Perhaps the most decorated defensive player in NCAA Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision — formerly Division I-AA) history, Coakley remains ASU’s all-time leader in total tackles (616), solo tackles (350), assisted tackles (266), double-figure tackle games (37) and 20-tackle games (7).
He was the 1993 SoCon Freshman of the Year, a three-time Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year (1994-96 — still the only three-time recipient of the award), a two-time SoCon Male Athlete of the Year (1995-96 and 1996-97), a three-time All-American (one of only two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans in ASU history) and the winner of the first two Buck Buchanan Awards (1995 and ‘96). Fifteen years after he won the second of his two Buchanan Awards, Coakley remains the only two-time winner of award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top FCS defensive player.
Coakley graduated from ASU in 1997 with a B.S. in communications and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (65th overall pick) of that year’s National Football League Draft. He went on to enjoy a 10-year NFL career, playing eight seasons in Dallas and two with the St. Louis Rams. He was selected to play in three Pro Bowls (1999, 2001 and 2003) and, in 10 pro seasons, totaled 687 tackles and 10 interceptions and missed just one game due to injury.
In addition to being one of the newest members of the College Football Hall of Fame, Coakley was inducted into the SoCon Hall of Fame in May and the ASU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008. He is also one of only four players in Appalachian football history to have his jersey number retired, as ASU retired the No. 32 Coakley wore as a Mountaineer in 2005.