Honoring A Bulldog Great

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: August 23, 2010

DALLAS — South Carolina State and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame have announced that they will jointly honor Coach Willie Jeffries with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute on November 6 as the Bulldogs host Howard in Orangeburg.

Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. ET.

“Coach Jeffries is truly admired by so many,” said SC State director of athletics Charlene Johnson, “Not just for his achievements as head football coach at SC State but also for his humanitarian contributions to this community, this state and society.”

“He has mentored many young men and used football and his great personal skills to bring about better community relations in Orangeburg, the Palmetto State and beyond. We are proud of the latest honor bestowed upon him.”

On July 17, the NFF inducted Coach Jeffries into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 divisional enshrinement class in South Bend, Ind.

The first African-American to be hired as a head coach at a Division-I school (Wichita State), Willie Jeffries also coached at South Carolina State and Howard. He finished his career as the winningest coach in South Carolina State and MEAC history.

He compiled an overall 179-132-6 record during his career, which started in 1973 and ended 2001.

“This is an honor for me, my former players, South Carolina State and all the schools I’ve coached.” Jeffries told The State newspaper at the time of the announcement of his induction.

“This is about the top one a coach can receive.”

Throughout the season, each College Football Hall of Fame inductee returns to his school for the special on-field event, where a commemorative plaque is presented to the university for permanent display.

Beginning with the NFF’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1951, the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute has served as the first of numerous highlights in the hall of fame experience, giving each inductee one more chance to take the field.

“Coach Jeffries is a pioneer in every sense of the word. He opened doors for future generations, and he mentored countless young players who have gone on to be great leaders later in life,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell.

“It is fitting that his contributions are forever preserved in the College Football Hall of Fame, and we look forward to celebrating with the Bulldog faithful in Orangeburg on Nov.

6.”

A three-time Black National Championship winner, Jeffries is credited with inventing the “Freeze Option” offense and is the only person in history to coach against College Football Hall of Famers Paul “Bear” Bryant and Eddie Robinson.

Jeffries won the MEAC conference title seven times, six with SCSU and one with Howard. He has also coached College Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell.

Named coach of the year on eight different occasions, he was given the lifetime achievement award by the Black Coaches Association in 2002. An inductee of the MEAC Hall of Fame, SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, Jeffries was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 1998, South Carolina’s top civilian honor, and received the Order of the Silver Crescent in 2001, the state’s highest accolade for outstanding community service.

Jeffries, earlier this year, was named head coach emeritus at South Carolina State and serves as a liaison between the university, its alumni and other constituents.

He currently resides in Elloree, S.C.

Jeffries becomes the third individual inducted into the Hall of Fame from South Carolina State, along with his players Carson who was inducted in 2002 and Shell, a 1998 inductee.

He joins Coach Doug Porter (2008) as the only inductees from Howard, and Coach Marcelino Huerta (2002) and Jim Bausch (1954) as the only inductees from Wichita State.

NOTE: For a complete list of players and coaches in the hall, please visit www.collegefootball.org.