Sad news on the Elon University/Duke University/WS Reynolds HS front:You can call him Shirley, but it was best to call him Red, and Red always meant Go(Sad to report, Red “Shirley” Wilson is gone)

The beloved football coach from among places such as Elon College, Duke University and Winston-Salem Reynolds High School, has left us…

Red “Shirley” Wilson has died….He lived from from 1925 until 2021….Red Wilson was 95 years old…

More on Red Wilson, and he may just be the most remembered coach, in Elon College/Elon University history….


Shirley Schaub “Red” Wilson (born September 26, 1925) is a former American football coach. He served as the head football coach at Elon University for 1967 to 1976 and at Duke University from 1979 to 1982, compiling a career college football record of 88–61–3.

Wilson was born in 1925 in Madison, North Carolina. Prior to coaching at Elon, he coached football at Richard J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Wilson compiled a 71–35–2 (.667) record at Elon. His 71 wins are the most of any coach in the history of the Elon Phoenix football program. In three of his final four seasons at Elon, he teams won 10 or more games.

At Duke, Wilson compiled a 16–27–1 record. He is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Born September 26, 1925 (age 95)
Madison, North Carolina

Coaching career (HC unless noted)
South Norfolk HS (VA)
1956 Henderson HS (NC)
1957–1964 R. J. Reynolds HS (NC)
1965–1966 Fayetteville HS (NC)
1967–1976 Elon
1979–1982 Duke

Head coaching record
Overall 88–61–3 (college)
Playoffs 1–3 (NAIA D-I playoffs)

Accomplishments and honors
5 Carolinas Conference (1969, 1971–1974)
1 SAC (1976)

************I still remember playing against the Red Wilson-coached Elon football team back in the Fall of 1976, and as an 18 year-old football kid, I got my butt kicked that night by the likes of lineman Donald Oxendine, Ricky Locklear, Danny Bass, and run over by running back Prince Deese…I could probably take those guys today, but back then Red always had them ready, and they were ready to take the opposing teams apart….**********

from the Elon University website:….(Nothing on the Duke website about Coach Wilson.)

ELON, NC – Shirley S. “Red” Wilson, the winningest football coach in Elon University history, passed away peacefully in his Burlington home on Friday night, January 8, at the age of 95.

Coach Wilson led the Elon football team for ten seasons, amassing a school-record 72 victories from 1967 to 1976. Wilson’s overall record at Elon was 72-34-2.

“Coach Wilson was a great coach and even better person,” said Dave Blank, Elon University Director of Athletics. “His impact on so many Elon student-athletes, assistant coaches, and members of our campus and community was remarkable and he will be missed by all of us.”

His first game, the 1967 season opener against Elon’s oldest rival Guilford on September 23, was a 28 to 21 victory, and the Wilson era was underway. His first season finished with five wins, three losses, and one tie.

Coach Wilson coached seven All-Americans in his time at Elon, including five first-team All-Americans, the 1976 South Atlantic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in Howard Ferguson and Ricky Locklear and College Football Hall of Fame Member Richard McGeorge.

Wilson led Elon to six conference championships. Five in the Carolinas Conference, including four straight from 1971 to 1974 and a South Atlantic Conference Championship in 1976.

He led Elon to the NAIA Division I Championship Game in 1973, losing to Abilene Christian in the finals after completing an 11-0 regular season. The following year Elon was back in the NAIA playoffs losing to Henderson State in the semi-finals. In his final year with Elon, Wilson led Elon to an 11-0 regular season, losing the National Championship Game to Central Arkansas 10 to 7 in overtime.

In 1979, Wilson became the Duke University head coach and led the Blue Devils to two winning seasons in 1981 and 1982. His final game as a head coach was a victory over archrival North Carolina.

Wilson was born on September 26, 1925, in Madison, North Carolina. He graduated from Davidson College, where he played football. Before becoming the head coach at Elon, he coached high school football in North Carolina and Virginia, where he won eight conference championships and had three undefeated seasons.

Wilson was inducted into the Elon Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. He was also a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Wilson and his wife Katie, who passed away on December 26, were married for 72 years. Wilson is survived by two sons, a daughter, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild.