Hopkinsville native Jerry Claiborne was a college football coach, most notable as the head coach at Virginia Tech, Maryland, and his alma mater of Kentucky. Claiborne was famous for being a winner, taking over historically under achieving teams and turning them into winners, as well as teaching his players to become excellent students. He retired with an overall record of 179-122-8.
Claiborne attended the Hopkinsville High School and the University of Kentucky and was named the College of Education’s Outstanding Senior. Claiborne played halfback under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Kentucky. Claiborne became Bryant’s assistant coach at Texas A&M and Alabama before he moved up to become a head coach.
Notable Lifetime Accomplishments:
Claiborne coached four Academic All-Americans and eighty-seven all-conference academics.
Named the nation’s Coach of the Year by the Sporting News in 1974.
Named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 1983.
Claiborne’s Kentucky team won the College Football Association Academic Achievement Award for the highest graduation rate of 90% in 1989.
The University of Kentucky named Claiborne into its Alumni Hall of Fame in 1992.
In 1999 the Lexington, Kentucky’s chapter of the National Football Foundation was named after Claiborne.
Claiborne was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Retired with a lifetime record of 179-122-8, ranking him fourth among active college coaches in victories when he retired.