Alabama Academy of Honor

Ralph Jordan

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1972.

James Ralph Jordan returned to his alma mater as head coach of the Auburn football team in 1951. He had graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1932, lettering in football, baseball, and basketball. By a vote of his teammates he was designated Auburn's Most Outstanding Athlete in 1931-32. For the next twelve years he was an assistant football coach at Auburn.

During World War II Coach Jordan was in the first wave of troops in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, where he was wounded and awarded the purple heart and the Bronze Star. Recovering from his wounds, he participated as a front line officer in the invasion of Okinawa and in the Philippine campaign.

Returning to Auburn in 1945, he coached for one year before joining the coaching staff of the professional Miami Seahawks. Mid-season, 1946, he became an assistant coach at the University of Georgia.

After a series of losing seasons for Auburn, Coach Jordan was made head coach and produced a 5-5 record for his first year. At the end of six years he had built an outstanding team which won both Southeastern Conference and National Championships. Consistently producing good football teams, Coach Jordan was named SEC "Coach of the Year" in 1953, 1957, and 1963. During eight different seasons he was selected national "Coach of the Week," and his Auburn Tigers were invited to play in eight post-seasonal bowl games. Among his accomplishments may be listed the continuing achievements in the athletic profession of the players whom he coached.

Born in Selma, Alabama, September 25, 1910, he was nicknamed Shug because of his love for sugar cane. He was married to the former Evelyn Walker of Columbia, South Carolina, and has two children, Susan Dalby and Ralph, Jr. He is now deceased.