Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough Named 2011 MEAC Distinguished Alumnus

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SC State University’s football coach and alumnus, Oliver “Buddy” Pough, ‘75, has yet another accolade to add to his already long list of accomplishments. He will be recognized as the 2011 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Distinguished Alumnus for SC State University today, Thursday, March 10, 2011 at the annual Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Lawrence Joel Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

During the half-time ceremony, Pough will make an on-court appearance and be recognized for his notable accomplishments at SC State University. “I am honored to have been selected by my University for this award,” says Pough. “Any time you are given an opportunity to be recognized, it feels like you are making a difference in this world and in the lives of others.  That is what we try to do here every day.”

Pough recently completed his ninth season as head coach at SC State. Since succeeding head coach emeritus Willie Jeffries as Bulldog head coach in 2002, Pough has built the SC State football program into a perennial power in the MEAC and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

This past season, SC State finished 9-3 and was 7-1 in the MEAC to tie for the championship after winning the title outright in both 2009 and 2008. The Bulldogs also earned their third straight berth to the FCS playoffs, and finished the 2010 campaign ranked high in all of the HBCU polls as well as the FCS rankings.

In 2009, SC State was named National Black Champion by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network, the 100 Percent Wrong Club of Atlanta, the Washington (DC) Pigskin Club and the Box-to-Row/BASN. In addition, the Bulldogs finished number seven in all three major FCS polls – The Sports Network, the FCS Coaches Poll and Any Given Saturday.

Pough’s 2009 squad finished 10-3 overall, captured its second consecutive MEAC crown with an unblemished 8-0 record and made back-to-back appearances in the FCS playoffs. The Orangeburg native reaped Coach of the Year honors in the MEAC -- his second in as many seasons – and also earned the accolade from The State newspaper, the Washington Pigskin Club, the 100 Percent Wrong Club of Atlanta and the Orangeburg Touchdown Club.

His 2008 squad was just as impressive, finishing 10-2 and winning the MEAC title with an 8-0 mark, the team’s first outright title in 14 seasons, and returning to the FCS playoffs for the first time since the 1982 campaign.

During his nine-year tenure at the University where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s, as well as All-MEAC honors as an offensive lineman, Pough has compiled an enviable 76-29 overall record and a 58-13 MEAC worksheet.

Pough became the 14th head football coach at SC State in the fall of 2002, taking over the reins from the legendary Willie Jeffries, who retired after 19 years at the helm. He posted a 7-5 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the MEAC in his inaugural season in 2002 and has had a winning campaign in each of his eight seasons. In 2003, he guided the Bulldogs to an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in MEAC play, losing only to Hampton and Bethune-Cookman.

Along with the last three campaigns (2008-10), the 2004 season can be considered another one of the team’s best under Pough, as the Bulldogs produced the first-of-two consecutive 9-2 seasons. SC State was 6-2 in MEAC play that season, tying the Hampton Pirates for the 2004 championship. In 2005, Pough’s team duplicated the 9-2 record of the previous year and improved to 7-1 in the MEAC, with the lone league loss coming at the hands of eventual champion and nationally-ranked Hampton.
Following a couple of 7-4 records in 2006 and 2007, the Bulldogs had 10 win seasons in each of the next two campaigns -- 2008 (10-3) and 2009 (10-2). SC State was also a perfect 8-0 in the MEAC both years.

Prior to taking the reins at SC State, Pough spent five seasons as an assistant at the University of South Carolina (USC), the last three as a running backs coach under Lou Holtz. During his stint at USC, he helped build the Gamecocks into one of the top offensive teams in the SEC.  USC made back-to-back appearances in the Outback Bowl in 2000 and 2001. Before going to USC, Pough was one of the top high school coaches in the Palmetto State, leading Fairfield-Central to a perfect 15-0 record in 1996 and claiming the Class AAA state title. He earned South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) Coach-of-the-Year honors for his efforts, the first of such three honors. Pough also had coaching stints at Keenan High in Columbia, S.C., where he built the Raiders into one of the top Class AAA teams in the state.

An Orangeburg native and former offensive lineman for SC State, Pough helped the Bulldogs amass a 16-1 record during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, a span in which SC State suffered just two MEAC losses and captured a pair of league titles. After graduating in 1975, he joined the staff at nearby Orangeburg-Wilkinson High (1976-79), before returning to his Alma Mater as an assistant coach in 1979. The Bulldogs made consecutive trips to the Div. 1-AA playoffs (1981 & 1982) during his tenure as an assistant. Pough and his wife, Josie, are the parents of two sons--Oliver “Bud” IV and Lee Judson, and a daughter-in-law, Dr. Natalie Odom Pough, whose parents – Leroy and Barbara Odom – are SC State graduates.