August 25, 2015
Former Tech football coach passes away
Charlie Coffey coached at Tech in the early 1970s

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

Coffey spent three seasons as the head coach at Virginia Tech from 1971-73 and compiled a 12-20-1 overall record. His best season came in 1972 when the Hokies went 6-4-1.

Coffey, along with offensive coordinator Dan Henning, installed a potent passing attack when he arrived in Blacksburg, taking advantage of the talents of players like quarterback Don Strock and tight end Mike Burnop, who now serves as the color analyst on the Virginia Tech/IMG Sports Network. Strock led the nation in passing in 1972 with 3,243 yards, and he still holds numerous school records, including completions in a game (34), yards passing in a game (527) and in a season (3,243), and yards per game average for a season (294.8) and a career (207.2).

In 1971, Burnop caught a school-record 46 passes for 558 yards. His single-season receptions record lasted for more than three decades.

“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.

After his final season at Tech in 1973, Coffey entered the private sector, working in the trucking industry. In 1981, he founded Nationwide Express, a trucking company, and his two sons run the business today.

Coffey leaves behind a wife, Mai, and four children – Suzanne Mielke, Cindi Johnson, Mike Coffey and David Coffey. He also leaves behind 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild (and one on the way).

Coffey’s funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at First Christian Church on Main Street in Shelbyville. The viewing will be at the church on Friday from 4-7 p.m. and also on Saturday from 12-1 before the service.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokiefootball Instagram

HokieSports Shop