Good Morning Obots!
Today’s legendary coach is the great Willie Jeffries.
Willie Jeffries, a native of Union, South Carolina, earned his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master’s degree in guidance and counseling from South Carolina State University. Additionally, he studied at Indiana University. However, he made his mark in college football, leading South Carolina State University to football prominence.
In his 29-year career, Willie Jeffries compiled a 179-132-6 record. He coached 19 years at his alma mater South Carolina State University (SCSU) in two stints, five years at Wichita State University, and five years at Howard University. Jeffries won almost 60 percent of the college games he coached, which made him the “winningest coach” in the 107-year history of SCSU and owner of more MEAC victories than any other coach.
His record during his two stints with the South Carolina State Bulldog football team: 1973 to 1978 and 1989 to 2001, includes three Black National Championships, seven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships, several post-season appearances in Division 1-AA playoffs, the Heritage Bowl, and numerous coaching awards. Players that Jeffries coached at SCSU include Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell as well as Robert Porcher, Orlando Brown, Chartic Darby, Dextor Clinkscale, David Norman and Anthony Cook.
When Jeffries took over Wichita State in 1979, he became the first African American to coach a Division I-A University. He is credited with creating the “Freeze Option” offense and is the only man to coach against both Eddie Robinson of Grambling State University and Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama.
On May 5, 1988, the Governor of South Carolina, Carroll Campbell presented Coach Jeffries with the Order of the Palmetto. This is the highest civilian honor in the state of South Carolina and is awarded to those citizens who make achievements of statewide impact.
A scholarship fund and endowment have been established in his name at SCSU. During the 2002 school year, he was honored by the Black Coaches’ Association (BCA) with a lifetime achievement award and inducted into the Palmetto State’s Black Hall of Fame.
He is a member of several coaching, professional and civic organizations, including the American Football Coaches Association and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Two years ago, he was appointed to the NCAA Football Rules Committee.