Jerry Claiborne

Jerry Claiborne played halfback for the University of Kentucky from 1946-1949, and returned to his alma mater as head coach of the Wildcats for eight seasons from 1982-1989. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 1954-1957 and as an assistant at Alabama from 1958-1960. He took his first head coaching job at Virginia Tech in 1961 and eventually landed at Kentucky, where he experienced moderate success.

Claiborne’s Wildcats finished 0-10-1 in his first season in Lexington in 1982, but recovered by posting back-to-back winning seasons in 1983 and 1984. His ’83 team was 6-5-1 and capped the season with a loss in the Hall of Fame Classic. His ’84 squad improved to 9-3, winning that year’s Hall of Fame Classic and finishing No. 19 in the final Associated Press rankings. It was Kentucky’s last bowl win until the 2006 Music City Bowl.

Claiborne’s teams proceeded to finish 5-6, 5-5-1, 5-6 and 5-6 over the next four seasons before closing the 1989 season with a winning record at 6-5. Claiborne retired from coaching following the ’89 season with a 41-46-3 record as head coach at Kentucky and a 179-122-8 record in his career as a head coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and passed away in 2000 at the age of 72.

Coaching History Team Years
Head Coach Kentucky Wildcats 1982-1989
Head Coach Maryland Terrapins 1972-1981
Head Coach Virginia Tech Hokies 1961-1970
Assistant Coach Alabama Crimson Tide 1958-1960
Assistant Coach Texas A&M Aggies 1954-1957

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