Name: Willie Jeffries
Born: Jan. 4, 1937
Background/Significance: Jeffries played football and baseball at South Carolina State College (now University.) After working as an assistant coach at North Carolina A&T and Pittsburgh, he served two stints as SC State’s head football coach (1973–78 and 1989–2001), compiling a school record of 128–77–4. His overall college record at SC State, Wichita State and Howard University is 179–132–6.
In 1979, he became the first African-American to coach a predominantly white NCAA Division I school at Wichita State. He posted 10 seasons with eight or more victories, including 10 wins twice (1976 and 1994, both at SC State). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
South Carolina connection: A Union native, Jeffries coached at Lancaster’s Barr Street High and Gaffney’s Granard High, where he won three Class AAA state titles, prior to coaching at SC State. He currently lives in Elloree.