The Austin College community is mourning the loss of former baseball and football coach Jim Norman, who passed away Sunday in Cedar Hill at the age of 81. A memorial service will be held at Big Sandy High School at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Norman served as the head baseball coach of the Kangaroos in 1981 and 1982, as well as serving as an assistant coach for the Austin College football team during the 1980 and 1981 seasons. During his time with the Kangaroo football team, he helped guide the team to records of 8-2 and 11-1-1, and was a member of the coaching staff for the 1981 NAIA National Championship team. He was also an assistant professor at Austin College during his tenure in Sherman.
“The entire Austin College community is saddened to learn that another of its treasures has passed away,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Tim Millerick. “Having met Mr. Norman on many occasions, I knew him to be full of life and energy. I have learned from alumni who played for him here that his contribution to the athletics department was special during what was a very successful time in our history. The man could coach. I know the entire ’Roo Nation joins me in acknowledging the memories of Mr. Norman as well as surrounding his son, David, and the entire Norman family, with our love and sympathy.”
Norman was also a legendary figure in Texas high school football, having coached Big Sandy to consecutive state championships in 1973, 1974, and 1975. He also coached Big Sandy to a state championship in track and field, as well as several district and regional championships in both football and track.
His career also included head coaching stops at Jacksboro and Wills Point, along with assistant coaching positions at South Garland and Lancaster. Norman had a positive and lasting influence on thousands of student athletes at the junior high, high school, and college levels.
Norman was born in Tunica, Mississippi on June 4, 1935. He graduated from Hernando High School and continued on to receive a bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi and a master’s degree in education from University of Texas at Tyler. Jim served his country in the United States Army and U.S. National Guard from January 1955 to March 1963.
Norman is survived by sons James, Richard, and David and daughter Margie by his first wife Mary Lee; eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren; brothers Jasper and Mike and sister Mary Frances; along with many other family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to The Jerry and Joy Apple Challenge for Coaching at Austin College, which directly supports assistant coach salaries for the college’s 18 different sports; the Big Sandy Independent School District Athletics Department, Big Sandy, Texas; or to a charity of your choice.