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Don Veller Collection

Identifier: MSS 2006-020

Scope and Contents

The Don Veller Collection documents the personal and professional life of this accomplished sportsman, first full-time football coach of Florida State University (FSU), and longtime FSU golf coach. The collection includes autographs, clippings, manuscripts, photographs, poems, portraits, programs, reports, resumes, and memorabilia. Subjects covered include sports (mainly golf), coaching, and sports education. The collection is significant to scholars studying sports coaching and sports education. It is also a significant resource for those studying the history of FSU sports.


  • created: 1948-2003
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1993-2003


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

To request permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from the archives, please contact Heritage & University Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. Researchers must obtain separate permission from the copyright holders of material held within University Archives collections for which the institution does not hold copyright.

Biographical or Historical Information

Don Veller was born in Linton, Indiana, on May 20, 1912. He was a scholar and an athlete. As a high school student his days were filled with competition. He was president of his sophomore, junior, and senior classes, salutatorian of his senior class, a member of the basketball and baseball teams, and captain of the football and track teams. He even participated in the Drama and Glee clubs and still found time to write a daily column for his local newspaper.

While in college at Indiana University, Veller kept up the rigorous schedule to which he had grown accustomed. He retained an A average as he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Education (1935), with minors in English, History, and Health. In his spare time, he was active on the football, basketball, track, baseball, and wrestling teams. He was a scholarship student while also receiving awards for his superior athleticism. He received his M.S. (1938) and PhD (1950) from that institution as well. As he worked his way through college, he held a variety of low-paying jobs, including foundry work, corn boring, working in an auto shop, highway work, waiting tables, and writing for the student newspaper. He married his college sweetheart, Miss Frances Brindley of Madison, Indiana.

A man of varied interests, Veller combined his appreciation for the academic environment with his love of sport. After completing his undergraduate work, he was immediately appointed to teach Health and Physical Education classes at a high school in Elkhart, Indiana. There he also began his lifelong career of coaching as the Director of Football programs and an assistant coach of basketball and track.

At the outbreak of World War II, Veller acted as a Special Services Officer in the Air Force at several installations along the East coast. He graduated from the Special Services and Information-Education Schools in Lexington, Virginia, and taught a variety of subjects for the military, including Special Services, Education, and Instruction Methods. Always the sportsman, he created an athletics and conditioning program for the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and scouted for the Third Air Force football team. He retired from the Air Force Reserve Program as a Lieutenant Colonel after 33 years.

In 1946, when Veller was able to continue his civilian career, he returned to the school coaching environment as the Director of Athletics and head football and track coach at Hanover College. After a short stint working for Indiana University as a tennis coach and an assistant football coach to Bo McMillin, Veller came to Florida State University, were he served for four years as its first full-time head football coach. During that time, FSU had its first undefeated season and first bowl victory. After his pigskin days at FSU came to an end, he remained at the university to coach golf until his retirement in 1982. During this time the golf team accomplished many great feats, including an undefeated season in 1957, several nationally ranked teams, and placing fourth in two NCAA Championships. Veller coached PGA Tour players Hubert Green, Paul Azinger, Jeff Sluman, Kenny Knox, and Brian Kamm. After successfully serving as Head Coach of both football and golf, Associate Director of Athletics, and Chairman of Coaching Curriculum, Veller retired as Professor Emeritus in 1982.

During his coaching career Veller still found time to participate in sports journalism. He was a sports commentator on Radio WTNT of Tallahassee, Florida, in the 1950's and 60's. He hosted a weekly sports TV show on Tallahassee's WCTV from 1960 to 1976. By far the most prolific of his journalistic pursuits was his weekly golf column for the Tallahassee Democrat, for which he wrote well over 2,000 columns from 1960 to 2004. He published a book of short poems, Fluffs, Muffs, and Really Deep Rough, with which he ended these columns in 2000. He also published several articles in sports journals and more than fifty of his humorous golf poems in Golf Digest.

In honor of his numerous athletic accomplishments, Veller was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame (1978), the Florida State University Hall of Fame (1981), the State of Florida Sports Hall of Fame (to which he was inducted along with Arnold Palmer in 1985), the Indiana University Hall of Fame (1986), and the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame at Pinehurst (1989). He received Indiana University's Distinguished Alumni Service Award, its highest alumni honor, in 1993.

Don Veller died at his home in Tallahassee, Florida, November 10, 2006, just days after the death of Fran, his beloved wife of 70 years.


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Language of Materials



Autographs, clippings, manuscripts, photographs, poems, portraits, programs, reports, resumes, and memorabilia documenting the personal and professional life of  Dr. Don Veller, longtime Golf and Football Coach for Florida State University.

Processing Information

Processed in May 2007 by Ginger H. Williams

Don Veller Collection
Ginger H. Williams
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US