COLUMBIA – South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame President Dr. Tripp Jones has announced that the late Julian Smith of Charleston, Bob Gillespie of Columbia and Kay Fortune of Columbia will be honored for their various contributions to Palmetto State sports when the organization hosts its 59th annual banquet and induction ceremony on May 13 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
Smith, the past director of the Cooper River Bridge Run will be honored with the Willie Jeffries Ambassador for Sports Award that is sponsored by Defender Services.
Gillespie, a veteran Palmetto State sportswriter, will be recognized with the Herman Helms Excellence in Media Award.
Fortune, the SCAHOF’s first female president and longtime board member, will receive the Dom Fusci Leadership in Action Award that is sponsored by Founders Federal Credit Union.
The three will be recognized in addition to the new inductees of the SCAHOF class of 2019, which includes Clemson kicker Chris Gardocki, USC and College of Charleston women’s basketball coach Nancy Wilson of Lake City, USC defensive lineman John Abraham of Lamar High, Clemson baseball All-American Shane Monahan, linebacker Dexter Coakley of Mt. Pleasant and Appalachian State, USC-Aiken and former major league pitcher Roberto Hernandez, and high scoring basketball standout Miriam Walker-Samuels of Claflin College.
Tickets (table of eight for $600) and program sponsorships are available by calling the SCAHOF office at 803/779-0905 or through scahof.com. The event, which includes a reception and dinner, begins at 5:30 p.m.
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In 1976, Gillespie began his professional journalism career and it continues today. His first newspaper opportunity came as sports editor at his Orangeburg hometown’s The Times and Democrat, working his way to The (Charleston) News & Courier (now Post & Courier) before moving to Columbia and making more of an impact on sports fans in the Palmetto State.
He moved to The Columbia Record in 1979, and shifted to The State in 1988 when The Record was discontinued. He retired in January 2010, spending more than 30 years with The State Media Company.
While in Columbia, Gillespie was a sports reporter, beat writer, columnist and Senior Writer, focusing on long-form features and in-depth stories during his last 10 years at The State. He was also the newspaper’s golf writer from 2000-10, and covered 31 Masters tournaments with three newspapers, plus 42 (and counting) RBC Heritage tournaments.
Gillespie has captured many S.C. Press Association first-place writing awards, including the SCPA “triple crown,” winning first place in columns, features and news (spot sports) in the same year. He twice finished second nationally in the Associated Press Sports Editors national competition (2001 for feature stories, 2009 for explanatory stories). He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) and the S.C. Golf Course Ratings Panel, which annually ranks golf courses in South Carolina.
A graduate of Orangeburg High School, Gillespie was a journalism major at the University of South Carolina and later added a master’s degree from USC.
The award being received by Gillespie is named for Herman Helms, longtime sports editor and columnist of The State and co-founder of SCAHOF.