From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gilliam, Joe W., Sr.

(born: 1930) 

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Joe Gilliam, Sr. attended Indiana University, West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University], and graduate school at the University of Kentucky. Gilliam, a well-respected football coach, began his coaching career at Oliver High School in Winchester, KY, in 1951. He was awarded the Kentucky High School Football Association's Coach of the Year title. Gilliam left Kentucky to coach at Jackson State College [now Jackson State University] in Mississippi, where his team won a national championship. He then was an assistant coach at Tennessee State University, from 1963-1981, before becoming the head coach. Gilliam's career record, spanning 35 years, is 254-93-15, with five undefeated teams and five teams that lost only one game. In 2007, Joe Gilliam, Sr. was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He was the father of one of the first African American pro football quarterbacks, Joe Gilliam, Jr. (1950-2000), who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; "Joe Gilliam Sr. targets TSU with age bias suit - former football head coach for Tennessee State University," Jet, 02/08/1993; and Coaching the empty backfield offense, by J. W. Gilliam, Sr.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Clark County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Winchester, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Shadows of the past: a history of the Kentucky High School Athletic League
NKAA Entry: Stout, Louis
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)
NKAA Source: Coaching the empty backfield offense

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gilliam, Joe W., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-01-05 00:49:45