Jimmy Feix, the all-time winningest coach in the history of Western Kentucky University football, was named to the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, the National Football Foundation announced this week.
The late Feix is the only football coach in WKU’s history to eclipse the 100-win mark, amassing a career record of 106-56-6 (.649) in his 16 years as the program’s head coach from 1968-83. He was added to the ballot for his career as a coach as he led the Hilltoppers to the NCAA Division II championship game in its first year of existence, 1973, before again taking WKU to the championship in 1975. The Toppers took home runner-up honors in both seasons.
Feix was originally nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Feix served his alma mater as an All-American athlete, assistant football coach, head football coach, assistant director of alumni affairs, director of alumni affairs and director of athletics almost continuously from his arrival on campus as a freshman athlete in 1949 until his retirement in 1990. He spent 27 years as a member of the coaching staff at WKU, the last 16 of those (1968-83) as head football coach. Feix passed away in October 2014.
His 14 teams that competed in the Ohio Valley Conference went 67-28-2 (70.1 percent) in league play, winning or sharing the OVC championship on six occasions – 1970, ‘71, ‘73, ‘75, ‘78 and ‘80. His 1973 team was undefeated in the regular season and rolled all the way to the championship game, finishing the year 12-1-0. The Hilltoppers made the playoff field again in 1975 and advanced to the title game for the second time, but once again had to settle for runner-up honors with their 11-2-0 record.
Feix was named Kodak College Coach-of-the-Year for Division IV in 1973 and ‘75. And, he was named OVC Coach-of-the-Year three times – 1973, ‘78 and ‘80. In his 16 seasons at the Topper helm, he coached 16 athletes who followed him on the list of WKU football All-Americans.
The playing field at Houchens-Smith Stadium, where his 16 teams played all of their home games, was named “Jimmy Feix Field” in his honor in 1991. In addition, he and another former Topper quarterback and head coach, Willie Taggart, were the first football athletes to have their jerseys retired in ceremonies on Feix Field in 1999.
Feix was a member of the 10-person inaugural class of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 as well as the head coach of WKU’s All-Century Football Team, which was named in the fall of 2018. He was also an honored member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Champions (2007), the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame (2004), WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni (2003) and the Henderson County Sports Hall of Fame (1988).