Treasured Leon Coach Jimmy Sauls Passes Away at 71

Kaitlin McMillan, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., ( – Sports fans and athletes from Tallahassee and beyond are feeling the loss of esteemed former Leon County high school football coach, Jimmy Sauls. He was admitted to the hospital where he died of cardiac arrest on April 13th at the age of 71.

Sauls’ coaching career spanned thirty-plus years and was a fixture of the Tallahassee sports community. Ever since his graduation from Leon County High School in 1964, Sauls took hundreds of young athletes and students under his wing. Having been a lineman in his own high school days and a valued player for both Florida State and Mississippi College, Jim Sauls knew what it took to succeed and he gladly passed that knowledge onto every student he came across.

Sauls made his everlasting mark on Tallahassee. Under his leadership, Leon made it to two state championships. For his dedication, his name was inducted into the Leon Hall of Fame in 2001 and the FHSAA Hall of Fame in 2002. Sauls’ name joins that of his mentor Gene Cox in its honored place on the Lions fieldhouse, where it is a constant reminder of his legacy and the years of service that Sauls has given to the Tallahassee community.

Many students remember him as a role model and a leader in their lives, inspiring them to succeed on and off the field. Those that knew him best speak of his kind and giving nature. Others spoke of his unyielding dedication and discipline to his teams. As a veteran of the United States Army Reserves, his strength and moral fortitude colored every aspect of his career.

Jim Sauls life and legacy was celebrated at City Church this past Saturday, April 22nd. Sauls’ family, friends, community members, and grateful students came to pay their respects to a beloved figurehead of Tallahassee. His commitment and love for Leon County will continue to inspire the local community and he will not soon be forgotten by the hundreds of athletes that were aided by his decisive and encouraging spirit.

A memorial video in remembrance of Coach Sauls aired on WTXL and can be found here.

In lieu of flowers, please honor Jim Sauls with a contribution to the Leon High School Football Program.

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