| Wins against Kentucky - 0 | Losses against Kentucky - 2 |
Alma Mater: Mississippi College 
Date Born: December 1, 1905
Date Died: September 16, 1986
Overall Record: 68-69 [7 Seasons]
|2/27/1943||Kentucky vs. Mississippi State||W||52 - 43||SEC Tournament (at Louisville, KY)|
|2/13/1940||Mississippi State at Kentucky||W||45 - 37||-|
Obituary - Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger (September 18, 1986)
State Sports Fans Pay Respects to Hitt Today
by Lee Baker
The man recognized as one of the greatest Mississippi-bred athletes and football coaches will be eulogized today at First Baptist Church of Clinton.
Services for Thomas Stanfield "Dick" Hitt, designated as "the greatest" by his football players of 1942 at Mississippi State, will be held at 3 p.m. today at the church with burial in Clinton Cemetery.
Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Visitation is from 10 a.m. to noon today at the funeral home and after 2:30 p.m. today at the church.
Hitt, 80, of 1621 Meadowbrook Road died at midday Tuesday at St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital following surgery.
Hitt spent nearly all of his 31 seasons as a coach, serving as an assistant. His players at Mississippi State held him in high regard, as did legions of friends before and after 1942, including those gained during his tenure from 1961-74 as the first manager of Mississippi Memorial Stadium.
Bernard Blackwell, alumni secretary at Hitt's alma mater, Mississippi College, said, "Dick Hitt was a man among men. My first acquaintance with him came in 1945 as a 17- or 18-year-old, while I was playing basketball for Goat Hale at Ole Miss and we played Dick's team at State.
"While we won that game by 47 points, I was impressed by him from first meeting. A stern disciplinarian, certainly, and one of the best fundamentalists in coaching Mississippi ever produced, just outstanding in every way."
Born Dec. 1, 1905, in Marion County "about midway between Goss and Bunker Hill, where my father was teaching school," Hitt once explained, he came to Clinton in 1917 "when my Daddy came back to graduate" from Mississippi College. The family, which eventually numbered four sons and three daughters, stayed on while the father, Dr. J.R. Hitt, worked for many years as head of the college mathematics department.
Hitt came to Jackson in 1961 after his appointment as manager of Mississippi Memorial Stadium, a position he held until retiring in 1974. He was succeeded by the present manager, Barney Poole.
"There is no way I could have taken over that facility if Dick had just left the day he finished," Poole said. "I'm mighty thankful for the help he gave me then and in the years since. Dick loved that stadium, and we had a real good relationship."
Hitt graduated from Clinton High School in 1924, Clarke Memorial College in Newton in 1926 and Mississippi College, where he was a four-sport letterman, in 1929.
As a single-wing tailback, Hitt led Mississippi College to an 8-0 football season in 1927 and a 21-4-2 mark over his three varsity seasons in 1926-28. He was the first of four Hitt brothers who were standout athletes at Mississippi College, with Bruce, James and Joel following. The Hitt brothers earned a total of 42 athletic letters at the Clinton College.
After playing professionally in 1929 with the Clarence Saunders Tigers team in Memphis, which that year defeated both the Chicago Bears and National Football League champion Green Bay Packers, Hitt began his lengthy coaching career. At the time, pro football salaries were a far cry from the seven-figure wages of today. Hitt, a star of the team, made $125 a week. He retired after a single season with shoulder and knee injuries.
His first coaching job, from 1930 to 1935, was a Biloxi High School. Then, Hitt coach at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in 1935, Mississippi College 1936-39, Mississippi State 1939-47, Wyoming 1948-53, Arkansas 1954-55 and Tennessee 1956-60.
From 1939 to 1960, Hitt was associated with Bowden Wyatt, first a fellow football assistant at Mississippi State, later head football coach at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Opportunities came for Hitt to be head coach at Wyoming and Arkansas, which he spurned, recalling, "I told Bowden I didn't want to be out there (in Wyoming) by myself for three years, then looking for a job. I stuck with my philosophy: Stay with Bowden and win. He was the only coach to win championships in three conferences (Skyline, Southwest and Southeastern)."
Hitt is survived by his wife, Mrs. Floyd S. Hitt; daughter, Mrs. Mary Hitt of Jackson; sons, Tom Hitt and Jim Hitt, both of the Jackson; brothers, Bruce Hitt of Lena and Joel Hitt of Mobile, Ala.; sisters, Mrs. Lucille Hitt Hollingsworth of Clinton, Mrs. Flora Hitt Taylor of Pensacola, Fla., and Mrs. Carolyn Hitt Priester of Natchez; and seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Memorial may be made to the James Hitt Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mississippi College.
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