Charles Shira
Biographical details
BornSeptember 23, 1926
DiedJanuary 2, 1976 (aged 49)
Jackson, Mississippi
Playing career
1943–1944Texas A&M
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1951Tennessee (assistant)
1952Mississippi State (assistant)
1953Edmonton Eskimos (line)
1954–1956Mississippi State (line)
1957–1966Texas (DC)
1967–1972Mississippi State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1967–1976Mississippi State
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors

Charles N. Shira (September 23, 1926 – January 2, 1976) was an American college football coach and athletic director. He served as head coach of Mississippi State University from 1967 to 1972 and compiled a combined record of 16–45–2. Shira received the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award in 1970, the only season of his tenure in which his team finished with a winning percentage above .500. He also served as the Mississippi State University athletic director, at first concurrent with his head coaching duties, and then as his sole responsibility until his death in 1976.

Early life

Shira attended college at Texas A&M University, where he played football as a tackle from 1943 to 1944.[1] He received an appointment to attend the United States Military Academy,[1] and was admitted as a Cadet in 1948.[2] Shira played football for Army under Earl Blaik from 1949 to 1950.[1] In 1950, he was named Army's most valuable player and to several All-America teams,[1] including the International News Service first team.[3] After the season, he appeared in the Blue–Gray Classic all-star game.[4] Shira did not remain at West Point to graduate, however,[2] and the following year, he served as an assistant coach at Tennessee before moving on to a position at Mississippi State in 1952.[1] There, he worked alongside fellow assistant Darrell Royal under head coach Murray Warmath.[1]

Coaching career

Shira received a degree in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University in 1954. When Royal took over as head coach at Texas, he hired Shira as his top defensive assistant, in which role he remained from 1957 to 1966.[5]

In 1967, he was hired by Mississippi State as its head football coach and athletic director.[5][6] In his first season, his team won two games, followed by none the following year.[7] Mississippi State improved to 3–7 in 1969.[7] That year, Shira served as the coach for the Gray squad in the Blue-Gray Classic.[8]

Mississippi State posted a surprising six-win season in 1970, including a victory over their intrastate rival, Ole Miss. For the accomplishment, the Southeastern Conference named Shira its Coach of the Year.[7] In 1972, having compiled a combined record of 16–45–2, Shira resigned as head coach to focus on his duties as athletic director.[1] In 1975, the National Collegiate Athletic Association imposed a two-year probation on Mississippi State for possible rule violations.[9]

He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on November 20, 1975, and died on January 2, 1976 in a Jackson, Mississippi hospital two days after suffering a second stroke.[1] A Mississippi State athletic facility, Shira Complex, is named in his honor. It was originally built in the 1970s for the football team, and now houses an indoor FieldTurf surface used by the track and field teams.[10] One of his sons, William G. Shira,[1] graduated from Mississippi State in 1979 with an aerospace engineering degree and, as of 2006, was a vice president of Gulfstream Aerospace.[11]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Mississippi State Bulldogs (Southeastern Conference) (1967–1972)
1967 Mississippi State 1–9 0–6 T–9th
1968 Mississippi State 0–8–2 0–4–2 9th
1969 Mississippi State 3–7 0–5 10th
1970 Mississippi State 6–5 3–4 T–7th
1971 Mississippi State 2–9 1–7 10th
1972 Mississippi State 4–7 1–6 9th
Miss State: 16–45–2 5–32–2
Total: 16–45–2


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Burial to be in Starkville; Shira Funeral Services Today, Florence Times-Tri Cities Daily, January 3, 1976.
  2. ^ a b 1999 Register of Graduates and Former Cadets, United States Military Academy, 1999, p. 4-225.
  3. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1220, New York: ESPN Books, 2005, ISBN 1-4013-3703-1.
  4. ^ The History (PDF), 2007 Army Football Media Guide, United States Military Academy, p. 162, 2007, retrieved June 2, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Shira New Coach At Mississippi State, Sarasota Journal, January 11, 1967.
  6. ^ As Shira Takes Over, Getting Staff State's Big Problem, The Tuscaloosa News, January 14, 1967.
  7. ^ a b c Michael B. Ballard, Maroon and White: Mississippi State University, 1878–2003, p. 201, University Press of Mississippi, 2008, ISBN 1-57806-999-8.
  8. ^ 32nd Blue-Gray Tilt Set in Montgomery, Sarasota Journal, December 26, 1969.
  9. ^ Harold Stout, There's Always A Warm Greeting At State, Times Daily, January 3, 1976.
  10. ^ Shira Complex Archived 2010-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, Mississippi State University, retrieved June 2, 2010.
  11. ^ Engineering college honors 2006 Distinguished Fellows Thursday, Mississippi State University, February 21, 2006, retrieved June 2, 2010.