NORFOLK, Va. – As the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference concludes the celebration of its 50th anniversary during the 2020-21 academic year, the conference office has announced its Legends of Coaching, presented by The Home Depot, comprised of 50 outstanding coaches throughout the conference’s history.
Nine of the coaches are from South Carolina State University, more than from any other MEAC institution.
Nearly 1,900 total votes were cast, with fans, media representatives, institution sports information contacts and others taking part.
To be considered on the ballot, coaches must have served as a head coach in the MEAC for a period of at least four years, must have won at least one MEAC championship and must have had a winning record.
Located in Norfolk, Va., the MEAC is made up of 11 historically Black institutions: Bethune-Cookman, Coppin State, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Howard, Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State, Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State.
In all, 50 individuals, including 15 MEAC Hall of Famers, are recognized. S.C. State Legends of Coaching are:
- Cy Alexander (Men’s Basketball, South Carolina State & North Carolina A&T State): Was head men’s basketball coach at South Carolina State from 1987-99 and at North Carolina A&T State from 2012-16… won five (5) regular-season and six (6) MEAC tournament championships at South Carolina State while compiling a record of 204-80 (276-200 overall)…the 1988-89 team won the program’s first-ever MEAC tournament title and subsequent berth to the NCAA Div. I Tournament…led the Bulldogs to a total of five (5) automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament…in his first season at NCAT, led the Aggies to the MEAC tournament title and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
- William “Bill” Davis (Football, South Carolina State): In seven seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs, won four championships while compiling records of 27-7 in the MEAC and 54-25-1 overall…led Bulldogs to two appearances in the NCAA Div. I-AA playoffs, going 2-2 between1981 and 1982…named MEAC Coach of the Year two (2) times (1980 and 1981) and SBN National Black College Coach of the Year in 1980…compiled two 10-game winning seasons…coached 50 All-MEAC performers, including three (3) MEAC Players of the Year…also coached 21 All-Americans…his Bulldogs were crowned SBN Black College National Champions in 1981…a 1995 MEAC Hall of Fame Inductee.
- Lyman Foster (Women’s Basketball & Men’s Golf, South Carolina State): Served as head women’s basketball coach from 1988-93, compiling a record of 45-28 in the conference and 79-68 overall…guided the Lady Bulldogs to three (3) MEAC Women’s Basketball Tournament championships…coached two MEAC Players of the Year…named MEAC Coach of the Year one (1) time…coached several players who were named to the MEAC’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Women’s Basketball Team…as head men’s golf coach from 1988-93, led the program to two (2) PGA Minority Golf titles (1988 and 1989), to two (2) PGA Minority Golf Tournament second place finishes and to one (1) HBCU Alumni Hall of Fame Golf Tournament championship.
- Willie Jeffries (Football, Howard & South Carolina State): Served two stints as head coach of the Bulldogs football team (1973-78 and 1989-2001)…finished his career in 2001 as the winningest coach in South Carolina State and MEAC history at the time with records of 128-77-4 overall and 79-44-2 in the MEAC…his teams won five (5) MEAC championships and three (3) Black College National Championships…named MEAC Coach of the Year five (5) times and National Black College Coach of the Year three (3) times…led Bulldogs to seven (7) postseason appearances, winning four games in the postseason…only person to have coached against legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Eddie Robinson…member of the MEAC Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the HBCU National Alumni Hall of Fame…coached College Football Hall of Famers and Pro Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell…was the first African-American to coach at a NCAA Div. I university…is credited with inventing the “Freeze Option” offense.
- Robert “Jet” Johnson (Cross Country/Track & Field, South Carolina State): Served as South Carolina State’s head track and cross country coach from 1974 to 1991…is the winningest coach in SCSU track and field/cross country history with a combined 20 conference championships in cross country, men’s track and field and women’s track and field…captured the NCAA Div. II National Women’s Track and Field championship in 1982 and was the runner-up in 1981…won over 20 MEAC Coach of the Year honors as well as one (1) AIAW Outstanding Coach accolade…won MEAC championships in men’s outdoor track in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1990…won MEAC championships in MEAC indoor track in 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990 and 1991…won a MEAC championship in men’s cross country in 1980k…for the women, his teams won MEAC outdoor titles in 1982 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1998 an indoor title in 1982…coached 13 AIAW All-Americans and four (4) NAIA All-Americans...inducted into the MEAC Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Hardeep Judge (Men’s and Women’s Tennis, South Carolina State): Since taking over the South Carolina State men’s and women’s tennis programs in 2001, has won a combined 27 MEAC championships (14 women’s titles and 13 men’s titles)…ranks among the winningest coaches in NCAA Div. I history and is the all-time winningest coach in SCSU history with over 523 career wins…has compiled a record of 104-9 in the MEAC and 260-102 overall in women’s tennis as well as 86-8 in the MEAC and 263-124 overall in men’s tennis…his teams have made 27 NCAA Tennis Championship appearances…has won MEAC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year and MEAC Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year honor numerous times…has been named ITA Tennis National Coach of the Year two (2) times.
- Oliver “Buddy” Pough (Football, South Carolina State): Is currently South Carolina State’s all-time winningest football coach, having compiled a 133-74 record since taking over the program in 2002…has won at least a share of seven MEAC football championships (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019) and made four NCAA Div. I FCS Playoff appearances…won two Black College national championships (2008, 2009)…three-time MEAC Coach of the Year (2008, 2009, 2019).
- James Ragland (Wrestling, South Carolina State): Coached the Bulldogs from 1980-86…compiled a record of 56-39-3 and won four consecutive MEAC championships (1980-83)…he was named the MEAC’s Outstanding Coach in each of those four seasons and coached a total of 31 MEAC champions during his tenure…coached two NCAA qualifiers each in 1983 and 1986.
- Willie Simon (Women’s Basketball & Baseball, South Carolina State): Won 305 women’s basketball games from 1974-88 at South Carolina State, winning three regular-season (1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86) and four MEAC tournament titles (1978, 1979, 1983, 1986)…won the AIAW national championship in 1978-79, after being the national runner-up in 1977-78…two-time MEAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year (1984- 85, 1991-92)…led South Carolina State to an NCAA Tournament win over La Salle in 1982-83, becoming the first HBCU (men or women) to win an NCAA postseason game…also led the Bulldogs baseball program to its lone MEAC title in 1973.