Legendary Gulf Coast Coach George Sekul: Gone, But Not Forgotten

Legendary Gulf Coast Coach George Sekul: Gone, But Not Forgotten

PERKINSTON, Miss. (MGCCC Athletics) - Legendary Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College player and coach George Sekul, whose Bulldogs teams won two national titles and more than 200 games, died Monday at home in D’Iberville surrounded by his family. He was 83.

“Coach Sekul is probably the best-known coach in Gulf Coast history and has made a huge impact on the lives of former players, current students and employees of this institution,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “His legacy is one of athletic excellence, outstanding coaching skill and whole-hearted devotion to both MGCCC and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He inspired generations of student-athletes and has left us with many fond memories. We are deeply sorrowed by this great loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Sekul is survived by his wife Diane and three daughters: Gia, Kari and Michelle. He has six grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be handled by Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home.

His legend still casts a long shadow in Perkinston, where the playing surface at A.L. May Memorial Stadium was dedicated as George Sekul Field in 2017 just yards from where his two national title squads are commemorated on monuments in front of the King Center.

Steven George Sekul was born Oct. 5, 1937, in Biloxi where he grew up in one of Point Cadet’s Yugoslavian seafood families. He was a standout player at Notre Dame High School in football and basketball, as well as excelling in American Legion baseball.

His association with Gulf Coast started in 1955 when he enrolled at what was then Perkinston Junior College. Sekul was a first-team All-State selection by the Mississippi Association of Junior Colleges at quarterback in the 1956 season, as well as earning All-American honorable mention honors.

In 1957-58, Sekul was the starting quarterback at Mississippi Southern College (now Southern Miss), where he was also a punter, kick returner and defensive back. His three interceptions in a game are still tied for second-best in USM history. The Golden Eagles had the school’s only undefeated, untied season in 1958. They went 9-0, earning the UPI College Division National Championship, and Sekul went on to play in the 1959 Senior Bowl.

He stayed in Hattiesburg as a coach the next two seasons and earned his master’s in educational administration.

Sekul moved back to Perkinston in the summer of 1961 when head coach Ed Evans offered him the position of backfield coach. He also took over as head track coach, and the Bulldogs won the first of his five state championships that season (1962, 1968, 1970, 1979, 1980).

After four years as an assistant, Sekul became head football coach in 1966, and the Bulldogs won the first of his eight state championships (1966, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986) right out of the gate by going 10-2 after winning the Shrine Bowl 21-7 over Navarro in Corsicana, Texas.

After repeating as state champion in 1967, Sekul’s Bulldogs won the school’s second national championship in 1971. Their 11-0 season culminated in a 22-13 win over Fort Scott Junior College in the NJCAA Championship Game played at the Shrine Bowl in Savannah, Ga.

Gulf Coast would win Sekul his second national title in 1984, going 13-0. The Bulldogs beat Harford Community College 21-7 in the East Bowl in Bel Air, Md.

When Sekul retired after the 1991 season, he did so with a 201-80-5 record (.712 winning percentage) during his 26 years in charge. He remains the fifth-winningest coach in NJCAA history.

After his retirement, he was an active member of Gulf Coast’s Bulldog Club.

Sekul was inducted into USM’s M-Club Hall of Fame in 1968 and the NJCAA Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1996. MGCCC inducted him into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in the first class of 1999, and he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2002, Sekul was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.