Legacy of retiring Truman State football coach Gregg Nesbitt is one of respect, admiration


Truman State football Gregg Nesbitt announced his retirement Friday after spending the past 14 seasons guiding the Bulldogs. | Photo courtesy Truman State athletics

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — The reaction to Friday’s news that Truman State football coach Gregg Nesbitt is retiring spoke volumes about the legacy he leaves.

It’s one of respect, admiration and praise.

Nesbitt has earned all of that.

A native of Hannibal, Mo., who played football at Truman State (then known as Northeast Missouri State) in the late 1970s, Nesbitt returned to his alma mater as head coach in 2010. In the 14 years that followed, he guided the Bulldogs to an 89-59 record and nine winning seasons.

Over the past five seasons, the Bulldogs went 40-10 with three consecutive nine-win seasons and three victories in the America’s Crossroads Bowl.

He retires as the second winningest coach in Truman State history, trailing only Maurice “Red” Wade, who won 99 games over 16 seasons from 1951-66.

Nesbitt began his coaching career at Hannibal from 1984-89, guiding the Pirates to three district championships. In 1990, he returned to Truman State to serve as defensive coordinator on Eric Holm’s staff.

In 1993, Nesbitt returned to the high school ranks, becoming the head coach at Columbia (Mo.) Hickman. During his 13 seasons coaching the Kewpies, Nesbitt led them to the 2004 Class 6 state championship and was named the National Federation of High School Sports Regional Coach of the Year.

Nesbitt returned to the college ranks in 2006 as the defensive coordinator at Central Methodist and then became the defensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri in 2007. Three seasons later, he returned to Truman State.

Here’s what many had to say on social media about Nesbitt:

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