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Maroon Friday Trivia: History Edition

Who is the best coach in MSU football history? A little Maroon Friday trivia for you.

McKeen (right) was MSU's greatest coach that many know little about
McKeen (right) was MSU's greatest coach that many know little about
photo used with permission from Mike Nemeth, Mississippi State University

In honor of Maroon Friday, I'd like to start off with a little trivia,

Do you know who the best coach in the history of Mississippi State football is?

His name is Allyn McKeen. Never heard of him? Neither have I until now. McKeen was born in 1905 in Fulton, KY and lived an accomplished 73 years. You would think a man with such a decorated resume would be more talked about and a celebrated celebrity among the MSU community. A resume that includes an overall record of 78-25-3 and being named SEC Coach of the Year (1940), Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (1977), and College Football Hall of Fame (1991).

While playing Guard at University of Tennessee (1925-1927), McKeen was also the captain of men's basketball and track, and was senior class president. He began coaching at West Tennessee State Normal School, now Memphis, in 1937 but swiftly moved down to Starkville and led the Maroons to a 65-19-3 record over the next nine years. His 1940 team finished the season ranked #9 in the AP Poll (the highest State has ever been ranked) and went on to beat Georgetown in the Orange Bowl. McKeen saw even more success the next year as MSU won its only SEC Championship (1941), but was unable to participate in the post-season due to the wartime airport and train station closings.

McKeen's retirement may have come at an early age of 43, and maybe it was 65 years ago, but he helped start the tradition that we look forward to every fall (We are now at 99 days) and I think his name should never be forgotten.