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The time has come for South Carolina State University football Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough to move on.

The minute anyone in a position of authority or leadership attempts to hold on to a position for a selfish reason is the moment he or she should step aside. The person who clings to power selfishly is no better than a person who does so for a nefarious reason.

There are many former football players who deserve an opportunity to lead S.C. State, some of whom have also played at the professional level. Of course, any and all qualified applicants should be considered.

Why are these alumni and other qualified candidates being deprived of the same opportunity that Pough once sought and was granted? Why should qualified S.C. State alumni wait for Pough to decide to retire?

Pough has an abysmal record against non-HBCU programs. Even when SCSU was chalking up wins, conference titles and sharing conference titles under Pough, he was being embarrassed by non-HBCU Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) foes. Now, under Pough, all of the HBCUs have caught up to or surpassed SCSU. The time has come to end the selfish reign and allow another former Bulldog or qualified candidate to take the helm.

Pough is the same head coach who refused to help lessen the financial strains of S.C. State a few years ago by trimming staff when SCSU administrators wanted to cut the budget in an attempt to save the school. The board of trustees and administrators attempted to cut some coaches from his staff. Pough summoned his lawyer and enforced a provision in his contract that gave him sole responsibility for the handling of his staff. He endangered the school's existence by protecting his staff.

The argument that Athletic Director Stacy Danley makes that the actions of the state legislators hampered S.C. State is true, but Pough's actions also contributed to the financial straits the university faced. There is absolutely no reason for a faculty or staff member to have such a provision in his contract. Pough has used the financial woes of the school to limit his recruiting. However, there are several modes of transportation on a weekly basis that take athletes all over the country. Pough and members of his staff could recruit every place where our other teams play.

Pough is the same coach who refused to allow an injured quarterback to leave the field in Dover, Delaware, a few years ago. Malcolm Long was slammed to the turf and noticeably injured. He immediately went to Pough and asked to be replaced on the playing field. Pough, to the amazement and bewilderment of the fans in attendance, refused to allow Long to come out of the game.

This act put the university in a perilous position. If Long had sustained a more severe injury (than the graded shoulder injury he did) S.C. State could have been harmed. The shoulder injury Long suffered caused him to miss at least two games and required weeks to heal. Long's family could have sued the school over this error in judgment.

For the betterment of SCSU, it is time for a selfish Coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough to step aside. It is time to put SCSU's interest above that of his. He had 16 years to become the all-time winningest coach in school history.

Charles Allen of North Charleston is an S.C. State alumnus (1982). The ROTC graduate served in the U.S. military. He is a season-ticket holder for football and a supporter of university fundraisers such as the annual gala.


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