Aug. 26, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Paul Shoults, an assistant football coach at the University of Notre Dame for 13 seasons from 1964-76, died Saturday at the Hearth at Juday Creek in Granger, Ind. He was 85.

Shoults came from Northwestern in 1964 along with new Irish head coach Ara Parseghian and coached the Notre Dame defensive backs for all 11 of Parseghian’s years with the Irish. He then coached the secondary under head coach Dan Devine in Devine’s first two seasons at Notre Dame in 1975 and ’76.

Shoults helped the Irish claim consensus national titles in 1966 and 1973. Among the standouts he coached at Notre Dame included Irish first-team All-Americans Nick Rassas, Tom Schoen, Clarence Ellis, Mike Townsend and Luther Bradley.

In 1977 Shoults became an associate athletics director at Eastern Michigan University under director Alex Agase, the former Northwestern head coach. Shoults succeeded Agase as the Eastern Michigan athletics director in 1982 before Gene Smith (a former Irish football player and coach) replaced him in 1987 when Shoults retired.

A 1949 Miami (Ohio) University graduate, Shoults won four letters (1943, 1946-48), playing in the same college backfield with Parseghian in 1946 and `47. Shoults captained the Miami team as a senior in 1948 and was named team MVP after helping Miami claim its first Mid-American Conference title that year. He helped Miami to a combined 30-6-3 mark in his four seasons – and was inducted into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975. He was a two-time all-Ohio and all-MAC selection and also earned three letters in baseball. Shoults served in the U.S. Army from 1944-46.

After graduation, he played one season of professional football with the New York Bulldogs (formerly the Boston Yanks) in the Eastern Division of the NFL. After two seasons as head football coach at Fairview High School in Dayton, Ohio, in 1952 he returned to Miami to serve as Parseghian’s freshman football coach and became backfield coach in ’53. Those Miami staffs also included future Irish assistants Tom Pagna and Richard (Doc) Urich. In 1956 Shoults moved to Northwestern when Parseghian became the head coach there. He and Parseghian spent 22 seasons coaching together at Miami, Northwestern and Notre Dame.

Born Oct. 9, 1925, in Washington Court House, Ohio, Shoults also earned a master’s degree in education from Miami in 1955. He and his late wife, Martha, were parents of daughters Anne Shoults (of South Bend) and Kay Ellen Scott of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Visitation was Thursday (Aug. 25), at Welsheimer Funeral Home in South Bend (17033 Cleveland Rd.). A graveside service and burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sugar Creek Baptist Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio. Memorial contributions can be made to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, 3530 East Campo Abierto, Suite 105, Tucson, AZ 85718.