Thursday, September 18, 2008
Orangeburg, S.C. – The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame has announced the induction ceremony of legendary coach Willie Jeffries ‘60 into the Hall of Fame for the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 23rd Annual Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, Sept. 26, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Atlanta, Ga at 6:30 p.m.
Jeffries, an SC State alumnus, made history when he became the first African American head football coach at a Division I School, Wichita State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from SC State.
“The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, not only reflects me, it represents our University,” Coach Jeffries stated, “without SC State I do not know where I would be.”
He began his college coaching tenure as an assistant at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1968. In 1972, he joined the staff of Johnny Majors at the University of Pittsburg after a year of assistant coaching, and in 1973 returned back to his alma mater, SC State, where he became the head football coach.
His 19 year career at SC State, which covered two stints (1973-78 and 1989-2001), culminated in a 50-13- 4 record. He retired in 2001. That year his team won its last five contests to finish 6-5.
“The two accomplishments that I am proud of at SC State, is winning the MEAC in 1974 and producing 73% of athletes in their graduating class those were both great feelings,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries 29 year collegiate record was 179-132-6. It includes five-years at Wichita State and Howard University, six Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships, two national titles, and many coaching awards.
Jeffries has also received many other awards and honors to include:
- The Order of the Silver Crescent, (which is the Palmetto States highest award for outstanding community service)
- The Order of the Palmetto, (South Carolinas highest civilian reward)
- SC State has established a scholarship fund and an endowment scholarship fund at SC State named in his honor.
Idolized in three athletic halls, Jeffries has been inducted into the SC State Athletic Hall of Fame, MEAC Hall of Fame, and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coach Jeffries expressed his enthusiasm. He stated, “My legacy is that I was a players’ coach, I coached positively and I was involved in all phases of the community.”