Cover photo for Durwood Graham's Obituary
Durwood Graham Profile Photo
1932 Durwood 2022

Durwood Graham

June 23, 1932 — November 11, 2022

Brandon, MS

Durwood E. Graham, also known as Coach and Pappa D, passed peacefully from this earth for his heavenly home on Friday, November 11, 2022 at the age of 90. Visitation will be at Ott and Lee Funeral Home in Brandon on Wednesday, November 16 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Additional visitation will be 9:00am Thursday, November 17 at First Baptist Church Raymond with the service starting at 11:00am. Burial will be in the Clifton Baptist Church Cemetery with no graveside service.

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on June 23, 1932, Durwood began his life long love of football at Carr Central High School in Vicksburg.  As a fullback at Carr Central, he received all Big 8, All-State and All-South honors.  He was the second leading scorer in the State with 17 touchdowns and 7 extra points.

Leaving high school early, he joined the army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1952. On his return, Durwood attended Hinds Junior College on a football scholarship, where he made second team All-State as a center and linebacker.  As co-captain of this team, he helped his team defeat El Camino in the Junior College Rose Bowl and win the National Championship in Pasadena CA. He was named All-State as a center and linebacker.

After Hinds, Durwood attended Louisiana State University on scholarship and played center and linebacker.  This began his life-long love for LSU and the Tigers.  He transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in sports medicine.

Durwood began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach for Hinds Junior College in 1957 under Coach Joe Renfroe and Coach Frank Young.  He had found his niche as “Coach Graham.”  Hinds finished with a 10-0 season, with seven of those being shutouts, and won the State Championship.

While at Hinds, he met and married the love of his life, Barbara Nell Pope, on April 25, 1958. Durwood and Barbara left Hinds in 1958 for him to be head coach at Puckett High School. He was at Puckett High school for twelve years and lead the Wolves to two Capital Athletic Conference championships.

Coach Graham returned to Hinds Junior College in 1969 as assistant coach to Coach Earl Leggett.  In 1970, Coach Graham became head coach at Hinds and in 1979 was named All-Star Coach of the Year. Coach Graham left Hinds in 1979 to become head football and track coach at Brookhaven Academy.

Coach Graham was named Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1965, All-Star Coach of the Year in 1979, inducted into the Hinds Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the National Junior College Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, awarded the Bill Wade Unsung Hero Award from the All-American Football Foundation in 2000. He was also inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and inducted into the Carr Central High School Greenies Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.

With the birth of his first grandchild in 1984, Coach Graham became Pappa D, a name that has stuck with both family and friends for 38 years.

Pappa D is survived by his wife of 64 years Barbara Nell, who supported this coaching career and remained by his side until his last breath. He is also survived by his daughter, Mitzi Graham Thomas (Mark); a son Durwood P. “Durk” Graham; five grandchildren, Mendy Whitehead, Morgan Carr (Stephen), Kayleigh Graham, Ryan Thomas (Aly), Graham Thomas; and five great grandchildren, Charlie Holmes, Sawyer Holmes, Alleigh Carr, Hunter Carr and Axton Thomas.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to First Baptist Church Raymond P. O. Box 728, Raymond, MS 39154, Hinds Community College Foundation Athletic Alumni Chapter P. O. Box 1100, Raymond MS 39154, or any charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Durwood Graham, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Ott & Lee Funeral Home - Brandon

1360 W Government St, Brandon, MS 39042

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Visitation

Thursday, November 17, 2022

9:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church Raymond, MS

W Palestine St, Raymond, MS 39154

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Funeral Service

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church Raymond, MS

W Palestine St, Raymond, MS 39154

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