Former TSU football coach Joe Gilliam Sr. dies - WSMV Channel 4

Former TSU football coach Joe Gilliam Sr. dies

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Legendary Tennessee State University football coach Joe Gilliam Sr. has died, according to school officials.

Gilliam, 89, served as defensive coordinator and an assistant to head coach John Merritt from 1963-1981 and was named head coach in 1989.

During the 25 years that Gilliam was at TSU, the Tigers amassed a 164-31-6 record.

His son, Joe Gilliam Jr., nicknamed "Jefferson Street Joe," played at TSU and later for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In his time as a coach at TSU, Joe Gilliam Sr. helped develop 144 players who had professional football careers with the National Football League, including NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent and former Dallas Cowboy Ed 'Too Tall' Jones.

Joe Gilliam Sr. was inducted into the TSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Tennessee Sports Hall Of Fame in 2007.

TSU Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips said in a statement:

"The passing of Coach Joe Gilliam has cast a sadness across the Tiger nation this evening. A great teacher, a genius coach, a developer of men, he will be missed but never forgotten in the hearts and souls of all who bleed blue."

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