Former Middle Tennessee State baseball player, coach and athletic director John Stanford died Monday. He was 77.
Stanford, who is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, is just one of three Blue Raiders to pull off the trifecta of student-athlete, head coach and athletic director.
“John Stanford has been a bedrock of MTSU for over 40 years,” athletics director Chris Massaro said. “He is an incredible person who had an undeniable footprint in our athletic department’s history. Much of the success we enjoy today can be attributed to coach Stanford and his efforts.”
Stanford pitched for the Blue Raiders from 1960-63 after he served in the Air Force. He was an All-Ohio Valley Conference selection and played two seasons of professional baseball with the Washington Senators. He then jumped into coaching at Shelbyville Central High School and Motlow State Community College.
In 1974, he returned to MTSU and coached until 1987. He compiled a record of 402-272-2, which is second in program history to his successor, Steve Peterson. He led the Blue Raiders to four OVC crowns and four NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1982, they reached the championship game of the Midwest Regional – just one win away from the College World Series.
He won or shared the OVC coach of the year honor five times.
In 1987, he took over as athletics director. His contributions include improved baseball facilities, upgrades to the golf program and the formation of a women’s softball program.
His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at Woodfins Funeral Home in Murfreesboro. A visitation will be held at 10 a.m.