Former UT Martin Football Coach Fred Pickard Passes Away

 Former UT Martin Football Coach Fred Pickard Passes Away

Former UT Martin football Coach Fred Pickard passed away at his home Saturday at the age of 83 in Dickson, TN

Coach Pickard served as the Pacers’ head football coach from 1982-85. After the 1981 season, several members of the football team approached the AD Coach Ray Mears and suggested Pickard be promoted to head coach. Pickard would succeed George McIntyre. It was the only time Coach Pickard would apply for a football job.

In his first season as head coach, Pickard’s team went 5-6, the best mark for the Pacers in three years. The team opened the season 4-1, the best start for a Pacer football team since the 1967.

Pickard came to UT Martin in 1975 as a linebacker coach under George MacIntyre. He served seven years as an assistant. He also served as defensive coordinator and offensive backs During his playing career at Florida State, Pickard set school records with 339 career rushes for 1546 yards. He was the first Seminole to score a touchdown against archrival University of Florida.

One of Pickard’s biggest collegiate games came when he played in his first and only game in his home state against Tennessee in Knoxville, Pickard rushed for 160 yards and scored a touchdown to lead the Seminoles to a 10 to nothing upset victory over Tennessee. A native of Columbia, Tennessee Pickard excelled for Columbia high school in football, basketball and baseball. In football he earned all Middle Tennessee honors and finished second in the state scoring in 1956.

Pickard‘s collegiate career was honored in March 1982 when he was inducted into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame.  He was inducted into the University of Tennessee at Martin Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

After graduating from Florida State in 1961 with a bachelors degree in education, Pickard had a brief stint with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian league. He started his coaching by serving as a student assistant coach at Florida State during the 1961 season. Away from the football field coach Pickard enjoyed golf shooting in the mid 70s.

Born August 1, 1938 coach Pickard married the former Kathy Wilkerson of Tavineer, Florida they have two children Tracy and Clay and their families.

Former UT Martin Chancellor Nick Dunagan said “Fred Pickard was not only a great football coach, He was an even greater person. I loved his smile and his ‘aw shucks’ persona. He will be missed and I join the Martin community in extending condolences to his family.”

Former UT Martin Coach Larry Shanks said “There’s no way to explain just how nice a man Fred Pickard was…he gave me my first job as defensive coordinator for the Pacers. I will always remember coach Pick’s kindness to me. His coaching staff and certainly his players. His passing really hurts because he was such a swell guy who would do anything for anybody to help them.”


Robert Leyhue