Legendary HS football coach dies - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Legendary HS football coach dies

Posted By Coleman Swierc

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (Kevin Gore/The Daily Sentinel) - Gean Hale, affectionately called "The old coach" by former Nacogdoches Dragon football players, fans and friends, died Saturday in Nacogdoches. He was 89.

Hale coached at Nacogdoches High School 14 years, from 1952 to 1965. He compiled an 83-53-6 record, including three nine-win seasons.

His 1958 team was 9-1 and outscored opponents 321-46 in a season in which, at one time, the Dragons were ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 3A.

He was followed as head coach at Nacogdoches by the late L.H. Mathews, who had served as an assistant at Nacogdoches during Hale's tenure.

The two men had earlier served as co-captains of the 1947 East Texas State Teacher's College team in Commerce.

Hale is a member of the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor.

A veteran of World War II, he was a banker in Nacogdoches after his coaching career and for several years provided radio commentary for Dragon football games.

Hale received several military decorations for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, three Battle Stars and a medal from Chiang Kai-shek for contributions to China.

Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches, with Dr. Bill Gandin officiating and burial following in Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at Laird Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the 'Hale-Mathews Memorial Scholarship Fund" in care of NHSAA, P.O. Box 632532, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75963.

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