David Horton received a long overdue honor a week ago at the Columbia Convention Center.
The former Bamberg-Ehrhardt head baseball coach was finally inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. Despite winning more games (889) and state championships (14) than any other Palmetto State high school baseball coach, the Red Raider legend had to wait until after his retirement last June to earn his rightful place among other greats.
In fact, Horton was the first high school baseball coach even enshrined by SCAHOF, leading fellow inductee former University of South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner to remark that he hopes this will open the “floodgates” for other deserving honorees to follow.
One can only hope these long-deserving, worthy candidates can enter through those same “floodgates” starting next year.
Perhaps the most glaring omission from the SCAHOF’s present list. Already a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, the late Claflin University women’s basketball coach posted 1,002 career victories. He led the team formerly known as the Pantherettes to 623 victories in 27 seasons, as well as 17 Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, 12 NAIA tournament appearances, seven NAIA District VI championships, six Southeastern Athletic Conference championships and two NAIA tournament runner-up finishes.
The ‘Big O’ of Calhoun County High was a coaching mainstay in St. Matthews dating back to the 1950s, finishing his career with 597 wins and two state titles.
Since graduating from the University of South Carolina, where he led the nation in scoring as a senior, the St. Matthews native has compiled a historic record as Calhoun County boys’ basketball coach. The first S.C. High School League head coach to win eight state titles, Fredrick was also among the fastest to reach 500 career wins and owns the state’s longest winning streak at 81 games.
William “Bill” Hamilton
“The hardest working man in Orangeburg” will retire in June. His work as the only sports information director in S.C. State history has earned him induction into three Halls of Fame (S.C. State Athletics, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and College Sports Information of America) and the SCAHOF’s prestigious Herman Helms Media Excellence Award.
How can a football coaching legend have a stadium named in his honor and not be in the SCAHOF? The late Bamberg-Ehrhardt coaching icon spent 22 of his 40 years at the school on the sidelines, posting a record of 297-121-4 and leading the Red Raiders to a 1990 Class 2-A Division II state title.
He made seven state title game appearances, including two at then-St. Stephen High School, where he won his first state title in 1962, and led Latta to back-to-back Class B state titles (1956-57). If that was not enough, Maxwell was a three-sport (football, baseball and basketball) athlete at Newberry College.
South Carolina State has produced the Palmetto State’s only three Pro Football Hall of Fame members. While Harry Carson and Deacon Jones are included, somehow the former Cleveland Browns’ running back remains on the outside.
Name another head coach in South Carolina who can place Division I women’s basketball national championship on their resume.
Along with the 1978-79 AIAW national championship, Simon led the Lady Bulldogs to a school-record 305 career victories. He also led the S.C. State baseball team to Southeastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships from 1969-73 and was an assistant coach on Willie Jeffries’ football staff during his historic first tenure with the Bulldogs.
In addition, Simon led then-Lexington Rosenwald High school to seven state football championships while posting a 99-15-4 mark and coached the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams to a combined 13 district championships and one state title.
A glance at the national records at www.naia.org finds the former Claflin sideline leader’s name listed on just about every league individual scoring mark.
Not only did the three-time All-American lead the team to a 105-7 record and two NAIA tournament final appearances from 1988-91, she also helped Claflin set several national team records.
It was nine years ago when a similar column was written seeking recognition for many of these candidates, with only Horton receiving entry. Hopefully, the SCAHOF selection committee will not wait another nine years to grant most if not all of these candidates the same courtesy.
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