This is a good article. Click here for more information.

Josh Cody

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Josh Cody
Cody as Florida coach
Biographical details
Born(1892-06-11)June 11, 1892
Franklin, Tennessee
DiedJune 17, 1961(1961-06-17) (aged 69)
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Playing career
1911–1913Bethel (TN)
1917Camp Jackson
Position(s)Tackle (football)
Forward (basketball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1923–1926Vanderbilt (assistant)
1931–1934Vanderbilt (assistant)
1940Temple (line)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Head coaching record
Overall55–62–3 (football)
273–272 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
1 SIAA (as player, 1915)
1 SIAA (as player, 1920)
1 SIAA (as coach, 1922)
1 SoCon Tournament (1927)
All-Southern (1914, 1915, 1916, 1919)
Third-team All-American (1915, 1919)
Outing Roll of Honor (1914)
Porter Cup (1920)
AP Southeast All-Time team (1869–1919)
FWAA All-time All-America Team (1869–1918)
One of Dan McGugin's six best players
1934 All-time Vandy team
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1970 (profile)

Joshua Crittenden Cody (June 11, 1892 – June 17, 1961) was an American college athlete, head coach, and athletics director. Cody was a native of Tennessee and an alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where he played several sports. As a versatile tackle on the football team, he was a three-time All-American. In 1969, Cody was named by the Football Writers Association of America to the 1869–1918 Early Era All-American Team. He was inducted as a player into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970.

After graduation from Vanderbilt, Cody coached college football and basketball and served as the athletics director at various universities, including: Clemson University, the University of Florida and Temple University. He assisted the likes of Dan McGugin and Ray Morrison.

Early life and education[edit]

Josh Cody was born in Franklin, Tennessee, on June 11, 1892, to James Wadkins Cody, a painter,[1] and Sarah Elizabeth Crittenden. He was raised in Franklin and attended Battle Ground Academy.[2]

College career[edit]

Cody first played three seasons at Bethel College,[3] including the 105–0 loss to Vanderbilt in 1912.[4]

Vanderbilt University[edit]

In 1914, at the age of 22, he enrolled at Vanderbilt University and was a member of the football, basketball, baseball, and track and field teams, earning a total of thirteen varsity letters.[5] One source called Cody: "the interference-smashingest, goal-cageingest, home-run knockingest, super-athlete in all Dixie."[6] Nashville Banner sportswriter and Vanderbilt alumnus Fred Russell described Cody: "When I think of Josh in his college days, I get a mental picture of this great big fellow playing catcher in the spring between innings running out beyond the outfield to throw the shot or the discus in his baseball uniform. He was unbelievably skilled and nimble for a big man in basketball, and in football where he's a legend."[7]


Cody played for legendary coach Dan McGugin's football team as an offensive and defensive tackle (teams played one-platoon football in those days), but was versatile enough to play quarterback, running back, and kicker at times. Fuzzy Woodruff described Cody as "a great kicker and a tower of strength on offense."[8]

Cody in football uniform.

He was a very large player at some 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m), and 225 pounds (102 kg). McGugin later selected him as one of the six best players he ever coached.[9] He was known as a sure tackler, and fierce blocker, who helped the Commodores score 1,099 points in thirty-five games (31.4 points per game).[5] Vanderbilt was 23–9–1 in his four seasons, including 21–3–3 in his final three years. Cody was selected to at least one All-Southern team every year he played, and for an All-time Vanderbilt team published in its 1934 yearbook.

Journalist Ralph McGill, once a teammate of Cody's, said:

He was a great big fellow and one of the most seriously dedicated fellows I've ever met. He was a farm boy and he didn't have any polish but he was very honest and sincere. He didn't have scholarship—we had none in those days— but he had a real job. He literally cleaned the gymnasium every day, cleaned up the locker rooms and the showers, and tended to the coal furnace after practice. He was a big man, squarely built, quiet, almost shy, and enormously decent. He practiced long hours to place kick and became the team's place kicker. He wasn't fast, but he was fast for a big man. He didn't like to wear pads. He got a hold of an old quilt and sewed it to the shoulders of the jersey and that was all the padding he wore.[7]


In Cody's freshman year of 1914, Vanderbilt returned only ten men with experience[10] and finished with a 2–6 record, McGugin's first losing season, and only the second losing season in the school's twenty-five years of playing football.[n 1]

In his second game, a 23–3 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor, Cody converted a 45-yard (41.148 m) drop kick field goal.[5] At one point he also fell on Michigan's Tommy Hughitt while both dove after a fumble. Though the referees did not call roughing, Michigan was bitter about the lack of a call throughout the game, and shortly after even threatened to end the contest between the two schools.[12] In his fifth game, a 20–7 loss to Virginia, Cody dropped back into the backfield and threw a touchdown pass to Irby "Rabbit" Curry, the team's regular quarterback.[5] Cody received his first national honor at season's end from Outing magazine's Football Roll of Honor.[13]


In 1915, Vanderbilt finished with a 9–1 record and a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) championship. Cody earned his second national honor – a third team, All-America selection from Walter Camp.[14] The "point-a-minute" Commodores outscored their opponents by an incredible 514–38. Their only loss was a 35–10 setback to Virginia — a game in which Cody drop kicked a 20-yard field goal.[15][n 2]

Cody personally took over the Auburn game after Vanderbilt was up 17–0. In one of the greatest exhibitions of punt covering, Cody smothered the receiver every time, recovering two fumbles, including one across the goal line for a touchdown.[17] Then, in the last ten seconds of play, Cody dropped kicked a three-pointer from the 33-yard line.[18] In the season's final game against rival Sewanee, tackles Cody and Tom Lipscomb blocked a punt leading to the game's second touchdown. Irby Curry later had an 80-yard touchdown with Cody clearing the path. The final score was 28–3.[17] Cody also received an offer to play for Navy.[19]

1916 to 1918[edit]
Head-and-shoulders photo of Lt. Josh Cody, white man in his mid-20s, shown in the World War I-era field uniform of the U.S. Army
Cody as U.S. Army Lieutenant, c. 1917–1918

In 1916, Cody helped Vanderbilt to a 7–1–1 record, and was selected All-Southern,[20] but was not recognized as an All-American.[n 3] The season started with a question over his eligibility due to formerly playing at Bethel, but was resolved.[22][n 4]

World War I[edit]

He was elected captain of next year's team at season's end, but instead served in the U.S. Army during World War I as a lieutenant in 1917 and 1918.[5] Cody played football during the war at Camp Jackson.[24]


Cody then returned to Vanderbilt for his senior year in 1919.[25] Cody again starred in the Auburn game, giving the SIAA champion its only loss on the year with a 15-yard fumble return and extra point to win 7–6.[26] The Commodores finished 5–1–2, and Cody was named an All-American for the third time, as he again earned a third-team selection by Walter Camp;[27] becoming the only Vanderbilt athlete to be named a three-time All-American. He spurned an offer from the Canton Bulldogs to play professional football.[28]


Cody was a forward on the basketball teams coached by Ray Morrison. Tom Zerfoss and Cody were the starting forwards on the SIAA champion 1919–1920 team.[n 5] As a senior, Cody won the Porter Cup as the school's best all-around athlete.[29]

Coaching career[edit]


After he graduated in 1920, he became the head coach of all sports and athletic director at Mercer. In 1922, Mercer's team was crippled, having many star players out with dengue fever.[30] Former Georgia Tech running back Everett Strupper was an assistant coach.[31] The basketball team was led by George Harmon and won the SIAA as runner-up to North Carolina in the 1922 SoCon men's basketball tournament.


The 1927 SoCon tournament champion Vanderbilt basketball team. Cody is top right.

In 1923, he returned to Vanderbilt, where he became the head coach of the school's baseball and basketball teams. During that time, he also served as an assistant football coach to McGugin.[n 6] Cody's first year as an assistant on the football team in 1923 saw the last conference title for Vanderbilt in the sport to date.[34] In 1926, the football team lost only to Wade's Alabama.[35]

His 1926–27 basketball team finished 20–4—the best record in school history—and won the Southern Conference tournament championship. Cody had a variety of superstitions while coaching his basketball team, including not laundering jerseys during a winning streak until a game was lost, and starting contests with the same lineup.[36]


From 1927 to 1930, he was the head coach of the Clemson basketball and football teams.[37][38] During his tenure, he compiled a 29–11–1 record as football coach, including a perfect 4–0 record against archrival South Carolina and a near-perfect 13–0–1 at home.[39] He was 48–55 as basketball coach.[37] Cody was popular with the Clemson student body, who called him "Big Man" because of his large stature.[37]

In 1927 he gave Red Sanders his first coaching job as backfield coach.[40][41] In May 1929, when rumors were swirling that he might leave to coach a bigger-name program, the students, faculty, and staff took up a collection to buy him a brand new black Buick automobile.[37] Raymond Johnson wrote upon Cody's death: "Josh Cody wanted to be Vanderbilt's coach so bad that he gave up the head man's job at Clemson College after four successful seasons."[40]

Ray Morrison (pictured)

Fred Russell had a well-known story of Cody during a chicken-eating contest at Clemson with Herman Stegeman, the coach at Georgia. "Josh weighed about 260 then. He outstripped Stegeman by eleven chickens. He wasn't satisfied just to win. He just went on to a decisive victory." As Cody explained: "I got two chickens ahead of him early and just coasted."[42]

Vanderbilt again[edit]

In 1931, he returned to Vanderbilt as head coach of the basketball team and assistant football coach. In his second stint as Vanderbilt's basketball coach, Cody went 51–50.[40] In 1934, when McGugin retired, Cody was passed over for the head coaching job in favor of former Vanderbilt quarterback and SMU coach Ray Morrison. Morrison brought his own staff from SMU and neglected Cody's coaching abilities,[43] but Cody remained basketball coach through the 1935–1936 season. His Commodores basketball teams tallied 51–50 in five seasons.


Cody diagramming a play at Florida.

Disappointed at being passed over for the Commodores' football head coaching job, Cody left Vanderbilt in 1936 and, with McGugin's help,[10] was picked by Edgar Jones to become athletic director and head football coach at Florida,[44] where he succeeded Dutch Stanley and compiled a poor 17–24–2 record in the four seasons from 1936 to 1939.[45][46] Florida's lone All-SEC selection during this period was Walter "Tiger" Mayberry in 1937.[47] The 1937 team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in the two teams' annual rivalry game for the first time in eight years.[48] In 1938, Cody lost at home to Pop Warner's Temple 20–12 in the last game Warner ever coached.[49]

Perhaps Cody's finest moment as the Gators' head coach was the 7–0 upset of coach Frank Leahy's then-undefeated, second-ranked Boston College Eagles at Fenway Park in his final season.[50][51] Sophomore end Fergie Ferguson, namesake of the Fergie Ferguson Award, was the defensive star of the game for the Gators.[52][n 7]


In 1940, he left Florida and became the line coach under Ray Morrison at Temple. In 1942, he was appointed the head coach of the Temple basketball team.[54] In 1944, he guided the Owls to their first NCAA Tournament berth, reaching the Elite Eight. One of his clinics and games at Temple in 1947 drew several hundred players, coaches, and fans.[55] He remained Temple's basketball coach until 1952—compiling a record of 124–103—and then became athletic director.

In 1955, after the sudden resignation of Albert Kawal, he served one year as Temple's head football coach, compiling an 0–8 record.[39]

Retirement and death[edit]

In 1959, at the age of 67, he retired to his 190-acre (0.77 km2) farm across the Delaware River in Moorestown, New Jersey which mostly produced grain.[56] He died of a heart attack[57] in Mount Laurel, New Jersey on June 17, 1961.[58] Former Vanderbilt quarterback Tommy Henderson said after learning of Cody's death:

Josh was one of my closest friends until he went to Temple. After that I'm afraid we lost contact. He had a lasting influence on the men who played for him. He was kind and considerate but demanding, too. He was a fine defensive basketball coach who believed in aggressive defensive fundamentals. In football, he was respected for what he knew and what he could do with his material."[59]

Posthumous honors[edit]

In 1969, Cody was named by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to the 1869–1918 Early Era All-American Team (the only southern player chosen).[60] The same year, he was also selected for an Associated Press Southeast Area All-Time football team 1869–1919 era.[61] He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970[2] and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.[62]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Mercer Baptists (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1920–1922)
1920 Mercer 2–7 0–4 25th
1921 Mercer 3–6 2–5 19th
1922 Mercer 5–6 1–2 11th
Mercer: 10–19 3–11
Clemson Tigers (Southern Conference) (1927–1930)
1927 Clemson 5–3–1 2–2 9th
1928 Clemson 8–3 4–2 T–7th
1929 Clemson 8–3 3–3 12th
1930 Clemson 8–2 3–2 9th
Clemson: 29–11–1 12–9[34]
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1936–1939)
1936 Florida 4–6 1–5 11th
1937 Florida 4–7 3–4 8th
1938 Florida 4–6–1 2–2–1 7th
1939 Florida 5–5–1 0–3–1 12th
Florida: 17–24–2 6–14–2[63]
Temple Owls (Independent) (1955)
1955 Temple 0–8
Temple: 0–8
Total: 55–62–3[39]


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Conference) (1923–1927)
1923–24 Vanderbilt 7–15 1–3 15th
1924–25 Vanderbilt 12–13 4–3 10th
1925–26 Vanderbilt 8–18 2–7 17th
1926–27 Vanderbilt 20–4 7–1 2nd
Clemson Tigers (Southern Conference) (1927–1931)
1927–28 Clemson 9–14 5–7 11th
1928–29 Clemson 14–13 6–4 9th
1929–30 Clemson 16–9 8–4 8th
1930–31 Clemson 6–7 3–5 15th
Clemson: 45–43 22–20
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Conference) (1931–1932)
1931–32 Vanderbilt 8–11 5–7 15th
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (1932–1936)
1932–33 Vanderbilt 14–8 11–5 3rd
1933–34 Vanderbilt 11–6 8–5 5th
1934–35 Vanderbilt 9–11 9–6 4th
1935–36 Vanderbilt 9–14 9–4 2nd
Vanderbilt: 98–100 56–41
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1936–1937)
1936–37 Florida 5–13 1–9 12th
Florida: 5–13 1–9
Temple Owls (Independent) (1942–1952)
1942–43 Temple 11–11
1943–44 Temple 14–9 NCAA Regional Third Place
1944–45 Temple 16–7
1945–46 Temple 12–7
1946–47 Temple 8–12
1947–48 Temple 12–11
1948–49 Temple 14–9
1949–50 Temple 14–10
1950–51 Temple 12–13
1951–52 Temple 9–15
Temple: 122–104
Total: 273–272

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rival Tennessee had its first championship of any kind.[11]
  2. ^ Virginia lost only to Harvard, which lost only to national champion Cornell.[16]
  3. ^ Quarterback Curry, however, was a third-team All-America selection of Walter Camp.[21]
  4. ^ One source calls him "the most feared lineman in the South."[23]
  5. ^ Other teammates included Gus Morrow, Johnny "Red" Floyd, and Alf Adams.[6]
  6. ^ He replaced Wallace Wade, who had left to coach Alabama, in all these capacities.[32][33]
  7. ^ Both Mayberry and Ferguson were casualties of World War II.[53]


  1. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Civil District 7, Davidson, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1736; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 116; Image: 116.
  2. ^ a b "Josh Cody: Member Biography". National Football Foundation. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  3. ^ "A Good Man Gone Wrong". The Pittsburgh Press. February 6, 1956.
  4. ^ Walsh, p. 121
  5. ^ a b c d e Traughber 2011, p. 69
  6. ^ a b Bill Traughber (March 14, 2012). "Vanderbilt SIAA champs in 1920".
  7. ^ a b Traughber 2011, p. 70
  8. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 84
  9. ^ "Vandy Coach Picks Greatest Grid Players of Long Football Career". The Evening Independent. August 26, 1930.
  10. ^ a b Pope 1955, p. 341
  11. ^ Robin Hardin (November 2000). "The Flaming Sophomores of Tennessee" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 14 (1).
  12. ^ "Michigan and Vandy Likely To Have Break". The Charlotte News. October 16, 1914. p. 6. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  13. ^ "FOOTBALL ROLL OF HONOR: The Men Whom the Best Coaches of the Country Have Named as the Stars of the Gridiron in 1914" (PDF). Outing. 1915. p. 498. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Camp Changes His All-America Team". Hamilton Daily Republican-News. December 30, 1915.
  15. ^ "Buck Mayer Sounds Commodores' Doom". The Tennessean. November 7, 1915. p. 38. Retrieved May 4, 2016 – via open access
  16. ^ "Harvard Football Yearly Records". Harvard University. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Traughber 2011, p. 60
  18. ^ "Auburn's Goal Line Crossed; Defeat Is Administered by Rejuvenated Commodores". Atlanta Constitution. November 14, 1915. p. 3. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2015 – via open access
  19. ^ "Professionalism on the Part of the Navy?". The Day. December 24, 1915.
  20. ^ closed access "All-Southern Football Team As Picked By Sport Writers". Augusta Chronicle. December 3, 1916.
  21. ^ "Three Colgate Men Picked By Camp for All-American Team". The Syracuse Herald. December 26, 1916.
  22. ^ Blinkey Horn (September 26, 1916). "Jubilation In Vandy Fold Over Eligibility of Josh Cody". The Tennessean. p. 14. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016 – via open access
  23. ^ "Vanderbilt Stars Who Meet State To-morrow". The Courier Journal. October 13, 1916. p. 6. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016 – via open access
  24. ^ "Teams Battle To Tie". Richmond Times-Dispatch. December 9, 1917.
  25. ^ "McGugin Will Have Powerful Machine in Coming Grid Battles". Atlanta Constitution. July 27, 1919. Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015 – via open access
  26. ^ "Cody Leads Teammates To Hard-Won Victory". The Tennessean. October 26, 1919. p. 20. Retrieved June 5, 2016 – via open access
  27. ^ "Walter Camp's All-America Elevens, 1919," The New York Times, p. S1 (December 14, 1919). Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  28. ^ "Josh Cody Refuses To Play Pro. Ball". The Washington Herald. December 5, 1919. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  29. ^ Vanderbilt University 1922, p. 150
  30. ^ "'Dengues Leave For Vandy's Game'". The Mercer Cluster. October 27, 1922.
  31. ^ Wilder, p. 35
  32. ^ closed access "Cody Vanderbilt Coach". The Washington Post. January 8, 1923. ProQuest 149410644.
  33. ^ "Former Vandy Assistant Gets Stanley's Job". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 17, 1935.
  34. ^ a b Southern Conference 2009, pp. 74–77
  35. ^ "Dan McGugin Records By Year". Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  36. ^ "S'East Leaders Play 'Dirty', As Clean Suits Break Charm". Big Spring Daily Herald. February 24, 1936. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  37. ^ a b c d Sam Blackman, "Program Feature: Josh Cody, Former Tiger Coach also led Temple teams," Clemson Tigers (October 20, 2005). Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  38. ^ "Dan McGugin Praises Josh Cody". The Tiger. April 20, 1927.
  39. ^ a b c College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Josh C. Cody Records by Year. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  40. ^ a b c Traughber 2011, p. 71
  41. ^ Joe Marvin (November 2002). "Red Sanders" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 16 (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016.
  42. ^ Traughber 2011, pp. 73–74
  43. ^ Traughber 2011, p. 72
  44. ^ McEwen 1974, p. 113
  45. ^ McCarthy 2000, p. 32
  46. ^ University of Florida 2012, pp. 108, 115–116 (2012)
  47. ^ "Versatility, Great Power Represented". The Monroe News-Star. December 3, 1937. p. 10. Retrieved May 26, 2015 – via open access
  48. ^ John Wilds (November 7, 1937). "Old Supremacy of Bulldogs Is Brought To End". Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  49. ^ "Worth the Wait: Temple stuns Vandy; first win over SEC for since 1938". August 29, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  50. ^ Bynum 1998, p. 9
  51. ^ Carlson 2007, p. 48
  52. ^ Associated Press, "Florida Beats Boston College On First-Period Touchdown," The New York Times, p. 31 (October 12, 1939). Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  53. ^ McEwen 1974, pp. 124–127
  54. ^ "Josh Cody Dies; Former Vanderbilt Star, Coach". Rome News-Tribune. June 19, 1961.
  55. ^ "Josh Cody, Temple Coach, Conducts Cage Clinic Here". The Gazette and Daily. p. 17. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  56. ^ "Josh Cody Settles Down To Farm Life". Daily Intelligencer. January 13, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  57. ^ "Josh Cody, 69, Dies; Former Temple Coach". The Evening Sun. June 19, 1961. p. 13. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via open access
  58. ^ Bill Traughber, "Josh Cody, a College Football Hall of Famer," Vanderbilt Commodores (September 30, 2009). Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  59. ^ Traughber 2011, p. 73
  60. ^ "Odds and Ends" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 2, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  61. ^ "All-Time Football Team Lists Greats Of Past, Present". Gadsden Times. July 27, 1969.
  62. ^ Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Inductees, Josh Cody Archived January 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  63. ^ Southeastern Conference, All-Time Football Standings 1933–1939[permanent dead link]. Retrieved March 16, 2010.


External links[edit]