Football legend Feix earns another recognition

Most on the Hill are probably familiar with the name Jimmy Feix. But that may only be in association with the football field named for the former football coach and athletic director.

Feix said he couldn’t believe it when he heard about the induction from President Gary Ransdell at a baseball game.

“It’s just a humbling and awesome honor that I accept on behalf of a whole lot of people,” Feix said.

He said most individual honors are a result of several different people. For Feix, those people are his family, former teammates, players and coaches.

“Whatever success we’ve had and contributions we’ve been able to make, those people are mainly responsible,” Feix said.

Former President Dero Downing said Feix deserves the recognition.

Feix is an outstanding person who was also a great coach and football player, Downing said.

“He had the personal qualities and knowledge of the game that made him exceptionally qualified to be the football coach,” he said.

Feix was athletic director from 1986 to 1991.?He was also the quarterback for the Hilltoppers from 1949 to 1952. During his tenure as quarterback, Feix helped the Hilltoppers win a conference championship.

His jersey has since been retired.

In the fall of 1953, Feix signed with the New York Giants. However, a nose injury – face masks were not yet used – during the preseason sidelined him. So he joined the Air Force.

While in the Air Force, he attained the rank of First Lieutenant, flying planes such as the C-119 and the CL-20.

In 1957 after his military service, Feix became an assistant coach for the Hilltoppers. He later became the head coach in the fall 1968.

He helped the team win six championship games.

Athletic director Wood Selig said when he travels the country, even as far as California, people familiar with Western always ask about Feix.

“I think he’s a perfect selection,” Selig said. “I don’t think anyone personifies the Western spirit anymore than Coach Feix does.”

In 1983, Feix stepped down as head coach, becoming the alumni director in mid 1984. He became athletic director two years later and stayed in that position until 1991. It was during that year he was inducted into Western’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

In addition to playing football, coaching and coordinating the university’s athletic programs, Feix was a physical education teacher at Western.?

Feix is now 72 years old.

“He’s given basically his entire adult life to this university and the athletic department,” Selig said.

He has recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Frankie and has two sons, Jim and Jeff.

Selig said few can claim to have given as much to Western as Feix over the years.

“His relationship with literally thousands of graduates and friends of Western transcends decades,” Selig said.

Reach Robert Hockstedler or Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]