An award-winning coach and a tireless civil servant whose winning ways can be traced back to their belief in giving are the local natives featured in the 2019 African-American History Calendar.
South Carolina State University head football coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough is one of 12 people honored in the 2019 South Carolina Department of Education African-American History Calendar sponsored by AT&T.
Pough, an Orangeburg County native who was born and raised in the Great Branch community, has accumulated many awards and recognitions throughout his football career.
His service as one of the top high school coaches in the Palmetto State includes having led Fairfield Central High School to a perfect 15-0 record in 1996, claiming the Class AAA state title. As a result, Pough was named S.C. High School League Coach of the Year.
He is in his 17th season as head football coach of the S.C. State Bulldogs.
Janice Wannamaker Marshall, a native of St. Matthews, was also honored for her civic and community engagement. Marshall’s accomplishments include her service as a Claflin University trustee and her 20-year tenure as executive director of the James E. Clyburn Research and Scholarship Foundation.
Under her leadership, millions of dollars have been awarded to students, many of whom are first-generation college pursuers.
The calendar, which is in its 30th year, was unveiled at a formal ceremony held Oct. 9 at the Koger Center in Columbia. It annually honors 12 individuals who have made significant contributions to South Carolina and their professions, and who serve as role models to the students and citizens of the Palmetto state.
Pough and Wannamaker both said it is their passion for helping others that has helped them receive their blessings in life.
‘It’s real important ... to make this world a better place’
Pough said his inclusion in the calendar means much to him.
“I think it’s special. I’m proud for the fact that they thought that I was worthy. I sometimes question whether that is or not, knowing some of the folks that I come in contact with on a daily basis, but at the same time, you say ‘thank you’ and kind of move on,” Pough said, laughing.
Prior to serving at S.C. State, Pough spent five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina under head football coach Lou Holtz, with the last three seasons as a running backs coach. During his time at USC, he helped build the Gamecocks into one of the top offensive teams in the Southeastern Conference.
While at S.C. State, he compiled a 121-68 record (95-34 MEAC), while his teams won or shared six Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships and made four Football Subdivision Championship (FCS) playoff appearances.
Pough said molding young men into leaders has probably been the most fulfilling part of his coaching career.
“Yeah, that’s probably been it, the young men that have gone through the programs that I have been associated with. I have been at a lot of different places in a lot of different capacities, and I don't know if there's a better feeling than seeing those people that you've worked with develop and mature and get to be people that can add to the society in a good positive way,” Pough said. “It's just fun to see them grow up."
Pough said it is important for individuals to find happiness in whatever work they do so that they can most fully impact others.
"I tell our team all the time to, first of all, find some joy in your life. In order to work hard at something, I think you gotta enjoy doing it. I think we all need to kind of figure out how to be the best in our field, so I think you gotta work smart.
“And last, but not least, I think we gotta find out how to continue to work together. You gotta enjoy working with people, helping people and having people help you. There's always a special kind of relationship that develops around giving,” Pough said.
“If you can give back and help people do stuff, I think it just makes it a special kind of way that you kind of feel about that person."
The football coach said is it also important to honor history, as demonstrated with the creation of the African-American History Calendar.
“It's real important that we do all we can to help those who come with us and behind us to understand the struggle and the things that we did to try to make this world a better place,” Pough said.
Pough is a member of New Light United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Josie, are the parents of two sons and the grandparents of two granddaughters.
‘I believe in giving’
Marshall is the daughter of 93-year-old Verna Wannamaker Abney. She was the wife of the late Dr. Henry Thomas Marshall Jr. and they are the parents of one daughter.
Marshall was educated in the Calhoun County public school system before attending Claflin University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies.
Marshall has received numerous awards and recognitions for her community service, including the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses-Unsung Hero Award and the Ethel M. Bolden Community Service Award, but she said her work is not rooted in receiving recognition.
Her board and commission affiliations include the Columbia Urban League; James R. Clark Sickle Cell Foundation; EdVenture Children’s Museum; Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and the Columbia Housing Authority.
Marshall, who now resides in Blythewood, said the most fulfilling part of her service has been helping others.
"It is to just know that I have played a little part in someone reaching the first step to their goal. And what I do, I do it from the heart. I don't do it for recognition because I don't care if I'm ever recognized as long as whoever I'm trying to help get some benefit. And it could be a youngster, or it could be a senior citizen,” Marshall said. “I have been doing volunteer work all of my life."
She said “words can’t even express” how it feels to be included in the African-American History Calendar.
“When I received the call, I was so moved. And at the time I didn't know whether the timing was good for me because of the condition of my husband. ... And I discussed it with him and he said, 'It's quite an honor. You should go ahead.'
“This was the 30th year, and there have been so many people that I have known, there have been people that I have recommended to be a part of that group of outstanding people,” she said, so it was an honor to find herself among the honorees.
“I have been getting calls with people saying, 'I didn't know you did all of those things.' I do it from the heart. I believe in the philanthropy. I believe in giving," she said.
Marshall is proud of her work as executive director of the James E. Clyburn Research and Scholarship Foundation.
“We have given millions and millions of dollars through the foundation. This past year we did 127 scholarships. They get $1,000 from the foundation. I have partnered with so many people. The uniqueness about the foundation is that our scholarship is a need-based scholarship.
“We have children who have been emancipated. We have children whose parents are incarcerated. But they have that desire. So anytime when you find these students that have that kind of desire, we're supposed to do whatever it takes to help them,” Marshall said.
She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents in St. Matthews and learned many lessons there.
"Both of my grandparents were self-taught. They instilled in me and all of my other cousins that grew up in St. Matthews that you can reach whatever goal you want if you put in the time and the work. My grandfather and grandmother would bring people on the farm.
“I didn't do well in the field because I'm afraid of bugs. So I was the one who cooked for everyone. And everybody who worked for my granddaddy ate something before they left,” she said, laughing.
She added, “I have been blessed. I grew up on a farm and know the value of a dollar. If my granddaddy knew how much debt I was in, he would turn over in his grave because his thing was if you can't pay for it, you don't need it.
"My grandmother had no formal education, but she could tailor as if she had been to tailoring school. She knew how to make patterns. And I saw that. I saw my grandfather. He got up every morning, got on that tractor, working from sunup to sundown.”
She said serving as a member of Claflin University’s board of trustees is work in which she also takes pride.
“I graduated from John Ford High, left there and went to Claflin, and left there and went to California. I attended Pepperdine (University) for a short period of time and essentially I came back home. And one of the things that I was touched by was when I asked to be a member of the trustee board of the great Claflin University. To be an alumnus and to be on the trustee board, it was very moving, very touching," she said.
Marshall said it is important to cherish and honor history as can be shown through the development of the African-American History Calendar.
"We have to because if we don't, it's lost. And if we don't talk about it and put it out there, who will?" Marshall said.
She said while she has been several places, she has always recognized and appreciated her small-town roots and the values she learned from her experiences. She regularly goes to St. Matthews to visit her mother.
"You can get the girl out the country, but you can't get the country out of the girl. I think I fit into that category. And I don't mind talking about it. People would say, 'Why do you tell people you're from St. Matthews?' I say, 'Because that's where I'm from!' I don't deny my roots and my heritage. I know what it is.
“When I got ready to leave California to come back to South Carolina, people said, “Oh you’ll be back in 30 days.’ Coming back was the best thing that I could have done. I don’t regret it. I have traveled extensively, but it’s still nothing like home. I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said.
The 2019 African-American History Calendar is not for sale but can requested free of charge by visiting online at https://scafricanamerican.com/2019-calendar-request/. For more information about previous editions for the calendar, including biographies of past honorees and resources for educators, visit www.scafricanamerican.com.