Longtime NCAA defensive coordinator, former Ole Miss head coach Joe Lee Dunn reportedly dead at 75
The SEC community is mourning the loss of a longtime coach considered the father of the 3-3-5 defense.
Joe Lee Dunn, who was defensive coordinator for several SEC programs and led the New Mexico and Ole Miss programs, has reportedly passed away at the age of 75. Texas Tech associate head coach Derek Jones, who played for Dunn at Ole Miss, posted the following message to his Twitter account on Tuesday:
It was truly an honor to play for one of the best defensive coordinators college FB has ever seen. Coach Joe Lee Dunn, demanded that you play hard and if you weren’t mentally and physically tough, you couldn’t play for him. His mentality helped to mold many men. RIP Coach 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/8cLx1UXWRB
— Derek Jones (@CoachdjCheetah) October 27, 2021
Dunn’s coaching career started at his alma mater, Chattanooga, following his playing career. He later joined New Mexico’s staff in 1980 and was elevated to head coach in 1983, remaining in that post until 1986.
After 2 seasons as South Carolina’s defensive coordinator, he was a volunteer assistant and later defensive coordinator at Memphis before 2 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. He was the Rebels’ head coach in 1994 following the firing of Billy Brewer, leading them to a 4-7 record.
Future stops included Arkansas; Mississippi State, where he was a Broyles Ward finalist in 1999; a return to Memphis; New Mexico State; and McMurry. He was also formerly the head coach at Ridgeway High School in Memphis.