Oval Jaynes Selected as 2013 Spirit of Giving Award Winner

Oval Jaynes, who recently served as the Director of Athletics at Jacksonville State University, will be the 2013 recipient of the Executive Director’s “Spirit of Giving” Award. The award will be presented to Jaynes at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year Dinner on Tuesday, January 14 at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis. 

The Executive Director’s “Spirit of Giving” Award was created to honor AFCA members who have volunteered and donated their time to help serve the Association and the American Football Coaches Foundation.

“I had gotten a letter from coach Teaff about a month ago and when I read it, I just couldn’t believe it. I was stunned. I called coach Teaff to make sure he had the right person,” said Jaynes. “An award like this, it is more than just me. It’s all the coaches and the thousands of student-athletes at the many institutions that I worked at. The award is just as much for them as it is for me.”

“The essence of the game of football is embodied in “The Spirit of Giving,” Grant Teaff, AFCA Executive Director said. “Coaches give their effort, knowledge, time, talent and resources to those that play the game. The players give, in the same way, to the game and to each other. Oval Jaynes is an individual who personifies that unique spirit.”

Jaynes began his career in athletics as a football coach at the high school level in the early 1960’s before joining various college coaching staffs at the University of North Carolina, The Citadel, Wake Forest, and the University of South Carolina as an assistant. He became the head football coach at Gardner-Webb University in 1975, leading the Runnin’ Bulldogs for three years before taking his leave in 1978 and joining the coaching staff at Wyoming. It was 1981 when Jaynes started down the path that he would make his name in, joining the Auburn Tigers as an assistant athletic director. Jaynes would move on to become an associate director of athletics at Auburn in 1984 before being named the Athletic Director at Colorado State in 1986. At CSU, Jaynes worked hard to turn the athletics programs around, making hires that saw the basketball program make NCAA Tournament trips and the football team to go to its first bowl game in 42 years.

From there, Jaynes moved on to the University of Pittsburgh in 1991 and then to Idaho in 1996. At Idaho, Jaynes helped the Vandals football team qualify for full Division I membership, which they had been unable to do prior to his coming aboard. From Idaho, he moved on to take the Athletic Director job at the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga in 1998. After five years of serving the school in a variety of ways, Jaynes left Tennessee - Chattanooga in 2003 to do consulting work. It was through his consulting that he got in touch with Jacksonville State University in Alabama and later agreed to take on the job of Athletic Director for the Gamecocks. Under Jaynes’s leadership, the Gamecocks completed a $65 million project to improve the Jacksonville State University football stadium.

Through his illustrious career, Jaynes has earned plenty of accolades and recognition, being inducted into the Burke County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. Jaynes has also been awarded the General Robert R. Neyland Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1999 and the Bill Wade Unsung Hero Award in 2002 by the All-American Football Foundation. According to Jaynes, though, his work was never about getting any recognition.

“[It was about] the success of the student athletes and their moving on to success, in sports or in a career,” said Jaynes. “Working with the various staffs and seeing all those people grow, that was the best.”

The American Football Coaches Foundation was created to provide education and development for football coaches at all levels. Financial support for The Foundation is generated by givers that include coaches, Foundation board members, corporations and those who care about and play the game.

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