This date in history: Happy birthday Shug Jordan - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

This date in history: Happy birthday Shug Jordan

Half the fun of being from this area is teaching newcomers how to pronounce the name of Auburn University’s football stadium. Folks who don’t know better will automatically assume that it’s JOR-dan Hare Stadium. After all, J-o-r-d-a-n is JOR-dan, right?  

Wrong, and when you tell them it’s JER-den Hare, they go off on a tangent about how people “down here” don’t know how to pronounce stuff.

The stadium is JER-den Hare because it’s named after legendary coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan and longtime professor Cliff Hare.  Shug would have been 105 years old today. He was born September 25, 1910 in Selma, Alabama.

Jordan got the nickname Shug as a child, reportedly because of his love for sorghum sugar cane.

Jordan not only coached at Auburn, he played there too. In fact, he was a three sport athlete lettering in football, baseball and basketball.  After graduating in 1932, he served as an assistant coach, later becoming the head coach in 1951.

It may surprise you to know that Shug Jordan was also the school’s head basketball coach for a period, and at one time held the same title at the University of Georgia. He even met his wife through that sport.

When Jordan was an assistant at Auburn in 1934, the basketball team traveled to South Carolina for a tournament. That’s where he met Augusta, Georgia native Evelyn Walker. She was a student at the University of South Carolina.

They apparently hit it off because three years later, she and Shug got married, a union that lasted until his death in 1980. Evelyn Jordan died in 2011.

Incredibly, she used to tell people her name was pronounced JOR-dan. Shug had to correct her every time.

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