Nov. 10, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Dr. Don Veller, who coached FSU to its first football
victory in 1948 and was the long-time coach of the men’s golf team, died Friday in Tallahassee at the age of 94.
Veller was hired by Dr. Doak S. Campbell in 1948 as head football coach and associate professor of men’s physical education at Florida State for a salary of $5,400. He replaced Ed Williamson who had coached the Seminoles through their first season since becoming co-educational. Veller’s teams went 31-12-1 over his five years that included
FSU’s first football victory, its first winning season and one of two undefeated seasons in FSU history (8-0 in 1950). In his first three seasons alone, his Florida State teams won 24 of 26 games.
He became Seminole men’s golf coach after resigning as football coach,
serving in that post on three different occasions (1953-58, 1966-67, and 1974-83). He amassed a 78-23 dual meet record and coached some of the Seminole’s finest PGA Tour players including Hubert Green, Paul Azinger, Jeff Sluman and Kenny Knox. In 2004, Florida State completed renovations to the Seminole golf course and re-named it the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course.
Veller had a brilliant college playing career as a halfback at Indiana
University that included team MVP honors as a senior in 1935. He also received the university’s Balfour award for the outstanding scholastic and athletic record and the Big Ten conference medal for proficiency in scholarship and athletics. Veller coached briefly at Hanover College and as an assistant at Indiana where he also earned his masters and
doctorate. He coached at Elkhart (IN) High School for six years before a stint in the Army as chief of the information and education division of the Third Air Force wing.
Veller and his wife Fran, who passed away just nine days before him on
October 31, 2006, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Veller was a member of the Indiana University, Florida State University and National Golf Coaches Association Halls of Fame. He also wrote a regular golf column that appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat and a book of his golf poems was recently published.
Services will be held for Dr. Veller at 11:00 a.m. Monday Nov. 13 at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee.