the way.

"Obviously, I was very saddened to hear of Coach Coffey's passing, but I know he had been dealing with health issues for a while," Burnop said. "I'm certainly thinking of his family as they, and all of us, mourn his passing.

"Charlie was really an innovator as a football coach during that time. He and his staff were sharp minds, and they installed a style of play that really brought the excitement and energy back to Lane Stadium. Charlie also did some cutting edge stuff in terms of marketing, like with the checkerboard end zones and the orange jerseys. Those were his ideas. Today, that type of stuff is common, but back then, it was a really advanced way of marketing."

A native of Shelbyville, Coffey came to Tech after serving for five years as the defensive coordinator under Frank Broyles at the University of Arkansas. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach from 1963-65 at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Other coaching stops included George Washington and Southeastern Louisiana State.

Coffey graduated from Tennessee in 1956. He played offensive guard and defensive tackle for General Bob Neyland and was the captain of the team his senior season. In 2010, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2013, he was honored with Honorary Member status by the University of Tennessee Lettermen's "T" Club - the highest honor bestowed by the club.

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