William A. Alexander Papers (MS145)

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Biography of William Anderson Alexander (1889-1950)

William Anderson Alexander was born June 6, 1889, in Mud River Kentucky, the son of Luther and Gertrude Anderson. He entered Tech in 1906, as an Apprentice and graduated in 1912, with a B. S. degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation, he became a mathematics instructor and assistant football coach under John Heisman. In 1918, he was called to serve in World War I, but in 1919, Alexander returned to Tech to assume the position of head football coach. He would hold this position until his retirement in 1944, but continued on as Athletic Director until his death in 1950.

Throughout his lifetime, Alexander won numerous awards for his team's accomplishments and his attitude towards his athletes. He was known as a tough coach, but a man who was well respected by athletes and faculty members. For instance, he was awarded Coach of the Year in 1942, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame posthumously in 1950. During his career at Tech, he won 133 games, had 95 losses, and eight tied games. Alexander was also the first football coach to take his team to four football bowl games.

Alexander married Marie MacIntrye Scott on June 1, 1935, in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. They had no children, but Alexander helped raise Marie's daughter, Rebekah Scott (Mrs. Morris Marion Bryan, Jr.), from a former marriage. William Alexander died on April 23, 1950.


The William A. Alexander Papers include biographical information, administrative and office files, publications, newspaper clippings, and information on family members and other individuals. The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence, located within the second series, to Alexander while he was head football coach at Tech. Newspaper clippings also make up a large portion of the collection, touching on subjects such as Alexander's marriage to Marie MacIntrye Scott in 1923, his numerous football victories as head coach at Tech, and his death in 1950. Due to the poor quality of the original newspaper clippings and the inability of the copier to reproduce clear copies, the original clippings remain within the collection. Also included are several of Alexander's personal items, such as awards and certificates from his college days at Tech.

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  • Archival Material
    Original Plant,1888: Shops Building, Academic Building
    ( 1888) Unknown ; https://finding-aids.library.gatech.edu/agents/people/12
    This photograph appears to be a composite of a real photograph of students and faculty in the foreground, and a sketch or retouched image of the Academic Building and the Shop Building in the background.
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