Former Herd All-American, coach dies

Two-time All-American and former Thundering Herd football coach Phil Ratliff died Sunday afternoon. Ratliff had an unexpected “cardiac event” while on a coaches retreat earlier in the week.

According to reports, Ratliff was on life support with no brain function before he died.

The University of Charlotte, where he had coached since 2012, announced his passing in a statement Sunday evening.

“The Charlotte 49ers regretfully announce the passing of coach Phil Ratliff, today.  He was surrounded by family and friends.  His adoring wife, Jenni, was by his side,” the release said. “He was an amazing man and was loved by all who knew him. We appreciate the continued thoughts and prayers for the Ratliff family.  They are beyond grateful for the overwhelming love and support.”

Ratliff, who grew up in Louisa, Ky., played football at Lawrence County High School before attending Marshall University. At Marshall, Ratliff was captain of the 1992 D-1 AA National Championship team, while also garnering All-American honors as an offensive lineman. He was later inducted into the Thundering Herd Hall of Fame.

Ratliff coached at local high schools before being hired as an assistant coach at James Madison University. In 2006, Ratliff returned to Huntington to coach tight ends until 2011.

Marshall released a joint statement from head coach Doc Holliday and athletic director Mike Hamrick following the news.

“We want to extend our deepest condolences to all of Phil’s family, friends and the entire Charlotte football program,” the statement said. “He was a true Son of Marshall, one of our all-time greats and a man who was truly respected in the coaching profession. Our program, university and community mourns his loss today.”

When news came out on Ratliff’s condition and eventual passing, former players took to Twitter, sharing memories and thoughts about their former coach:



Ratliff leaves behind his wife and two kids, Haley and Dylan. He was 44 years old.