THE FLATS – Georgia Tech athletics mourns the passing of Georgia Tech and College Football Hall-of-Famer Maxie Baughan, who died on Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 85.
Born in Forkland, Ala. on Aug. 3, 1938, Baughan went to Bessemer (Ala.) H.S. before attending Georgia Tech, where he lettered in football from 1957-59 (before freshmen were eligible in NCAA athletics). He started at both center and linebacker for the Yellow Jackes, and earned a plethora of honors, highlighted by first-team All-America recognition as a senior in 1959. His honors also included being the 1959 Southeastern Conference Lineman of the Year and a two-time all-SEC honoree (1958 and ’59). He captained the Jackets as a senior in ’59, when he racked up a then-school-record 124 tackles and was named co-MVP of the 1960 Gator Bowl.
After graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering, Baughan was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1960 National Football League Draft (20th pick overall). He became a day-one starter for the Eagles at linebacker and helped lead them to the 1960 NFL Championship as a rookie. In 11 NFL seasons (Eagles – 1960-65, Los Angeles Rams – 1966-70, Washington Redskins – 1974), he was a seven-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler.
He initially retired from the NFL in 1972 to return to Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jackets’ defensive coordinator under head coach Bill Fulcher, and in his first season in the role, helped lead the Jackets to a 31-30 victory over Iowa State in 1972 Liberty Bowl.
He left Tech in 1974 to return to the NFL as a player-coach for the Washington Redskins. After retiring for good as a player following the ’74 campaign, he embarked on a coaching career that spanned three decades, including six seasons as the head coach at Cornell (1983-88) and stints as an NFL assistant with the Baltimore Colts, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens.
Baughan was inducted to the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988. He is also a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame. He reached the semifinalist stage of voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022.
“On behalf of the entire Georgia Tech football family, I offer my deepest condolences to the Baughan family,” Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key said. “Maxie is one of the most legendary figures in our program’s history and a shining example of what a Tech Man is. We are heartbroken by his passing.”
Baughan is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dianne, three children and eight grandchildren.