Josh Cody

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Josh Cody
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
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1892-06-11)June 11, 1892
Franklin, Tennessee
Died June 17, 1961(1961-06-17) (aged 69)
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Playing career
1914–1916 Vanderbilt
1919 Vanderbilt
1919–1920 Vanderbilt
Position(s) Tackle (football)
Forward (basketball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1920–1922 Mercer
1923–1927 Vanderbilt (assistant)
1927–1930 Clemson
1931–1934 Vanderbilt (assistant)
1936–1939 Florida
1940 Temple (line)
1955 Temple
1923–1927 Vanderbilt
1926–1931 Clemson
1931–1936 Vanderbilt
1936–1937 Florida
1942–1952 Temple
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1936–1939 Florida
1952–1959 Temple
Head coaching record
Overall 55–62–3 (football)
273–272 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
1 SIAA (as player, 1915)
1 SIAA (as player, 1920)
1 SoCon Tournament (1927)
All-Southern (1914, 1915, 1916, 1919)
Outing Roll of Honor (1914)
Walter Camp third-team All-American (1915, 1919)
Porter Cup (1920)
AP Southeast All-Time football team (1869–1919)
FWA All-time All-America Team (1869–1918)
Ranked by coach Dan McGugin as one of his 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 was a three-time All-American college football player. After graduation from Vanderbilt, Cody coached college football and basketball and served as the athletics director at various universities, including Clemson University, Vanderbilt, the University of Florida and Temple University.

Early life and education[edit]

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

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 thirteen varsity letters in all. One source called Cody "the interference-smashingest, goal-cageingest, home-run knockingest, super-athlete in all Dixie."[3]


At 6 feet, 4 inches (1.93 m), and 225 pounds (102 kg), Cody played for legendary coach Dan McGugin's football team as an offensive and defensive tackle, but was versatile enough to play quarterback, running back and kicker at times. 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). 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 Vandy team published in Vanderbilt's yearbook in 1934.

Cody in Vanderbilt football uniform.

In Cody's freshman year, Vanderbilt returned only ten men with experience[4] 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. 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. He also at one point fell on Michigan's Tommy Hughitt while both dove after a fumble, and though referees did not call roughing, Michigan was bitter about the call throughout the game, which shortly after even threatened to end the contest between the two schools.[5] In his fifth game, a 20–7 loss to Virginia, Cody threw a touchdown pass to Irby "Rabbit" Curry, the team's regular quarterback. Cody received his first national honor at season's end from Outing magazine's "Football Roll of Honor".


In 1915, Vanderbilt finished with a 9–1 record and a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) champioship; and Cody earned his second national honor – a third team All-America selection from Walter Camp. The "point-a-minute" Commodores outscored their opponents by an incredible 514–38. Their only loss was a 35–10 setback to Virginia (Virginia lost only to Harvard, which lost only to national champion Cornell).


In 1916, Cody helped Vanderbilt to a 7–1–1 record, and was selected All-Southern,[6] but was not recognized as an All-American. Quarterback Curry, however, was a third-team All-America selection of Walter Camp.[7]

War and 1919[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, then returned to Vanderbilt for his senior year in 1919.[8] The Commodores finished 5–1–2, and Cody was named an All-American for the third time, again a third-team selection by Walter Camp,[9] to become the only Vanderbilt athlete to be named a three-time All-American.

He spurned an offer from the Canton Bulldogs to play professional football.[10]


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.[3] Other teammates include Gus Morrow, Johnny "Red" Floyd, and Alf Adams.

Coaching career[edit]


After he graduated in 1920, he became the head football coach and athletic director at Mercer. His assistant at Mercer in 1922 was former Georgia Tech running back Everett Strupper.


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. He replaced Wallace Wade, who had left to coach Alabama, in all these capacities.[11][12] 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. In 1926, the football team lost only to Wade's Alabama. 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 is lost and starting contests with the same lineup.[13]


From 1927 to 1930, he was the head coach of the Clemson basketball and football teams.[14] During his tenure, he compiled a 29–11–1 record as football coach, including a prefect 3–0 record against archrival South Carolina and a near-perfect 13–0–1 at home.[15] He was 48–55 as basketball coach.[14] Cody was popular among the Clemson student body, who called him "Big Man" because of his large stature.[14] 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.[14]

Vanderbilt again[edit]

In 1931, he returned to Vanderbilt as head coach of the basketball team and assistant football coach. 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, but Cody remained basketball coach through the 1935–1936 season. His Commodores basketball teams tallied 51–50 in five seasons.


Disappointed at being passed over for the Commodores' football head coaching job, Cody left Vanderbilt in 1936 and, with McGugin's help, became athletic director and head football coach at Florida, where he compiled a 17–24–2 record in four seasons from 1936 to 1939.[15][16] Florida's lone All-SEC selection during this period was Walter "Tiger" Mayberry.


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. 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.[17] 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.[15]

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.[18] He died of a heart attack[19] in Mount Laurel, New Jersey on June 17, 1961.[20]

Posthumous honors[edit]

In 1969, Cody was named by the Football Writers Association to the 1869–1918 Early Era All-American Team. The same year, he was also selected for an Associated Press Southeast Area All-Time football team 1869–1919 era.[21] He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970[1] and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.[22]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Mercer Baptists (Independent) (1920–1922)
1920 Mercer 2–7
1921 Mercer 3–6
1922 Mercer 4–6
Mercer: 9–19
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[23]
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[24]
Temple Owls (Independent) (1955)
1955 Temple 0–8
Temple: 0–8
Total: 55–62–3[15]


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 SoCon Tourn Champions
Vanderbilt: 47–50 14–14
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: 51–50 42–27
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 NCAA Regional
1943–44 Temple 14–9
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. ^ a b College Football Hall of Fame, Hall of Famers, Josh Cody Member Biography. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b Bill Traughber (March 14, 2012). "Vanderbilt SIAA champs in 1920". 
  4. ^ Edwin Pope (1955). Football's Greatest Coaches. p. 341. Retrieved March 8, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ "Michigan and Vandy Likely To Have Break". The Charlotte News. October 16, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ Closed access "All-Southern Football Team As Picked By Sport Writers". Augusta Chronicle. December 3, 1916. 
  7. ^ "Three Colgate Men Picked By Camp for All-American Team". The Syracuse Herald. 1916-12-26. 
  8. ^ "McGugin Will Have Powerful Machine in Coming Grid Battles". Atlanta Constitution. July 27, 1919. Retrieved March 4, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  9. ^ "Walter Camp's All-America Elevens, 1919," The New York Times, p. S1 (December 14, 1919). Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  10. ^ "Josh Cody Refuses To Play Pro. Ball". The Washington Herald. December 5, 1919. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  11. ^ Closed access "Cody Vanderbilt Coach". The Washington Post. January 8, 1923 – via ProQuest. 
  12. ^ "Former Vandy Assistant Gets Stanley's Job". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 17, 1935. 
  13. ^ "S'East Leaders Play 'Dirty', As Clean Suits Break Charm". Big Spring Daily Herald. February 24, 1936. p. 2. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b c d College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Josh C. Cody Records by Year. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  16. ^ 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 108, 115, 116 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  17. ^ "Josh Cody, Temple Coach, Conducts Cage Clinic Here". The Gazette and Daily. p. 17. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  18. ^ "Josh Cody Settles Down To Farm Life". Daily Intelligencer. January 13, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  19. ^ "Josh Cody, 69, Dies; Former Temple Coach". The Evening Sun. June 19, 1961. p. 13. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  20. ^ Bill Traughber, "Josh Cody, a College Football Hall of Famer," Vanderbilt Commodores (September 30, 2009). Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  21. ^ "All-Time Football Team Lists Greats Of Past, Present". Gadsden Times. July 27, 1969. 
  22. ^ Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Inductees, Josh Cody. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  23. ^ 2009 Southern Conference Football Media Guide, Year-by-Year Standings, pp. 74–77 (2009). Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  24. ^ Southeastern Conference, All-Time Football Standings 1933–1939. Retrieved March 16, 2010.


  • 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida (2012).
  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
  • Proctor, Samuel, & Wright Langley, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing Company, Gainesville, Florida (1986). ISBN 0-938637-00-2.

External links[edit]