OBITUARY: Dean Fisher


Dean “Coach” Fisher earned his biggest victory yet when he left this life and joined his parents and sisters in Heaven on October 12, 2021.

Dean was born December 3, 1936, in White County, TN to Charlie and Vera Fisher.  He attended the Shady Grove one room schoolhouse as a kid, before going to White County High school in Sparta, where he became a football star.  In 1955, he earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee, where he became a Vol.  He joined several other talented Sparta Warriors on Rocky Top.  Yert to the people of Sparta! Dean was part of the 1956 UT team that went 10-1, was led by Heisman Trophy runner up Johnny Majors, played in the Sugar Bowl, and finished number 2 in the country, behind Oklahoma.  Dean and the Vols also played in the 1957 Gator Bowl. In 1958, he transferred to MTSU, where he was part of the 1959 Blue Raiders that went 10-0 en route to a Tangerine Bowl victory.

Although an accomplished football player, Dean’s real talents and contributions to this world were in the classroom and on the field as a coach, mentoring high school kids and making an everlasting impact on their lives.  After college graduation, he embarked on a coaching career that include stops in Lenoir City, Lebanon, Macon County (Inducted into the Macon Co. Sports Hall of Fame), MTSU (OL coach in the early 1970’s), and finally at Riverdale High School (3-time District 7AAA Coach of the year), where he eventually retired. Dean touched thousands of young lives along the way and is affectionately referred to as “Coach” to this day by former players and students.

During his time at MTSU, where he eventually earned his Master’s Degree, Dean met the Homecoming Queen, Ms. Mary Lynn Sharpe, from Lenoir City, TN.  The staggeringly good-looking couple eventually married and had two sons, Christopher Dean and Jon Mark, raising them in the Two Hills Subdivision, and attending Southeast Baptist Church in Murfreesboro for many years, where many great memories were created.

In the 1970’s he took a break from coaching and went to work with former Blue Raiders Clark Maples, Teddy Morris, Ray Hughes, and Tommy Hord at Clark Maples Realty, where many more great memories were made.  I recall many days as a small kid in the offices, as well as breakfast at the City Café, Don’s Kitchen Corner, and getting a haircut at Ideal Barber Shop on the Murfreesboro town square.  Although a successful realtor, the football field and classroom called him back to his true gift, and that is when he once again became a coach and teacher at Riverdale High School.

Dean was an extremely kind and humble man.  I never remember him having any fear and he did not believe in quitting anything.  He was an incredibly hard worker. From putting new bleachers in at Horace Jones Field in 1960, to planting all the trees at Riverdale High School with his students in 1990, he always worked hard and knew that anything was possible if you were willing to work for it.  He kept life simple.  He loved his grandchildren, had a passion for the old west, making many cross-country road trips over the years with good friend Gary Whaley.  He loved a good flea market, loved a good Louie L’Amour book many times over, loved God and his well-worn Bible, loved Cracker Barrel, Sushin, and Busters in his later years.  He loved a King B twist and a dip of Copenhagen, loved watching the Braves, loved trees, loved history, and he never, ever met a stranger.

Dean is survived by his children Chris (Sage) and Jon (Heather), Mary Lynn Fisher, Brother Woody Fisher (Mary Kate), Grandchildren Charlie, Jon David, Kathleen, Emily, and Matthew, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Charlie and Vera, and sisters Mary Ann and Leta. Thank you to the wonderful nurses and aides at Alive Hospice and TN Oncology for the care they gave our dad at the end of his life.  Also, thank you to the community of Murfreesboro for showing patience and compassion to our senior citizens, like my dad, when life gets difficult for them.  Especially the employees of Cracker Barrel, Sushin, and Buster Burgers, thank you for being kind to our dad.

In lieu of flowers, please invite an elderly person, who is alone, to sit at your table in a restaurant and buy them dinner, or plant a tree in their honor.

Visitation will be Saturday, October 16, 2021, from 2:00 pm until the time of a memorial service beginning at 3:00 pm at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Woodfin Memorial Chapels and an online guestbook is available for the Fisher family at

Please Join Our FREE Newsletter!