The secret of Jess Neely's success as a college football coach was his belief in sticking to the basics. He felt that being able to block and tackle, and do it well, was what enabled a team to win. Neely served as head football coach at Southwestern of Memphis (1924-27), Clemson (1931-39), and Rice (1940-66). At Rice, Neely produced eight All-American players, saw his team win two Southwest Conference championships, tie for two others, and play in six bowl games. By the end of his career, the Owls had a 144-124-10 record, and Neely had won three times as many games than any previous Rice coach. Neely also served as athletic director at Rice and was responsible for the construction of a 70,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-seat fieldhouse. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.