An Honor For A Bulldog Legend

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: April 2, 2010

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Former South Carolina State football coach Willie Jeffries, who attained legendary status at his alma mater before retiring nine years ago, has been named Head Football Coach Emeritus at the school where he won more football games than any other coach.

A recommendation from S.C. State athletics director Charlene Johnson and President George Cooper to elevate Jeffries to “Emeritus” status was approved by the university’s Board of Trustees at its February 26 meeting.

Not only will Jeffries wear a new title, the former Bulldog coach will also serve as a liaison between the university, its alumni and other constituents and also help market the university.

“Coach Jeffries and his wide appeal to so many of our stakeholders and other constituents provide us a great opportunity to brand and market the University,” Dr. Cooper said. “He can help us frame relationships that will increase support for athletics.”

“Coach Jeffries is truly admired by so many,” said Johnson, “Not just for his achievements in athletics, but also for his humanitarian contributions to this community, this state and society.”

“He has used football and his great personal skills to bring about better community relations in Orangeburg, the Palmetto State and beyond and I think it’s very fitting that the university has bestowed this honor upon him.”

Jeffries expressed his pleasure at being recognized in such a way by his alma mater and said he accepts the honor with humility and is anxious to do his part to elevate athletics and the university.

“It’s a great honor,” Jeffries said. “I accept this honor and role with great humility, not just for myself but for all the young men I’ve coached. “I’m ready and willing to do all I can to increase support for the school, especially athletics.

“I thank the Board of Trustees, President Cooper, Mrs. Johnson and the Athletics Department and all who had a hand in granting me this great honor.”

During a nineteen-year coaching career at SC State, which included two tenures — 1973- 1978 and 1989-2001 — Jeffries achieved unparalleled success, winning more football games than any other coach in school history.

He compiled an enviable record of 128-77- 4 during his two stints as Bulldog head coach. The Union, S.C. native and 1960 alumnus, also owns more MEAC victories than any other coach in the long history of the league.

During his remarkable 29-year collegiate head-coaching career — which included five-year stints at both Wichita State and Howard — he compiled a 179-132-6 record, a winning percentage of over sixty percent.

In addition to his sparkling won-loss record at the University, the S.C. State alumnus guided his teams to six MEAC championships, two national titles and eight postseason appearances.

He has also reaped a number of coaching and civic honors.

Jeffries has coached hundreds of young men – including numerous who have gone on to distinguished themselves in professional sports and other professions as well.

He mentored many others and served as a father-figure for still others.