SC State’s Willie Jeffries Slated to be Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coach JeffriesArchie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF), recently announced the 2010 Divisional Hall of Fame Class, which considers players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA), Divisions II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) for induction.

This year's class, which includes South Carolina State head football coach emeritus, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during the Enshrinement Festival, July 16-17, in South Bend, Ind. The class includes:
2010 DIVISIONAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

PLAYERS:

  • EMERSON BOOZER - Maryland Eastern Shore, HB (1962-65)
  • TROY BROWN - Marshall, WR (1991-92)
  • BRIAN KELLEY - California Lutheran, LB (1969- 72)
  • MILT MORIN - Massachusetts, TE (1963- 65)


COACHES:

  • WILLIE JEFFRIES* - 179-132-6 (.574); Howard (1984- 88), Wichita State (1979-83), South Carolina State (1973-78, 1989-2001)
  • TED KESSINGER - 219-57-1 (.792); Bethany (Kan.) (1976-2003)

* Selection from the Divisional Veterans Committee


"The 2010 Divisional Hall of Fame Class consists of players and coaches who have defined excellence in our sport," said Manning, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee from Ole Miss. "We share the pride felt by their families, friends and schools and look forward to immortalizing their achievements in college football's ultimate shrine."


The NFF launched its Divisional Hall of Fame program in 1996 during its annual enshrinement festival. A total of 124 players and coaches, counting this year's class, have been inducted from the divisional ranks, including Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech), Walter Payton (Jackson State), John Randle (Texas A&M-Kingsville), Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State), and coach Eddie Robinson (Grambling State). Of the 4.72 million who have played college football since 1869, the newest class of inductees joins only 866 players and 186 coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame.


The first African-American to be hired as a head coach at a Division-I school (Wichita State), Willie Jeffries finished his career as the winningest coach in South Carolina State and MEAC history.


During a nineteen-year coaching career at SC State, which included two tenures – 1973-1978 and 1989-2001 – Jeffries achieved unparalleled success, winning more football games than any other coach in school history. He compiled an enviable record of 128-77-4 during his two stints as Bulldog head coach.


The Union, SC native and 1960 alumnus, also owns more MEAC victories than any other coach in the long history of the league. During his remarkable 29-year collegiate head-coaching career – which included five-year stints at both Wichita State and Howard -- he compiled a 179-132-6 record, a winning percentage of over sixty percent.


A three-time Black National Championship winner, Jeffries is credited with inventing the "Freeze Option" offense and is the only person in history to coach against College Football Hall of Famers Paul "Bear" Bryant and Eddie Robinson. Jeffries won the MEAC conference title seven times, six with SCSU and one with Howard. He has also coached College Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell.

Named coach of the year on eight different occasions, he was given the lifetime achievement award by the Black Coaches Association in 2002. An inductee in both the MEAC Hall of Fame and SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame, Jeffries was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent in 2001, South Carolina's highest honor for Outstanding Community Service.

Jeffries was recently named head coach emeritus at South Carolina State and will serve as a liaison between the university, its alumni and other constituents. He currently resides in Elloree, S.C.