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William Malcolm Pendergrass, Jr.

Former coach at Huntingdon, West Carroll


HUNTINGDON  - William Malcolm Pendergrass, Jr., died September 15, 2023. He was born June 16, 1943, in Huntingdon, Tenn.  to Malcolm Pendergrass, Sr. and Lucille Milam Pendergrass

He was a beloved football coach and cherished socialite who touched the lives of many in communities across the state of Tennessee and beyond.

Malcolm grew up in Huntingdon, Tenn. and completed his bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Tennessee at Martin and his master’s degrees in both English and History at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Throughout his 40-plus-year career in education and athletics, he coached various sports and taught many subjects, but his dedication to the sport of football and subjects of English literature and history was unwavering.

He served as a football coach for several decades, imparting athletic skills and valuable life lessons to countless young athletes. He began his coaching career in Atlanta, Georgia as an assistant coach at Towers High School. He held other assistant football coaching positions at Harriman High School in Harriman, Tenn. and Huntingdon High School in Huntingdon. He then had a successful stint as head coach at Harriman High School before relocating back to Huntingdon. He spent the last several years of his career at West Carroll High School in Atwood, Tenn., where he served as the catalyst that resurrected War Eagle football. Inheriting a program in its 6-year existence that had never won a game, he led them to many wins and spearheaded the construction of a stadium and fieldhouse, neither of which existed before his arrival. He had a love of books, poetry, history, and writing. He was known in the classroom for his dramatic readings, engaging lectures and high expectations. He retired as an assistant principal and athletic director.

Beyond his coaching and leadership prowess, Malcolm was known for his vibrant personality. He had a gift for bringing people together, fostering connections and creating lasting memories for all who knew him. He often entertained friends and fellow coaches, and these events became so notable that the group was dubbed "The 1980 Social Club" as a nod to his sons' high school football numbers. His door at "The Shed" was always open. He mentored, debated, and joked with the masses. He was an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves and Tennessee Volunteers. Festivities at The Shed on football Saturdays were celebrated "early and often” with the grill rolling and continued into the night with heavy pours of his homemade wine. He spent his time in retirement gardening, biking, spoiling his dogs and "getting the total concept" in time spent at the family farm.

Malcolm Pendergrass, Jr. is survived by his two sons, Brad (Laura) Pendergrass of Atlanta, Georgia, Jeff (Mallory) Pendergrass of Huntingdon, and his uncle Ross (Jean) Pendergrass of Huntingdon. 

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 5- -8 p.m. at The Tea Room in Huntingdon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Huntingdon Beautification Committee, Carroll County Library, or other charitable organizations of your choice.  Dilday-Carter Funeral Home, Huntingdon.