Family, friends and Catamount fans are mourning the passing of a former Western Carolina athlete Coach Mutt.
and coach who died Saturday morning at the age of 60, lovingly known as
“My given name is Derrick Alphonso DeGraffenreid III. That’s why they call me Mutt.”
"It is a sad day for everyone in Catamount Nation," said Randy Eaton, WCU's Director of Athletics in a statement released to the media. "Coach Mutt exemplified what it means to be a Catamount."
Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid was a fixture in Western Carolina University athletics for over 40 years, serving on the school's football team in the 1970s and helping lead the team to national recognition the NCAA playoffs. DeGraffenreid is survived by his wife, Pam, and two children, Cetera, who played collegiate women's basketball at the University of North Carolina, and Al who is enrolled at WCU.
Western Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame inscription -
Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid - Football (1974-76) & Coach (1980-96)
Was a three-year letter winner, two-year starter on the football field as a defensive back. Credited with the first-ever tackle at E.J. Whitmire Stadium in 1974 and received the team's Intrepid Award in 1976. Served as an assistant coach and administrator at WCU for 19 years coaching football and as the first women's track & field coach. Had a distinguished career as an administrator and coach at both Smoky Mountain and Cherokee High Schools. Inducted in 2013
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