Legendary football coach and history teacher, Jack Mason Carlisle (a/k/a “Cactus Jack”), died Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at his home in New Albany. He would have been 92 years old on September 23.
Among other accomplishments during a coaching and teaching career that spanned more than 60 years, Carlisle is generally credited with having won more high school football games than any coach in Mississippi history.
He also coached college football at schools in Mississippi and Tennessee.
His most famous game as a college coach came when he was an offense coach for Ole Miss in 1977. In the Sept 17, 1977, game vs. undefeated Notre Dame at old Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, the Rebels came from behind to whip the Fighting Irish.
Recalling that legendary game years later, Jack Carlisle said that, “When Notre Dame came on the field, they were so big I thought the field was going to tilt their way. They made our guys look puny.”
But, Carlisle continued, “It was hot that day, and I mean hot. Those big Notre Dame boys weren’t used to that kind of heat.
From Ole Miss, Carlisle went as head coach to build the football program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Services for Jack Carlisle will be on Saturday, July 31, in the chapel at United Funeral Home in New Albany at 2 p.m. Visitation will be noon to 2 p.m.
Following is the entire text of Jack Carlisle’s obituary as prepared by United Funeral Home. And following that is a link to a story about the amazing Cactus Jack, which NEMiss.News published two years ago.
Jack M. Carlisle, 91, died at his home in New Albany, Ms. on July 27, 2021. He was born and raised in Amory, Ms. to Herbert and Estelle Carlisle. He graduated from Ms. State University with a Bachelors degree in History and from Mississippi College with a Masters Degree in Ed. Leadership. He spent over 61 years as a successful teacher and football coach, accumulating a high school record of 262 wins, 70 losses and 17 ties. He coached at Ethel, Lula Rich, Nettleton, Collierville, Tn., Murrah High School, Jackson Prep, Ole Miss, East Tn. State University, Madison Ridgeland Academy, and Louisiana College. He also helped at Ms. College, Millsaps College, and East Central Community College.
Coach Carlisle is a member of 7 Halls of Fame, including The Ms. Sports Hall of Fame, Ms. Association of Coaches Hall of Fame, Jackson Prep Hall of Fame, Ms. Community College Hall of Fame, MAIS Hall of Fame, MRA Hall of Fame, and North Ms. Coaches Assoc. Hall of Fame. Nettleton High School Tiger Football Stadium is named the Jack Carlisle Field, dedicated to Coach Carlisle in 2010.
Coach Carlisle is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Billy Carlisle, his sister, Carlene Yarbrough, and his great grandson, Paxton Wayne Brandon.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jean Franklin Carlisle of New Albany, one son, Mike Carlisle (Nancy) of La Conner, Wa, three daughters, Bettye Carlisle Brown of Ridgeland, Jane Carlisle Hubbard (Bubba) of New Albany, and Cathy Carlisle Grindstaff (Todd), of Greensboro, NC.
He is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Peter Carlisle (Tatum), Will Carlisle (Kayla), Matthew Brewer, Carly Brandon (Justin), Drew Hubbard, Jill Hubbard Weinstein (Brian), Kate Hubbard Conwill (Joe), Lee Grindstaff, Kurt Grindstaff (Lauren), Anna Grindstaff, and 7 great grandchildren.
William Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead, It’s not even past.”
Legends die, but Coach Carlisle’s past never will.
There will be a memorial service for Coach Carlisle on Saturday, July 31, at United Funeral Home in New Albany, Ms. Visitation will be from 12:00 – 2:00, with the Memorial service at 2:00.
And here’s the link to the story about “Cactus Jack, Against All Odds:”Cactus Jack Carlisle, Cactus Jack: Against All Odds, MS Association of Coaches Hall of Fame, MS Sports Hall of Fame, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news