Miriam Walker-Samuels


Former Claflin women’s basketball standout Miriam Walker-Samuels is set to make history Monday when she becomes the first graduate from her alma mater to be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.

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The event will take place during a special ceremony at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, with a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by the enshrinement banquet at 6:30 p.m.

Walker-Samuels, one of the most prolific scorers in women’s college basketball history, will be joined by six others in the 2019 Induction Class. The class also features former Clemson and NFL punter Chris Gardocki, former College of Charleston and University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Nancy Wilson, former USC and NFL defensive lineman John Abraham, former Clemson and major league baseball player Shane Monahan, former Appalachian State linebacker Dexter Coakley, and former USC-Aiken and major league pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who also becomes his school’s first inductee.

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In addition, Orangeburg native and one-time sports writer for The Times and Democrat and The State newspapers Bob Gillespie will be one of several individuals receiving special awards from the SCAHOF.

Gillespie will be presented the Herm Helms Media Excellence Award.

A Talbotton, Georgia native, Walker-Samuels earned “Miss Georgia Basketball” honors at Central High School before establishing an outstanding basketball career at Claflin College (1987-1990) in Orangeburg.

She led Claflin to the 1988 and 1989 NAIA National Championship games and set nine NAIA records during her prolific career, including most points in a game (62 vs. Dillard, 1988), most points in a career (3,855) and most points in a season (1,303; 1987-1990); 1,601 FGs, 573 FTs in 111 games).

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Walker-Samuels averaged 35.5 points per game during the 1988-89 season, and 34.7 points per game over her career. She twice won the NAIA National Tournament’s MVP Award and was a two-time first-team All-American. She enjoyed a successful high school coaching career, first at Keith High in Orville, Ala., and later at Sylacauga High, also in Alabama, which she guided to the Class 4A state championship before returning to Claflin, her alma mater, in 2003 as head coach.

She succeeded her coach and mentor, the late Nelson Brownlee, and continued to guide the Lady Panthers in the same rich tradition as her predecessor. In her first three seasons as Claflin head coach, she guided her team to consecutive national tournaments.

She was named the Times and Democrat Region Coach of the Year in 2005, and was recognized as a Black College Sports Legend for making significant contributions to historically black colleges by the Black College Sports and Education Foundation.

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