Dec. 15, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Former Florida State baseball head coach and football assistant coach Charlie Armstrong, who led the Seminole baseball team in their first four years of the program’s existence, passed away on December 13, 2009 at Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee. Charlie Armstrong was 87.
Armstrong coached the first four Florida State baseball teams and was the first assistant football coach in FSU history when head coach Don Veller hired the former Indiana University star in 1948. Armstrong literally started the FSU baseball program from scratch pulling together a team and equipment while posting winning records in each of the first four years from 1948-51. He finished with a career coaching record of 46-29 over his four seasons in Tallahassee collecting a season-high 13 wins in 1950 and 1951.
During his four years on the football staff, FSU won 30 of 34 games. Veller gave him a great deal of credit for the team’s first football success which culminated in FSU’s first bowl win against Wofford College in the 1949 Cigar Bowl.
In 1994, Armstrong was inducted to the Florida State University Hall of Fame recognized for his efforts as a Seminole coach.
Born February 16, 1922 in Evansville, Indiana, Armstrong attended Evansville College when World War II began. Since he was a licensed pilot, Armstrong volunteered to serve his country and joined the Army Air Corps. He was assigned to the European Theater where he flew the B-24 bomber in many dangerous missions over Germany. He was a part of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion, flying a lead B-24 in a critical bombing run over Europe that day and many days to follow. Armstrong later retired as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force in 1970.
After the war, Armstrong enrolled at Indiana University where he played college football. He held several placekicking records for decades and was an integral part of the 1945 Indiana University team that won the Big Ten Championship.
Following his military service, Armstrong decided to become a coach and teacher in the Florida school system and over many years he both taught and coached football at Quincy Shanks, Lincoln High in Tallahassee, Jefferson County in Monticello and Washington High in Pensacola before retiring to live in Tallahassee.
Armstrong is survived by his loving wife, Milly, of 62 years. He is also survived by four children: Virginia Lee Zeitler (husband Jim) of Henderson, Nevada; John Armstrong of Panama City, Florida; Charles, Jr. (wife Sue) of Pensacola, Florida; and Melinda Hopf (husband Mike) of Warner Robins, Georgia. Charlie and Milly have 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at North Florida Baptist Church on Wednesday, December 16, at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be at Culley’s Meadow Wood Memorial Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Bend Hospice or North Florida Baptist Church.