Family of late UCF Coach Gene McDowell’s family in a battle over trophies

University of Central Florida Coach Gene McDowell, who passed away in 2021.


The widow of Coach Gene McDowell, who was head football coach at the University of Central Florida from 1985 to 1997, was in county court last week asking that some of her late husband’s trophies and scrapbook be returned to her.

Margaret McDowell told the court that one of the coach’s cousins, Kenneth Edwards of Crawfordville had been given the memorabilia for safekeeping but now refuses to return it.
For his part, Edwards, who told the court that he is the family historian who has many treasured family items, has submitted text messages from McDowell’s son Blake that he contends show that he bought the trophies.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 3 before County Judge Brian Miller, the items under dispute were ordered turned over to the clerk’s office for safekeeping in the vault until he makes a final decision on who should the items.
The items include the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year trophy presented to McDowell in 1990; his Most Valuable Player award from 1962 when he played football at Florida State University; and a scrapbook started by McDowell’s mother that covered his football career from when he was playing high school ball in Georgia.
McDowell, who lived in Quincy, died of leukemia in 2021. He was inducted into the UCF Hall of Fame in November.
At the hearing, Margaret McDowell said the items were given to Edwards for safekeeping in 2019 after a series of thefts in the McDowell home.
Blake McDowell, who appeared via Zoom, said “things were going missing” because of some of the people he was hanging around at the time. Edwards claims in his response to the lawsuit that he wanted the items preserved so he paid. “And paid and paid,” he added, claiming he paid Blake and Ms. McDowell hundreds of dollars.
The case is still pending. Judge Miller is scheduled to hold a final hearing next month.

McDowell won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award in 1990, above. The trophy and other memorabilia are subject of a lawsuit between the coach’s widow and a cousin. The items were ordered held by the Clerk of Courts by County Judge Brian Miller until he decides who the items rightfully belong to.