Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina and Catamount Athletics were saddened to learn of the passing of former Catamount football student-athlete and coach, Don Powers, on Monday at his home in Mount Pleasant, S.C., after a lengthy illness. Powers, 73, was enshrined in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame this year, and was honored on Hall of Fame Weekend on Nov. 11 as many of his former colleagues, players, family, and friends gathered in Cullowhee for his induction.
Powers played for the Purple & Gold from 1963-67 under head coach Dan Robinson, and had two different coaching stints at his alma mater spanning 18 years. Beginning as a graduate assistant under Robinson, Powers first coached at WCU from 1968-83, where he served most extensively under legendary head coach Bob Waters, and again later on Kent Briggs' staff in 2006-07. While at Western Carolina, Powers was associated with some of WCU's most prolific teams and coached some of the greatest players in school history.
Originally from Lincolnton, N.C., Powers was a four-year letter winner for the Catamounts, earning NAIA All-District 26 honor three times as a player, and was tabbed team MVP as a senior.
In addition to coaching at his alma mater in Cullowhee, Powers also served as a defensive coordinator and later head coach at fellow Southern Conference member, The Citadel, holding the latter role from 1996-2000. While an assistant coach, he coordinated a Bulldog defense that helped The Citadel to an 11-2 overall record, a conference championship, and a No. 1 ranking in the NCAA Division I-AA -- now FCS. He was a two-time SoCon Assistant Coach of the Year with the Bulldogs in both 1990 and 1992.
Powers is survived by his wife, the former Ms. Jane Strickland, who is a 1971 graduate of WCU; his two daughters, Cassie Powers Hanna and Carrie Powers Zipperer, and three grandchildren, Simmons, James, and William.
Family visitation at the J. Henry Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 5:00 pm -- 7:00 pm with funeral services to be held on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 pm at the Summerall Chapel on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston.
Memorials may be made to the Western Carolina Catamount Club and the Coach Don Powers endowed scholarship, or to The Citadel Brigadier Foundation (Attention Andy Solomon in honor of Don Powers) and "The Powers in Us" book available at www.amazon.com. Also to Amedisys Hospice Care, www.amedisys.com.
Don Powers Obituary
From CatamountSports.com: Powers Selected to the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame
From the Post & Courier: Former Citadel football coach Don Powers passes away
From CitadelSports.com: Former Football Coach Don Powers Passes Away