Born in 1917 in a farmhouse in Stephens County, Spec Landrum grew up on a farm near Demorest until his mother moved the family to Statesboro, where she would work at Georgia Southern College. Spec played football at Statesboro High and went on to become an All-Southern conference halfback at Mercer University, where he was also a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
He coached football at Canton High before joining the Army in World War II, where he served with distinction, earned a Bronze Star and attained the rank of captain. Returning home, he coached football at Roosevelt High, where he met Mildred Wood, who would become his wife of 62 years. He moved to Grady High, where he coached until joining the football staff at the University of Georgia in 1952.
In 1956, Spec started coaching at Georgia Tech, where he remained on the football staff until 1969, when he became director of campus affairs at Tech. Later he would hold positions as president of the Georgia Conservancy and vice president of government affairs for both the St. Simons Island Company and the National Bank of Georgia, while also serving as the president of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Touchdown Club.
He joined Kennesaw State as its first athletic director in 1978, where he led the development of its athletic program, perennially achieving national championships in three sports, and strengthening the overall athletic program there. Spec retired from Kennesaw in 1987 and was named athletic director emeritus. He continued to serve the university for many years after his retirement as a consultant to the athletic program.
Spec is survived by: his wife of 62 years, Mildred W. Landrum, Ph.D., of Franklin; a daughter, the Rev. Dr. Laura Landrum of Franklin; a son and daughter-in-law, James D. Landrum Jr. and Amy Streve-Landrum of Marietta; five grandchildren, Michael and Erika McGinley of Kennesaw, Mitchell and Karson McGinley of San Diego and Ava Jane Landrum of Atlanta; and two great-granddaughters, Maya and Kayla McGinley of Kennesaw.
A memorial service was held Sunday at Macon Funeral Home in Franklin with the Rev. Sherron Geiger officiating.
Memorial donations can be made to KIDS Place, P.O. Box 693, Franklin, NC 28744.
Macon Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook is available at maconfuneralhome.com.
The Clayton Tribune, Nov. 17, 2011