The life and legend of Samuel Raymond Whitmon, known to many as “Coach Whit,” was celebrated Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. The celebration was held at Kean Hall on his beloved Tennessee State University campus.
Celebratory activities activities began at 12:00 noon, where coach Whitmon lay in state until 2:00 p.m., when the family spent their last hour of goodbyes.
Following the seating of the family, his fraternity, held its special service.
The Kean Hall gymnasium was filled with people who knew Coach Whitmon, his family, his church family, Clark Memorial UMC; mentees, students, co-workers, team mates, fraternity brothers, club members; and friends and family who came together to share his most impressive history.
Coach Whitmon was born on October 27, 1926 in Shelbyville, Tennessee to the late Jennie Mae Whitman and Charlie B. Whitmon. He was united in holy matrimony to Dorothy Mae Mallory and to this union four children were born.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Mae Mallory Whitmon; parents, Charlie and Jennie Whitmon; brothers Charlie B. Rogers, Willie, Richard, David, Melvin and Cecil Whitmon.
Raymond attended Bedford County Training School in Shelbyville, TN. He graduated as class Valedictorian and was the only male student in his class. After high school he attended Tennessee State University where he played football as halfback from 1944 to 1947 eating All-American honors and helping lead the team to its first two National Balck College championships in 1946 and 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from TSU in 1947. After graduation, he coached at Bedford County tRaining School before being drafted into the Army where he also coached football during the Korean War.
After he was discharged from the Army, he returned to TSU in 1953. He was hired as an assistant football coach for the next 16 hers. Also, he served as head baseball coach during this time, compiling 300 victories and established himself as the winningest baseball coach in TSU history. He was awarded the “Mr. Baseball” Award in 2007 by the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association.
In 1968, Whitmon was named Head Football Coach at Fisk University. While there, he led the team to its first ever championship and first nationally televised appearance.
Whitmon returned to TSU in 1978 where he served as Athletic Director and taught biology until his retirement in 1996. He spent his summers working in Metro Parks and Recreation coaching baseball. IN 1983, he was inducted into the Tennessee State University Sports Hall of Fame.
He was also an avid golfer. He was one of the founding members of The Untouchables and served on the Bordeaux YMCA Board of Trustees.
He was later appointed by Nashville Mayor Richard Fulton in 1979 to serve on the Metropolitan Beer Board and held this position for 28 years.
Just prior to the beginning of the service, Whitmon’s son, Michael, also a former football player at Fisk University, honored his father and their line.
The Rev. Dr. Kennard Murray, pastor of Clark Memorial UMC, who served as the worship leader for the service, opened with greetings, followed by the opening hymn, “Pass Me Not O gentle savior.” The music team and combined choirs of Clark Memorial UMC provided music. Rev. Dr. Larry Thomas, Associate minister of Greater First Baptist Church, Lewisburg, TN prayed and read the old testament scripture, the 23rd Psalms, a favorite scripture of Coach “Whit.”
There were reflections from Rev. John T. Flack, III, Bedford County historian; Dwight Lewis, cousin, former TSU Baseball player; Dr. William Head, former Fisk football player, Asst. coach at Fisk University; Larry Cole, former TSU baseball player; Homer Wheaton, long time friend; Dr. Joe Cornelius, professor, former TSU football player; Michael Whitmon, son and former Fisk football player.
Coach Whitmon is survived by a loving and devoted family; loving father to Michale Anthony Whitmon, Jennifer Ann Smith, Patsey Yvette (Larry) Thomas, and Penne Yvonne (Lewis) Leeper; grandfather of Kimberlee (Timothy) Williams, Marques and Marvin (Danielle) Whitmon; Terry Smith II, Elgin Smith and Kimery (Kevin) Grant; patrick, Victoria and Samantha thomas; Trey, Mallory and Jonathan Leeper; very devoted brother-in-law, Frank Mallory, Sr. of Knoxville, TN and sister-in-laws, Vickie Mallory of Knoxville, TN, Annie Whitman of Nashville, TN and Jacqueline Whitmon of Chargin Falls, Ohio; 12 great grandchildren and cousin Henryne White of Nashville, TN.
The funeral services were provided by Patton Brother Funeral Home, 1306 South Street, Nashville, TN