He won football titles at two schools, and he enjoyed helping mold athletes into adults.  

Paul Scurlock / The Detroit News

April 27, 2006 

DETROIT — Former Detroit Public School League coach Joe Hoskins died Sunday after a lengthy illness.

He was 63.

Hoskins began his coaching career at Southwestern in 1971 and won PSL football championships at Southwestern and Henry Ford before being forced to leave the sideline halfway through Ford’s 1989 season after a dispute with an administrator. After that, he went into the real estate business.

Hoskins was remembered Monday as a man who took great pleasure in helping to mold young men into responsible adults.

"He was tough but fair," current Ford coach Mike Marshall said. "I had a unique opportunity because I saw him from both the player’s side as well as from the coaching side."

Marshall was a high school All American for Hoskins at Southwestern in 1976.

"Even as an assistant coach, I would see him do things and wonder why," Marshall said.

"After I became the head coach I realized he was way ahead of his time in his handling of players. Probably the biggest thing I learned from him was that he was successful because he was willing to work harder than anyone, any time. Hard work can beat better talent in a lot of cases."

Detroit Mercy basketball coach Perry Watson was a young high school coach at Southwestern when he met Hoskins.

"He was an amazing individual," Watson said. "He would always take time to talk with me any time I needed it. He was a great teacher on the field or court, and he was always ready to help in any situation.

"As Joe got older, it was clear to me that he enjoyed our success more than he had enjoyed his own. He would always ask me what it was like to go to the next level. In my heart, I know he could have been successful as a college coach, but he loved working with the younger kids.

"When I came back to the city, there were people that would call and want me to leave them tickets. Joe never would. Suddenly I’d see him in the stands or he would come courtside to say hello, but he would never want to take advantage of our friendship."

Said Mel Farr, a former Lions running back: "Joe was my best friend for the last 35-40 years."

"We were so close, my kids still call him Uncle Joe," Farr said. "The lasting memory I will have of him was his ability to develop young men. He had the ability to reach out and find a way to touch them … and make them better as people and athletes.

"I met Joe through Lem Barney… they played together at Jackson State in Mississippi. Mel was a corner, and Joe was a safety. He had tryouts with Pittsburgh and San Francisco; after he was cut by San Francisco, he returned here and started teaching and coaching."

Hoskins is survived by a daughter, Nicole.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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