Coach John Mullinax peacefully left our world in the early morning hours on August 1, 2021 at his home in Tellico Plains Tennessee. He was 75 years old and in the presence of loved ones at the time of his passing.
Coach Mullinax was born in Spartanburg, SC on August 13, 1945 to Horace and Virginia Mullinax. He was raised in Lyman, SC and attended James F. Byrnes H.S. where he lettered in baseball, basketball, football, and golf. He played collegiate football and golf at Carson Newman College, graduating in 1968. In 1969 Coach Mullinax entered the US Army, serving a combat tour in Vietnam in 1970. Returning home in 1972, John began his lifelong marriage to Linda Joy Thomason. That same year John and Joy began their life's journey as coach and wife at McMinn County H.S. in Athens, TN. There, they had two sons, John II and Joshua. In 1979, John took his first head coaching job at Copper Basin H.S., and in 1983 he returned to Athens as the head coach at McMinn. After a brief retirement, Coach Mullinax and his family returned to coaching at Armuchee H.S. in Rome, GA. John, with his wife Joy and son Josh, later headed back to Tennessee in 2012 as head football coach at Tellico Plains H.S. Coach Mullinax’s incredible career touched the lives of so many over the span of 5 decades. He is survived by his wife Joy, son John, son Josh and his wife Kacey, grandchildren Ashlyn, Emily, Landon and brothers Eric and Morris.
The countless lives he influenced produced innumerable memories of a man who taught, coached, laughed, cried, hugged, and loved. While he was known to be tough, competitive, and gritty, he will mostly be remembered for his compassion, generosity, and empathy. He had an extraordinary heart. His pastimes included fishing, golf, and watching TV with his family. Most of all, his family will remember him as a loving husband and father who was at the center of a huddle that never broke. He will be missed, but the love will go on forever.
A memorial service will be conducted 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, in the Smith Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Roman Hamilton and Rev. Eric Mullinax officiating.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home Thursday, Aug. 5, from 4-8 p.m. and on Friday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. prior to the service.
Smith Funeral & Cremation Services of Athens is honored to serve the family of John William Mullinax.