Former Mississippi football coach John Vaught dies at 96

OXFORD, Miss. -- John Vaught, who led Mississippi to six Southeastern Conference titles and 18 postseason bowl appearances in 25 seasons as football coach, has died at 96.

He died Friday night at his assisted living facility in Oxford, Miss., the school said.

Vaught`s influence lingers beyond the University of Mississippi stadium that now bears his name. Professional and college football teams still use his variations on offense.

Quarterbacks Charles Conerly, Jimmy Lear, Jake Gibbs, Doug Elmore, Glynn Griffing and Archie Manning brought national fame to Ole Miss under Vaught`s tutelage from 1947-1970. Vaught`s teams lost only two Southeastern Conference games from 1959-63.

Heart problems forced Vaught to retire in 1970. But after the Rebels started poorly in 1973, Vaught returned to finish the season. He went 190-61-12 at Ole Miss and served as athletic director for four years.

``With the death of John Vaught, we lose an epic figure of 20th century college football,`` Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat, who played for Vaught, said Saturday in a release. ``Universally recognized as one of the great coaches in American football history, he brought dignity, intellect, creativity and vision to the game.``

Vaught played at TCU from 1930-32. A guard, he captained his TCU team and became the school`s first All-American. He was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame. He was inducted as a coach into the Mississippi Hall of Fame and National College Football Hall of Fame.

Vaught was preceded in death by his wife, Johnsie, and his son, John Jr. Survivors include a sister, Nedra Strickland; daughter-in-law Bonnie L. Vaught; and step granddaughter Susan Vaught.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Saturday.

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