Jerry Tolley, former head Elon football coach and a current member of the University Advancement staff, has been named a member of the 2008-09 Hall of Fame class of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The honor is the highest bestowed by the NAIA.
Individuals inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame must be persons of outstanding quality, high moral character, fine leadership ability and must be held in high esteem by their colleagues, former coaches and former athletes.
During his illustrious coaching tenure at Elon, Tolley won four South Atlantic Conference titles, three District 26 titles and participated in the NAIA Division I playoffs on three occasions, winning back-to-back NAIA national football championships in 1980 and 1981. In NAIA national playoff games, Tolley recorded an unprecedented 8-1 record.
Tolley’s skill as a coach is reflected in the success of his players. He has coached 53 All-Conference performers, of which four received conference Most Valuable Player honors. Thirty of his players were named All-District and 12 were All-State selections. Eighteen of his players gained All-American status and 17 have been enshrined in the Elon Sports Hall of Fame. Tolley’s previous accolades include NAIA District 26, state, regional, area and NAIA coach of the year honors.
Prior to his coaching career, Tolley excelled in track and football at East Carolina University (ECU) setting all-time ECU records, some of which remain today. Tolley holds the record for most interceptions in a game, career kickoff return and the overall highest season kick returns.
Tolley currently serves as the director of the Elon Society and mayor of the Town of Elon. He is also the author of five books on football drills that are used by coaches across the nation.
The Hall of Fame consists of a division for each sport currently or formerly sponsored by the Association and a division for general meritorious service to the NAIA. Each sport division is divided into three categories: athlete, coach and meritorious service. Tolley’s award is for football – meritorious service. He will receive his award in January at the 2009 American Football Coaches Association Convention in Nashville.