Head Coach Emeritus Willie Jeffries urged South Carolina State University to work together for the institution’s success.
Jeffries is an S.C. State alumnus and is credited as the winningest coach in the university’s history.
“Nothing can produce a winner like a little teamwork will,” he said. “Each team member has to possess the three c’s.”
“Competence plus commitment equals the championship for South Carolina State,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries spoke Sunday during the Founder’s Day ceremony, celebrating the 122nd anniversary of the university’s founding. The theme was “Moving forward, living the legacy and envisioning the future.”
While coaching at S.C. State, Jeffries won almost 60 percent of games played. He currently serves as a liaison between the university, its alumni and other constituents.
Jeffries related the future success of the university to a team of three players. They are President James E. Clark, the alumni and the student body.
He told the crowd that they should work to together to push the university forward and always strive to be number one.
Jeffries said the faculty and staff of the university have the knowledge and ability to do their jobs and what they are called to do, making them competent.
“But competence means nothing if you’re not committed,” Jeffries said. “You have to be committed to the task and they are!”
“They have a strong desire to do what’s asked of them,” he added. “They come every day with zeal and zest to do what is asked of them.”
Jeffries said Clark has provided an environment that allows each of the university’s students to reach their potential.
“I want to thank President Clark and this faculty and staff for believing that all of our students can fly to the skies of academic success,” he said. “That’s appreciated and that’s why we have so many great students here at the university.”
Offering tutoring programs and nurturing the students who may need a little more help has truly made the difference, he said.
“When a student comes here, it does not matter the size of their homes, the size of the cars they drive,” Jeffries said. “They will receive a level playing field when they come to South Carolina State because President Clark and the faculty and staff, they believe that success has no zip code.”
To the alumni, Jeffries said they have shown their competence and commitment by giving back.
He said the university’s graduates “are a ‘giving-back’ alumni.”
They are competent because they have resources and money while showing they are committed because they give back, he said.
Finally, Jeffries spoke directly to the students.
“Students, your success depends on many things but mostly on you,” he started.
“You don’t decide your future,” Jeffries said. “You decide your habits and your habits decide your future.”
He encouraged the students to get in the habit of studying and being kind.
Jeffries told the students to begin preparing for the future they want now.
He related their destinies to sailing ships.
“It is not by the gales but the setting of your sails that determine which way you will go,” Jeffries said. “When the wind blows, the ship and your life will go in the direction you set your sails.”
He said they shouldn’t allow the winds of change to blow them along and to just drift through life reacting to changes.
“Set your sails on a course where you can be the best person you can be,” Jeffries said.
He also said students should use their time in school as more than just a transitory period in their life.
“Your tassels will be worth the hassles,” he said. “Don’t worry about the hassles, you have to graduate.”
Jeffries said, “Continue to be competent and most importantly, let’s remain committed to South Carolina State University.”