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ACU Remembers: Burl McCoy

Hollis Burl McCoy (’54), one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in Abilene Christian University history, died March 18, 2024, in Abilene, Texas, at age 91.

Visitation will be at 12:30 p.m. March 22, 2024, at the Merkel Church of Christ, with the funeral at 2 p.m. and burial afterward at Rose Hill Cemetery

McCoy was born Feb. 22, 1933, in Stith, Texas, and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a M.Ed. degree (1967), both from ACU. He married Georgia Jan Gibson (’58) on Aug. 11, 1958, in Bakersfield, California. 

He was a track and field standout for the Wildcats – posting top marks from 1952-54 in the 400 hurdles and 1951 in the 110 hurdles, and as a member of 4×200 (1953-54) and sprint medley (1952) relays, including winning performances at the Texas, Drake and Kansas Relays – and also played basketball at Abilene Christian. 


McCoy was one of the top hurdlers for ACU track and field teams in the 1950s.

His career as a teacher, coach and mentor spanned 38 years at the high school and university levels. 

One of the longest-tenured head coaches in Wildcat history, McCoy compiled a 299-174 record in women’s basketball, with postseason appearances in eight of 16 seasons (1976-92), leading ACU to five Lone Star Conference championships. His best team (1980-81) reached the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals, finishing with a 31-7 record that included wins over Texas A&M, SMU, TCU and Hawaii. His teams won four straight LSC basketball titles from 1982-86 and a championship in his final season (1991-92).

McCoy was named LSC Coach of the Year in women’s basketball (1985 and 1986) and women’s track and field (1983).


McCoy (35) played basketball for the Wildcats as a collegian.

I tremendously enjoyed working with Burl,” said ACU trustee Cecil Eager (’71), who was the Wildcats’ director of athletics when McCoy wrapped up his coaching career. “He was an ah-shucks, country-as-cornbread guy, but so very smart. He figured what it took to win at whatever sport and whatever level, was a great recruiter and brought talented players to ACU who would fit in well.”

Among players McCoy coached were first-team All-Americans Bonnie (’81 Buchanan) Gray and Claudia Schleyer (’86), first-team Academic All-Americans Schleyer and Suzanne Johnson Fox (’90), and the first female student-athlete – Gray in 1991 – to be inducted into the ACU Sports Hall of Fame. 

McCoy was highly respected as someone dedicated to interjecting his faith and values into his work. “And he was diligent about creating a family atmosphere for his teams,” Eager said of the coach, who was inducted into the 2001-02 class of the ACU Sports Hall of Fame.


McCoy coached women’s basketball teams to regional or national tournaments eight of 16 seasons.

He was a beloved song leader at church and gospel meetings, and a longtime elder at Merkel Church of Christ. The McCoy Family Singers comprised Burl, Jan and their three children, and he and Jan were also members of a peer group that sang at more than 200 weddings. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Hollis and Velma McCoy, and his brother, Gerald McCoy (’50).

Among survivors are Jan, his wife of 65 years; sons Brad McCoy and wife Debra (’83 Woodruff), and Michael McCoy (’89) and wife Jan (’91 Davis); daughter Amy (’83 McCoy) and husband Sid Walker; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

— Ron Hadfield
March 21, 2024

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