The PC Men's Basketball Team has set foot on the court over 2,200 times...

Which is a tremendous number considering its humble beginnings. Men's Basketball began its existence in less than ideal circumstances in 1913.  Without a gym for the first couple of years, the team was forced to practice and play outdoors, eventually utilizing Jacobs Hall until Springs Gymnasium opened its doors in the mid 1920s.  A quote from the yearbook from that era summed it up:

"In spite of training on an out-of-doors court and not getting a sufficient amount of practice because of rainy weather, the team showed excellent ability, and was a satisfaction to all of its supporters.  Although we won only half of the games played, we had a strong team, and one that deserved the hearty support and spirit shown by the student body."

In 100 years of PC basketball, the Blue Hose have seen their share of highs and lows, but have endured to produce almost 1,500 wins, 16 championships, 19 play-off appearances, 12 Players of the Year, a Coach of the Year, five All-Americans, and of course tremendous Student-Athletes to numerous to count.

As the Blue Hose basketball program looks towards the next century, take a moment to reflect on the last 100 ...

The First Decade (1913-1922)

Football

Presbyterian College football began with a winning season. Four victories. Four triumphs. A tradition that reaches its 100th season with the arrival of the 2013 campaign began as a 4-3 season to kick off one of South Carolina’s most historic football programs. Head coach Everett Boe guided the Blue Stockings to its first victory with a 25-0 win over Rock Hill High. Bill Theller’s 1914 squad then set a record that still stands today by thrashing Wofford, fitting in the season opener with the school’s largest-ever margin of victory, 104-0. Walter A. Johnson, the unofficial patriarch of PC football, arrived in Clinton in 1915 (with future coach Lonnie McMillian playing for him) and wasted little time putting his stamp on the team as PC went 8-1 in 1917. The not-yet-then Blue Hose lost their first game before rattling off eight straight wins, including victories over The Citadel, Wofford, Furman and South Carolina.

In 1921, PC joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA), one of the nation’s first collegiate athletic conferences. In-state rivalries also began to form within the “Little Four” of PC, Wofford, Erskine, and Newberry as well as with future powerhouses Clemson and South Carolina. Big plays followed shortly after PC joined the SIAA including when Jack Wilson returned a kickoff for 103 yards against Erskine in 1921 and when PC blanked North Georgia in 1922 for its second-largest margin of victory ever, 67-0. The 1922 team was arguably the program’s best yet, going 6-2-1 and outscoring its opponents 176-42 despite only averaging 151 pounds per player.

Basketball

Presbyterian College basketball grew, as most great traditions do, from modest beginnings. When the program began 1913, the first team practiced and played outside. Soon the squad moved indoors, briefly playing games in the newly-constructed Jacobs Hall before moving to the historic Leroy Springs gym in the second decade.

Everett Booe served as the program’s first coach in 1913 while also handling the school’s football team that fall. The following year, Walter Johnson began a 16-season career as the head varsity coach.

The team soon found its winning ways, recording an 8-1 record in 1917. Those early years also gave birth to historic rivalries with nearby schools like Clemson, Wofford, South Carolina, Furman, Newberry and the College of Charleston.

On February 17, 1922, the team picked up a convincing win in one of those rivalry games by defeating the College of Charleston, 32-10.

  • Football in the First Decade

    (1913-1922)

    1913 - First team founded thanks in large to William P. Jacobs

    1915 - Walter Johnson is hired as the program's third head coach and athletic director

    1915-1920 - Team goes 13-1-1 in "Little Four" action, winning five straight titles

    1917 - Team goes 8-1, winning 8 straight games and outscoring opponents 149-27 to end the season

    1918 - Gifford Shaw steps in as head coach during WWI

    1921 - PC joins the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a forerunner of the ACC and SEC

    1921 - Jack Wilson runs an Erskine kickoff back for a school record 103-yard touchdown

  • The Wofford Series

    (1914-2013)

    In addition to laying the groundwork for the Bronze Derby, the Little Four also began the rivalry between PC and Wofford. The two sides have met 80 times, the second-most in PC history, and the Blue Hose lead by three games—40-37-3—a tally PC will look to build on in Spartanburg in 2013.

    PC and Wofford first met in 1914 and their battles frequently drew big crowds and often fell on the schools’ Homecoming weekends. The two sides alternated victories throughout the 1920s and 1930s, excluding a three-year stretch from 1932 to 1934 when PC posted two wins and a tie in front of crowds that regularly exceeded 3,000 fans. The brother tandem of June and Be Moore produced a pair of scores to lift PC over the Terriers in 1938 a year before June, suffering from a twisted ankle, entered the game to help PC fight to a 12-12 draw against Wofford in 1939.

    The Blue Stockings delivered one of the most lopsided victories in the series with a 44-0 blanking over Wofford to secure the SIAA title. PC racked up 477 yards from scrimmage and set the tone for the next three meetings, over which PC posted a combined score of 106-27 over three wins (two in 1942 and one in 1946). Wofford snapped PC’s eight-game winning streak in the series with a healthy dose of luck, to read a local reporter’s account: “On that fateful November afternoon the Terrible Terriers came on the field with horseshoes hanging from every pocket.” The Terriers spoiled PC’s Homecoming in 1949, the second of five consecutive wins before PC edged the previously undefeated Terriers, 7-6, in 1953.

    The Blue Hose marched to three straight wins to close out the 1950s. The matchup became a must-see game in South Carolina—both teams entered undefeated in 1964 and PC handed Wofford its first loss of the 1965 season—as the hard-fought rivalry continued through the years. The Blue Hose knocked off Wofford on Homecoming in 1977 for their second straight win over a ranked team. PC handed Wofford a 10-0 win in 1984, and Doug Culler’s 37-yard field goal with five seconds left lifted the Blue Hose to a 30-28 win in 1985.

    The Blue Hose continued their win streak through 1989 and grabbed wins in 1992 and 1994. The rivalry took a short hiatus as Wofford entered Division I. PC will set its sights on win number 41 when the team travels to Spartanburg on October 5.

  • Basketball in the First Decade

    (1913-1922)

    1913-14 – Team founded with Everett Booe as first head coach, team goes 1-4

    1914-15 – Walter Johnson starts 16-year stint as head coach

    1915-16 – Team registers wins over instate foes Clemson and Furman

    1916-17 – Team begins indoor practices and games at the newly built Jacobs Hall

    1921-22 – Led by Williamson’s 16 points, PC defeated the College of Charleston 32-10

The Second Decade (1923-1932)

Football

The “Roaring Twenties” lived up to their name on the gridiron as PC roared past several in-state foes in the second decade of school football. The team posted two 7-3 victories over South Carolina in 1923 and 1925. The first game featured the (possibly apocryphal) story of Carey “Roy” Brown, who suffered a fatal injury during practice days before the game. When Johnson visited Brown in the hospital on gameday, Brown made one request: “Coach, bring me that football.” The undersized Blue Hose held strong, staving off scores with several goal line stands. When the game was over, the ball went home to Brown. The 1925 season also featured a 14-9 win over Clemson, thanks to a pair of blocked punts for touchdowns, and boasted the third-highest scoring offense in the SIAA. Lee Griffith also earned All-SIAA honors for the second time.

The Blue Stockings delivered a 7-2 season in 1926 by knocking off Clemson, Wake Forest, Wofford, The Citadel and Oglethorpe while playing only two home games. The close of the decade featured one of the young program’s most successful teams as PC went 9-1 in 1930 with seven straight shutouts, including road victories over NC State and Wake Forest on successive weekends, and the program’s first SIAA championship.

Basketball

In 1926, PC boasted a star widely considered one of the most sensational ball handlers in South Carolina in forward Nick Hunter. Teammates Jimmy Stamps, Wilson, and Moffatt helped lead the team.

Trouble brewed in 1926 when The Southern Association attempted to pass a rule that would bar players from competing in successive sports. The rule would’ve crippled a school like PC that relied on football players taking to the hardwood in the winter. Thankfully, however, the rule met successful opposition and PC’s small team full of dual-athletes soldiered on.

The 1927 team recorded back-to-back wins over Wofford and Clemson with Jimmy Stamps leading the charge. Two years later, the 1929 team defeated Pacific Mills, a textile team out of Columbia, the season after the squad earned the 1928 Textile League title.

PC football coaching legend Lonnie McMillian coached the junior varsity basketball team before taking over the varsity team in 1930. The next season, McMillian guided the team to a 31-25 win over the University of South Carolina and earned a spot in the first round of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament, battling the Eastern Kentucky Teachers of Richmond.

  • Football in the Second Decade

    (1923-1932)

    1923 – Team defeats a favored USC on the road, 7-3, after PC's star player Roy Brown was fatally hurt in practice the week before

    1926 – Team goes 7-2 and outscores opponents 148-29 with the third highest scoring offense in the SIAA

    1926 – Team records shutout victories over Clemson, Erskine, Wake Forest, Wofford, Newberry, and The Citadel

    1930 – Team goes 9-1 (7 straight shut-outs) to win first SIAA title

    1931 – Harry Bolick leads the state in scoring

  • Basketball in the Second Decade

    (1923-1932)

    1924-25 – Team moves to the newly built Leroy Springs Gymnasium

    1924-25 – Team falls to Louisiana College, 28-24, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1924-27 – Team goes 6-1 against Clemson, narrowly splitting the series in 1926

    1926 – Forward Nick Hunter described as “one of the most sensational ball handlers in SC”

    1925-26 – Team falls to Mississippi College, 44-19, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1926-27 – Led by Jimmy Stamps, team registers back-to-back road wins over Wofford and Clemson

    1926-27 – Team falls to Chattanooga, 47-31, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1928-29 – Defeated Pacific Mills, 44-40, one year after they won the textile league title

    1928-29 – Swept the College of Charleston 44-40 and 45-16

    1930 – Walter Johnson retires with a record of 89-83

    1930-31 – Lonnie McMillian takes over as head coach

    1930-31 – Earned a road win at the University of South Carolina, 31-25

Third Decade (1933-1942)

Football

PC football’s third decade saw the program make the leap to a certified state powerhouse. The Blue Stockings captured the “Little Four” championship on October 14, 1938 with a thrilling win over Newberry. Trailing 6-0 in the fourth quarter, PC’s Jimmy Dennard returned a punt 65 yards into the end zone to seal a 7-6 victory in front of 3,000 fans. Newberry and PC, as they often would over the next 70 years, also tangled in a memorable Homecoming contest in 1935, marking “Johnson Day” and PC’s first home night game with a 20-0 pummeling of the nearby rivals.
Two Blue Stockings captured the Jacobs Trophy for “Unselfishness and Finest Exemplification of Team Play” as Harry Bolick earned the honor (while leading the state in scoring) in 1933, while June More also took home the hardware in 1939.

Continued football success marked the end of PC’s third football decade amidst the backdrop of World War II. In 1940, Walter Johnson retired from his coaching post and enlisted in the National Guard shortly thereafter with assistant coach Jack Nixon. Johnson returned in 1946 as PC’s athletic director and served until his death in 1958. Johnson posted a 53-18-5 record against “Little Four” opponents while capturing 14 “Little Four” titles and one SIAA championship. Legendary coach Lonnie McMillian took the helm in 1941 and implemented the T-formation, bringing an innovative technique from the National Football League to Clinton. McMillian’s leadership and tactical prowess helped the Blue Hose go 6-3 in his first season en route to titles in the “Little Four”, SIAA, and newly-formed South Atlantic Conference (no relation to the later conference of the same name). The squad exited the disbanding SIAA in 1942 with a winning farewell, going 6-4.

Basketball

The third decade of PC basketball continued PC’s upward trajectory as the Blue Stockings advanced to the SIAA Tournament for three straight years. The run began with the 1936-37 team and continued as PC battled Murray in 1938 and squared off against Western Kentucky State Teachers in 1939.

The 1938-39 team also enjoyed an overtime win over Wofford on February 1, 1939, where Dick Meisky led the Blue Hose to victory.

  • Football in the Third Decade

    (1933-1942)

    1934 – Harry Bolick wins Jacobs Blocking Trophy

    1935 – PC defeats Newberry (20-0) during the state’s first collegiate night game

    1936 – Team beats Erskine, Newberry, and Wofford by a combined 61-7 to win the Little Four championship

    1938 – Team goes 6-4 and wins the Little Four championship

    1939 – June Moore wins Jacobs Blocking Trophy

    1941 – Johnson retires after 25 seasons with a record of 102-99-19

    1941 – Long-time assistant Lonnie McMillian promoted to head coach

    1941 – McMillian implements the T-formation and introduces the pro-style to the southeast

    1941 – Team goes 6-3, winning the Little Four, SAC, and SIAA championships

  • Basketball in the Third Decade

    (1933-1942)

    1935-36 – Alan Levi led team with 131 points in 18 games (7.3 ppg)

    1936-37 – Team goes 12-8, defeating instate foes Clemson, Furman, Wofford, the College of Charleston, and Newberry

    1937-38 – Team falls to Murray State, 37-24, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1938-39 – Dick Meisky leads team to an OT victory over Wofford

    1938-39 – Team falls to Western Kentucky, 51-27, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1941-42 – Team falls to Southwestern Louisiana (now known as Louisiana-Lafayette), 69-53, in the first round of the SIAA Tournament

    1941-42 – Team goes 11-3 but loses state title by one point, in overtime, to South Carolina

The Fourth Decade (1943-1952)

Football

Presbyterian College football almost didn’t reach its fourth decade. By 1943, the war had ravaged PC’s enrollment numbers and campus became home primarily to air cadets attending the school’s pre-flight training. Military restrictions dictated that the cadets could not play football, severely hampering the football program to the point where coach Lonnie McMillian wondered aloud if he could even field a team.

Enter Ben Moye. A former PC defensive tackle, the Augusta, Georgia native arrived to teach cadets and assist McMillian after a successful coaching stint at Greenwood High School. Moye promised to visit high schools within a 100-mile radius in his Model A Ford and recruit enough players to field a team. His plan worked, and PC played a 12 game schedule that year against teams like Clemson (a 13-12 win), Georgia, South Carolina, Miami and Newberry.

Following the historic 1943 season, PC garnered its first two National Football League draftees in 1944. The Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers, having lost numerous players to war service, temporarily merged and drafted Blue Stocking end Jack Adams in the 19th round and back Hank Caver (ranked as the number 1 quarterback in the nation thanks to 59 completions for 790 yards and seven touchdowns) in the 22nd round. Undrafted Larry Weldon also played 12 games for Washington in 1944-45, becoming the first PC alum in the NFL. PC’s success kept rolling in 1946 with a 7-2 season that ended with seven straight wins and “Little Four” and North State titles. That season also featured a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown against Stetson and in 1950, George Fleming returned a punt that same distance against Erskine. Blake “Kilo” Watts made headlines in 1949 for averaging 7.4 yards per rush.

The 1950 and 1951 seasons featured fullback John McKissick, who graduated and immediately took a job coaching the Summerville (S.C.) High School football team. He’s been there ever since, and in 2012 earned his 600th win, becoming the first American football coach at any level to accomplish the feat. McKissick has also won 10 state championships and three Coach of the Year awards.

And, of course, the Bronze Derby came into existence in 1947. No history of collegiate athletics in South Carolina is complete without mention of the Bronze Derby. Find out more about the legend here.

Basketball

PC’s strong foundation through the first three decades set the stage for the fourth, where the program established institutions on and off the floor that would endure for decades to come, including the legendary Bronze Derby rivalry. Though the tradition eventually aligned itself with a Thanksgiving football game, the school’s intense rivalry with nearby Newberry College grew out of a contentious basketball game in 1947. [LINK TO BRONZE DERBY HERE]

Lonnie McMillian hung up his whistle and retired from coaching after the 1946-47 season. Over the previous 34 years, PC had only known two other coaches and McMillian retired as the winningest coach in program history with 128 wins to 143 losses over 17 years.

The next five years saw five different coaches and mostly .500 records, a trend that would end quickly. During the 1949-50 season, head coach Felton Moore signed four freshmen from Indiana, setting up the next four seasons when the Blue Hose became one of the most competitive and feared teams within the Southeast. Due to conference rules, freshmen were unable to play in conference games but the team was able to close the year on a 5-0 record.

Claude Crocker took over coaching duties for the 1950-51 season and the squad earned “the fanciest club in Palmetto circles” distinction, losing six games by two points or less. Dwight Groninger earned All-State honors while Paul Nye took home All-Little 4 honors.

In 1951 the Blue Hose captured two championships—the state championship and the Little Four championship—while setting six state records. Arguably PCs greatest team, Gene Lorendo coached the squad that averaged 81.7 points per game and saw Groninger tally 41 points in a single game.

Coaching legend Norman Sloan, most notable during his days at NC State, began coaching at PC in 1951 and racked up a record of 89-41 in five seasons.

Sloan’s first team won the Little Four Tournament to start the 1951-52 campaign and went on to secure a 21-7 record. Five of their losses came in overtime or by one to two points. The Blue Hose also recorded an impressive 2,180 points, an average of 77.8 per game, and Paul Nye made a splash in the national assists rankings.

Before Sloan left in 1955, he amassed a record of 89-41 for a winning percentage of .684 to rank first in program history at the time.

  • Football in the Fourth Decade

    (1943-1952)

    1946 – Team goes 7-2, winning the last seven games of the season

    1947 – The Bronze Derby challenge begins when a black felt hat is stolen during basketball season

    1947 – Newberry hosts and wins the first Bronze Derby football game on November 27 (0-6)

    1948 – PC hosts and wins the second Bronze Derby football game on November 25 (40-7)

    1949 – Blake “Kilo” Watts sets a school record with an average of 7.4 yards per rush (856 yards on 116 att.)

    1950 – George Fleming returns a punt for a school record 101-yard touchdown against Erskine

  • The Bronze Derby

    (1947-2006)

    On the night of January 30, 1947, Presbyterian College and Newberry College played a basketball game in Newberry. That part of the story, everyone agrees on. The rest…well, that’s what legends are all about, right? Prior to the game, lingering student antagonism from both sides prompted the schools to wonder aloud if the colleges should halt the rivalry. Rumors spread that the 1947 basketball game may be the final meeting.

    Corrin Bowers, a Newberry student, claims he owned the infamous derby. Bowers wrote in a 1998 letter that a PC student snatched the black felt hat from his head while he drove his Model A Ford through the pre-game crowd. Bowers and some fellow Newberry students raised a borrowed Newberry Fire Department ladder to the window of the gym during the game—another fact most agree happened, but the legend again branches off into two different camps about what happens immediately after. Bowers says they took the hat back from a “fella” near the window, while the PC side claims the Newberry students pulled down a “Beat the H ... Out of Newberry!” banner from the visiting cheering section.

    Following a PC 51-47 win, “[the tension] climaxed out on the campus into a pandemonium after the game,” Bowers wrote. The Newberry version ends there, while the PC side says a Newberry supporter took advantage of the commotion to grab a black derby from a visiting student.

    With the derby in Newberry hands, PC English professor and athletic publicity director Charles McDonald sent a letter to Frank E. Kinard, a Newberry senior and the school’s athletic publicity director. MacDonald suggested the derby serve as a symbol of the PC-Newberry rivalry, an idea the Newberry students enthusiastically supported. The derby surfaced (with no abductor coming forward) and was sent off to W.E. Turner & Son in Newberry, who sent the hat to Columbus, Ohio for bronze casting.

    Early in the rivalry, the two sides swapped the Bronze Derby for every athletic meeting following an inaugural home PC basketball victory on February 28, 1947. After a few years, the schools agreed to award the Derby to the winner of the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Day Bronze Derby football game. The Thanksgiving tradition continued until 1992 when the Division II football playoffs began presenting scheduling conflicts and the game was moved to earlier in the season. The two sides played the final (for now) Bronze Derby game on November 11, 2006, where PC emerged victorious with a 10-0 home win to hand the 10-0 Indians their first loss of the season. The famous piece of athletic history currently sits in the lobby of the Templeton Center with PC owning a 35-22-3 record in the series.

  • Basketball in the Fourth Decade

    (1943-1952)

    1942-43 – Finished half a game out of first in the state race (8-3 overall vs. the 8-2 USC)

    1943-44 – Opened season with a 60-33 win over Clemson

    1944-45 – Led by 25 points from Morgan, PC defeats Furman 59-53

    1947 – “Bronze Derby” stolen during a 51-47 home win by PC

    1946-47 – Sophomore Vance Logan hits a shot with 2 seconds remaining to defeat Newberry

    1948 – Lonnie McMillian retires after 17 seasons and a record of 128-143

    1950-51 – Gene Lorendo leads team to a 17-9 record in his only season as head coach

    1950-51 – Team sets 6 state records, scoring 2,123 points (81.7 ppg) and won the State title, Little Four Tournament, and Little Four Regular season title

    1951 – Norman Sloan guides team to a record of 21-7, a record of 2,180 points, and the Little Four Tournament / Regular season titles

    1951 – Captain Dwight Groninger scores a state-record 41 points in a game

    1951-52 – Dwight Groninger graduates after amassing 1,543 points and becoming the first 1,000-point scorer in school history

The Fifth Decade (1953-1962)

Football

PC’s fifth decade brought a changing of the guard and no loss of momentum. Lonnie McMillian retired in 1953, eventually giving way to Frank Jones, who took over in 1957. McMillian left coaching in 1959 and will forever be a coaching legend in the South. For more on Coach McMillian, click the following link: http://www.presby.edu/library/archives/blog/october-2009/. The Blue Hose took off under its new leadership, compiling a 6-3-1 marker in 1958 and helping Jones secure Coach of the Year honors from South Carolina football writers. The 1959 campaign marked a historic season for PC as the squad capped a 9-2 year with a trip to the Tangerine Bowl. Despite a losing effort, captain and quarterback Bob Waters was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Jones also grabbed SC’s Coach of the Year Award for the second time.
The late 1950s and early 1960s produced more PC players drafted to the National Football League than any other point in program history. Two years after Detroit tabbed Ken Webb in the 14th round, Bob Waters’ success led to a seventh-round selection in the 1960 NFL Draft by San Francisco. The 49ers also drafted teammate Bobby Pate, kicking off a three-year string of PC draftees. Minnesota took fullback Bill Hill in 1961, and NFL champion Green Bay selected quarterback Bob Joiner in 1962.

PC also shortened “Blue Stockings” to “Blue Hose” in 1954, giving the school one of America’s most unique and recognizable nicknames.

Basketball

Starting arguably one of the best decades of PC basketball, the 1952-53 season saw the arrival of PC great Dave Thompson, who scored 518 points (21.7 ppg) in his first season as a freshman.

The following year, his brother Bruce Thompson, joined him at PC.

Dave Thompson would go on to score a school record 2,195 points with a school-record 878 field goals. He also holds the school record for free throws made at 588 while his brother Bruce Thompson holds the school record for rebounds (1,199).

The Blue Hose reached the NAIA Playoffs, averaging 83.9 points per game, during the 1953-54 season.

Ron Ragan scored 778 points during the 1954-55 season, averaging a school record 29.9 ppg and played a large part of the offense that scored a school-record 150 points on archrival Newberry.

Russ Murphy took over as head coach in 1955-56 and immediately guided the squad to a 21-6 record. The following year, PC went 15-10 to bring Murphy’s career winning percentage to 37-16 (.698) and edge his predecessor in the program record books.

The 1955-56 team beat Eastern Carolina to advance to the NAIA Carolinas District Tournament. The Blue Hose averaged 93.6 points per game and ranked sixth in the nation in scoring, thanks in part to the Thompson brothers averaging a combined 51 points per game.

In 1956-57, the Thompson brothers averaged 43 points per game and led a PC team that beat a highly-favored Furman squad and advanced again to the NAIA playoffs.

Courts Redford led the team in 1957-58 and strung together several impressive feats. The Blue Hose knocked off a 22-1 Belmont Abbey team, broke Mercer’s nine-game winning streak and amassed a 10-1 home record on their way to an overall record of 16-8. Guard Kenny Caswell led the team and earned Conference Player of the Year honors. Redford led the team to an 11-9 record the following year and a share of the Little Four title.

Merlin Veren followed to coach only one season but coached Bob Stratton to an average of 24.2 points per game, ranking second in South Carolina for the 1959-60 season.

The Blue Hose ended the fifth decade with Charles Musselwhite at the helm. Musselwhite ended his tenure with a record of 20-45 but boasted the career highlight of holding on to win the opening game of the 1962 Little Four Tournament against Wofford in overtime, 57-55. The Blue Hose persevered for the victory despite seeing four starters foul out.

  • Football in the Fifth Decade

    (1953-1962)

    1954 – Lonnie McMillian retires as head coach with an all-time record of 60-58-2

    1954 – Bill Crutchfield hired as program's sixth head coach

    1957 – Frank Jones hired as program's seventh head coach

    1958 – Team goes 6-3-1, with Jones named Coach of the Year

    1959 – Team goes 9-2, with Jones again named Coach of the Year

    1959 – Team plays in the Tangerine Bowl and QB Bob Waters earns MVP honors

    1959 – Bill Hill records a school record 11 interceptions

    1960 – Bob Waters drafted by San Francisco in 7th Round

    1961 – Bill Hill drafted by Vikings in 19th Round

    1962 – Bob Joiner drafted by Packers in 18th Round

    1962 – Clyde Erhardt hired as program's eighth head coach

  • Basketball in the Fifth Decade

    (1953-1962)

    1952-53 – Dave Thompson averaged 21.7 ppg as a freshman

    1953-54 – Team averaged 83.9 ppg and made the NAIA Playoffs

    1954-55 – Made the NAIA Playoffs for a second straight year

    1954-55 – Ron Ragan scores 778 points (29.9 ppg)

    1955 – Norman Sloan leaves after 4 years and a record of 89-41

    1955-56 – Coach Russ Murphy leads team to the NAIA Playoffs, a 21-6 record and 93.6 ppg (6th in nation)

    1955-56 – Dave Thompson scores a school-record 51 points in a game while Bruce Thompson pulls down a school-record 497 rebounds

    1956-57 – Coach Murphy leads team to a win over a highly favored Furman team and the NAIA Playoffs

    1957-58 – Kenny Caswell named the Conference Player of the Year

    1957-58 – Coach Courts Redford leads the team to break Mercers 9-game winning streak and an upset over a 22-1 Belmont Abbey team

    1958-59 – Team goes 4-2 in the Little Four to tie for the league title

    1961-62 – Team hangs on to defeat Wofford 57-55 in OT after having four players foul out

The Sixth Decade (1963-1972)

Football

PC’s sixth decade saw the birth of an era that lasted into the 1980s, as Cally Gault arrived in Clinton in 1963. The head coach and athletic director helped move PC into the Carolinas Conference and the team’s record improved every season, including a four game win-streak over Wofford, Elon, Furman and Troy in 1965. PC built on its momentum to eventually share the league title with a 7-4 season in 1968. PC’s success came thanks in part to Dan Eckstein, who captured All-American honors as well as the South Carolina Player and Athlete of the Year awards. The Green Bay Packers selected the halfback in the 15th round of the NFL Draft following the season.

Despite a 1969 season tempered by lower expectations (“It is inconceivable that such experience and talent can be replaced for many years on the PC gridiron,” the team’s media guide warned), the Blue Hose jelled late in the season and won five of its final six games over Guilford, Catawba, Appalachian, Western Carolina and Newberry.

Coach Gault then helped engineer an 11-game home winning streak that spanned from 1970 to 1972. The good times at Bailey Memorial Stadium followed into the 1970s with two 8-3 seasons in 1970 and 1971 that included an 11-0 unbeaten streak at home under Coach Gault. The 1970 team went 5-0 in conference play, winning its second title under Gault. PC capped the decade in style in 1972, as David Eckstein became the program’s first-ever 1,000 yard rusher and the Blue Hose tied for their third Conference Carolinas title by going 4-0-1 in conference play.

Basketball

PC basketball’s sixth decade saw the team post numerous accolades on the court as the program continued to grow. The 1963 Blue Hose took second place at the Stetson Tournament under Coach Musslewhite before Art Mussleman began his five-year run as head coach in 1964. That same year, sophomore Gordon Adam averaged more than 13 points per game and senior Andy Karlsons bid farewell to PC after scoring 1,260 career points.

Gordon Adam kept up his strong play in 1965, leading the team in assists and points (18.8 points per game) while teaming up with Danny Charles, who shot 51 percent and averaged 16.1 points per game. In 166, Ken Martin took over the scoring lead (16.0 points per game) before Richard Quillen averaged a double-double (20.8 points and 10 rebounds per game) to earn All-Conference honors in 1967.

In 1968, Harry Singletary became the first Presbyterian College player to be drafted by an NBA team when the Los Angeles Lakers selected the Blue Hose in the 11th round.
Herb Robinson took over as head coach in 1969 and quickly built PC into a contender, turning an 8-18 record in his first season into an 18-9 season in 1971, marking the team’s best win total since 1956. Steve Crowe led the Blue Hose that season in rebounds (10.5 per game) and Fred Melson paced the squad in scoring (21.0 points per game).

Marion “Dooley” Miller of Pacolet, S.C., made school history in 1972 by becoming the first African-American basketball player at Presbyterian College.

  • Football in the Sixth Decade

    (1963-1972)

    1963 – Cally Gault hired as program's ninth head coach

    1965 – Blue Hose join the Carolinas Conference

    1968 – Team goes 7-4 and ties for program's first Carolinas Conference title

    1968 – Dan Eckstein earns All-American honors and is drafted by Green Bay in the 15th Round

    1969 – Team upsets Appalachian State, 27-25, on the road

    1970 – Team goes 8-3 (5-0) to win second a Carolinas Conference title

    1971 – Team goes 8-3 with a perfect home record (6-0) and boasting a road win over a ranked Citadel team, 24-23

    1972 – Team goes 7-2-1, tying for a third Carolinas Conference title, thanks in part to standouts David Eckstein and Lynn Dreger

    1972 – David Eckstein becomes PC’s first 1,000-yard rusher, earns All-American honors, and is named SC Player of the Year

    1972 – Cally Gault earns SC Coach of the Year honors

  • Basketball in the Sixth Decade

    (1963-1972)

    1963 - Coach Musslewhite leads team to second place at the Stetson Tournament

    1964 - Art Mussleman begins a five-year stint as head coach

    1964 - Andy Karlsons graduates after scoring 1,260 career points (14.9 ppg)

    1964 - Sophomore Gordon Adam averages +13.0 ppg

    1965 - Danny Charles shoots 51% from the floor and averages 16.1 ppg

    1965 - Junior Gordan Adam leads the team in assists and in points with 18.8 ppg

    1966 - Sophomore Ken Martin leads the team in scoring at 16.0 ppg

    1967 - Richard Quillen earns All-Conference honors averaging a double-double (20.8 pts/10 rbs)

    1968 - Harry Singletary drafted by the LA Lakers (8th pick - 11th round)

    1969 - Herb Robinson takes over as head coach, goes 7-19 his first season

    1969 - Team improves to 8-18, holding opponents to only 64 ppg

    1970 - Team nearly goes .500, recording 12 wins before losing in the first round of the Carolinas Conference Tournament

    1971 - Robinson coaches the team to an 18-9 record, their best win total since 1956

    1971 - Steve Crowe leads the team in rebounds (10.5 rpg) while Fred Melson leads in points (21.0 ppg)

    1972 - Marion Miller (Pacolet, SC) becomes the first African American basketball player at PC

The Seventh Decade (1973-1982)

Football

PC football went on the move in the 1970s as the school joined the South Atlantic Conference in 1975, then-called the SAC-8. It took only three seasons before the Blue Hose put their stamp on the young league with an 8-2-1 record and a SAC-8 championship. Quarterback Jimmy Spence also took home the conference’s Player of the Year Award and the team began drawing national attention to the tune of a No. 15 NAIA national ranking.

The next season saw PC improve on its championship season with one of the most impressive campaigns in school history. The Blue Hose compiled a school-record 11 wins to repeat as league champions and earn a No. 1 NAIA national ranking heading into the postseason. Spence suffered an injury early in the first playoff game, forcing sophomore Paul Scott to come off the bench and lead PC to a 36-6 home win over Saginaw Valley State. The miracle season came to an end on the road one week later in the semifinals against Central State (Oklahoma).

In 1979, running back Clayto Burke racked up 202 yards against Catawba in a 21-0 romp to set a new school record. The senior factored in on a record 360 plays that season, rushing for 1,575 yards and racking up 16 touchdowns—both records as well.

The decade ended with an unusual guest. Guadalajara (Mexico) made the trip to Laurens County for a matchup in 1980. The Blue Hose obliged with a 48-0 victory.

Basketball

In the seventh decade, PC basketball turned pages to new chapters in its history: new coaches, new players and a new home.

Fred Melson kept up his strong play in 1973, helping PC to a 16-9 record while leading the team in scoring en route to a NAIA District 6 Player of the Year award. Larry Burch became head coach in 1974 and that same year George Hester set a school record with 115 steals while posting 443 points and 143 assists. PC also took a short, unknowing glimpse into its future in 1975 as captains Mike Silver and Marion Miller helped the Blue Hose to wins over UNC Asheville and Coastal Carolina, programs PC would face every season over 30 years later in the Big South Conference. The 1975 season also marked the team’s final campaign at Leroy Springs Gymnasium before basketball moved across campus to the Ross E. Templeton Arena.

Eight freshmen bolstered the Blue Hose in 1977 when seniors Denny Griffin (1,274 career points) and Al Sewell (1,011 points) left their mark on Presbyterian College. Two seasons later, captain Jim Watson earned All-Tournament honors at the Kiwanis Christmas Tournament and the MVP award at the New Year’s Classic. PC also scored a notable season-ending win over No. 6 Gardner-Webb that year as Doc Robertson stole the ball and scored to power PC to a 58-55 win, taking down the team’s vaunted “Four Corners” offense.

PC won the Little Four Tournament at Newberry in 1980 before coach Butch Estes left Rice University for Laurens County in 1981. With captain Clark Sinclair and co-captains Jimmy Gaffney and Donnie Perkins, Estes and the Blue Hose developed a style and atmosphere of close games, enthusiastic crowds and last-minute wins—helped by assistant coach Gregg Nibert. In 1982, team MVP Steve Smith led the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game, David Behrens averaged 4.0 assists per game and Bill Coon (7.4 rebounds) shot a school-record 61.4 percent from the floor.

  • Football in the Seventh Decade

    (1973-1982)

    1975 – PC becomes a charter member of the SAC-8 Conference

    1977 – Team goes 7-3-1 and finishes 19th in the final NAIA National Poll

    1978 – Team goes 8-2-1, winning their first SAC title

    1978 – QB Jimmy Spence named SAC Player of the Year

    1979 – Team goes 11-2, setting a school record for wins, and winning a second SAC title

    1979 – Team reaches No. 1 ranking in the NAIA National Poll headed into the playoffs

    1979 – Team defeats Saginaw Valley State, 36-6, and advances to the NAIA Semifinals

  • Basketball in the Seventh Decade

    (1973-1982)

    1973 - Team goes 16-9 with Captain Fred Melson named NAIA District 6 Player of the Year

    1973 - Fred Melson averages 21.5 points while Steve Crowe averages 13.4 rebounds

    1974 - Coach Larry Burch hired, leads team to a 16-12 record against taller opponents

    1974 - George Hester records a school record 115 steals while also scoring 443 points and recording 148 assists

    1975 - Team led by Captains Mike Silver and Marion Miller secures wins over UNC Asheville and Coastal Carolina

    1975 - Team makes it to the second round of the NAIA District 6 playoffs

    1975 - Mike Silver shoots a school record 89.7 from the free throw line

    1975 - Last season played in the Leroy Springs Gymnasium

    1976 - Denny Griffin averages 19.8 points while Alvin Sewell averages 7.3 rebounds to lead the team

    1976 - Rough 8-20 (6-16) season ends with PC hosting the NAIA District 6 Tournament at the new Ross E. Templeton Arena

    1977 - Coach Larry Burch brings in 8 freshmen while seniors Alvin Sewell and Denny Griffin led the team

    1977 - Denny Griffin and Al Sewell graduate after scoring 1,274 points and 1,011 points respectively

    1979 - Captain Jim Watson earned All-Tournament honors at the Kiwanis Christmas Tournament and MVP honors at the New Year's Classic

    1979 - Doc Robinson steals from and scores against #6 Gardner-Webb's "four corners offense" to give PC the 58-55 upset victory in the season finale

    1980 - Team won the Little Four Tournament (at Newberry) and was in the thick of the District 6 battle

    1981 - Coach Butch Estes was hired (from Rice University)

    1981 - Team led by captain Clark Sinclair as well as co-captains Jimmy Gaffney and Donnie Perkins

    1982 - The team developed a style of close games, enthusiastic crowds and last minute wins under head coach Butch Estes and assistant coach Greg Nibert

    1982 - Team led by team MVP Steve Smith (18.6 ppt), Bill Coon (7.4 rebounds) and David Behrens (4.0 assists)

    1982 - Bill Coon shot a school record 61.4% from the floor

The Eighth Decade (1983-1992)

Football

Another changing of the guard occurred in 1984 when Cally Gault hung up his whistle to focus on serving as the school’s athletic director for the next 10 years. Gault left the sideline after a 127-102-8 record, two Carolina Conference championships, two SAC-8 championships, five South Carolina Coach of the Year awards, and two Carolina Conference Coach of the Year honors.

Blue Hose alum Elliott Poss (Class of ’71) took over and immediately engineered a 12-9 upset of nationally-ranked and undefeated Elon in his first season. Poss also guided PC to the NAIA playoffs in 1987 and climbed as high as 17th in the national rankings during the season. After a perfect 6-0 record at home, Poss took his team on the road and blanked Concord (West Virginia) 41-0 during the first round of the playoffs. The Blue Hose once again bowed out during the second round, losing to Pittsburg State 42-21.

Between coaches Gault and Poss, the Blue Hose turned into one of the South’s most reliable programs. PC rattled off seven straight wins during Gault’s final season in 1984, including a 10-0 win over Wofford on local television. PC also bested Lenior Rhyne, Catawba, Elon, Mars Hill, Liberty and Gardner-Webb.

From 1985 to 1989 the Blue Hose also featured a quarterback named Harold Nichols, who set numerous freshman passing records. Nichols would return to coach the Blue Hose through their transition to Division I.

Basketball

The end eighth decade saw the installation of a Presbyterian College institution, but before that, the program was already prepared to rise. Coach Estes helped the 1983 squad off to a 13-4 start and a 21-12 record with help from Steve Smith (586 points), Bill Coon (466 points) and David Behrens (184 assists). The next season saw the team finish with a 25-6 record and a No. 13 NAIA national ranking. Bill Coon became the second NBA draftee in 1984 when the Houston Rockets chose Cook with the fourth pick of the draft’s ninth round.

In Estes’ final season in 1985, the Blue Hose earned their third consecutive 20-win season and upset Stetson along the way. Greg Blatt took over in 1986 and guided the team to a 21-10 season with Wiley Adams earned NAIA District 6 Player of the Year and NAIA Second Team All-American honors. The next season, Adams scored 613 points and became the first player in PC history to earn NAIA First Team All-American honors.

The Blue Hose played in the toughest NAIA district in America but more than merely competed, finishing the 1988 season with a 21-9 record and their third straight trip to the District 6 Final Four. The 1989 season marked the final campaign for Coach Greg Blatt, who went 22-9 in his last year to leave PC with a career record of 89-35. Rickey Edmonds helped the cause that year with a near-school record of 736 points.

The next head coach was someone familiar to PC fans and would be a face on the Blue Hose bench for the next quarter of a century. Gregg Nibert took the reins and went 17-13 in his first season, setting the stage for a new era of Presbyterian College basketball.

  • Football in the Eighth Decade

    (1983-1992)

    1984 – Team goes 7-4, achieving a 7-game winning streak, and shutting out Wofford (10-0)

    1984 – Cally Gault retires as the program's winningest coach with an all-time record of 127-101-8

    1985 – Elliott Poss hired as program's tenth head coach

    1985 – Team goes 7-3-1, including a 12-9 home win over a ranked Elon team

    1987 – Team goes 8-5, advancing to second round of NAIA playoffs

    1991 – John Perry hired as program's 11th head coach

  • Basketball in the Eighth Decade

    (1983-1992)

    1983 - Coach Butch Estes starts the season at 13-4, but end at 21-12 after losing in the second round of the District 6 playoffs

    1983 - Steve Smith scores 586 points, Bill Coon scores 466 points, and David Behrens dishes 184 assists to lead the team

    1984 - Team finishes ranked 13th in the NAIA (nation) with a record of 25-6

    1984 - Seniors Steve Smith, Bill Coon, and David Behrens are captains

    1984 - Bill Coon drafted by the Houston Rockets (4th pick - 9th round)

    1985 - Upset Stetson, earned a third consecutive 20-win season

    1986 - Coach Greg Blatt goes 21-10 his first season

    1986 - Wiley Adams is selected the NAIA District 6 Player of the Year and NAIA All-American (second team)

    1987 - Wiley Adams scores 613 points and becomes the first player in school history to earn first team NAIA All-American honors

    1988 - Team finishes with a 21-9 record, makes the District 6 "Final Four" for a third straight year (toughest NAIA district in America)

    1989 - Team finishes with a 22-9 record

    1989 - Coach Greg Blatt leaves after four seasons with a career record of 89-35 (.718)

    1989 - Rickey Edmonds scores a near school record 736 points

    1990 - Coach Gregg Nibert goes 17-13 his first season

The Ninth Decade (1993-2002)

Football

Ah, the 1990s. The decade gave rise to an explosion of offense on the gridiron that produced several notable achievements and school records. Head coach John Perry took over in 1991 and removed the names from the backs of the jerseys and added a single “P” to the helmets—a letter that stood for “Pride” as well as “Presbyterian.” Shortly after Perry’s arrival, the coach presided over an upset of No. 7 Lenoir-Rhyne in 1992 to earn a No. 21 NAIA ranking. The following year, Mason Gordon turned in an impressive 1993 season in which the Blue Hose back averaged 127.4 yards on the ground and racked up 1,401 rushing yards, including a school-record 254 yards against Mars Hill. Gordon shared the field with Steve Gorrie, who scored 122 points in 1995 and delivered 31 touchdowns with 3,846 rushing yards in his career.

In 1994, the Blue Hose thrashed Catawba in a 62-14 victory with 518 rushing yards and 33 first downs. Two years later, PC toppled the nationally-ranked Catawba Indians in a 19-15 home win.

Daryl Dickey became head coach in 1997 and his airborne offense helped quarterback Todd Cunningham set numerous school records during his career.

When it comes to setting records, Cunningham set the bar high for all future Blue Hose. As a freshman in 1998, Cunningham threw six touchdown passes against Newberry, a mark that still stands in the NCAA Division II record book. He also captured All-American honors in 1999 by throwing several of his early passes to fellow All-American and record-setter Travis Smith. Smith hauled in 183 receptions for 3,095 yards and 34 touchdowns from 1997-2000. As a senior, Cunningham threw for 3,860 yards and 36 touchdowns to earn All-American honors for a second time. DJ Humphries suited up for PC football as a junior and senior, after two successful seasons with PC basketball, and took the role of number one receiver. In 2001 he dominated on the field, grabbing 95 catches for 1,340 yards and to become an All-American. Thanks in part to receivers like Smith and Humphries, Cunningham was able to end his career with 10,937 passing yards and 111 touchdown passes.

New coach Tommy Spangler saw the decade end with a bang as Cunningham’s offensive prowess set records that still rank in the top-20 of the NCAA Division II record book.

  • Football in the Ninth Decade

    (1993-2002)

    1992-95 – All-American Steve Gorrie scores 31 TD and rushes for 3,846 yards

    1993 – Mason Gordon rushes for 1,401 yards, including 254 against Mars Hill, for a school-record 127.4 ypg

    1997 – Daryl Dickey hired as program's 12th head coach

    1997-2000 – Two-time All-American Travis Smith catches 183 receptions for 3,095 yards and 34 TD

    1998-2001 – Two-time All-American Todd Cunningham throws for 10,937 yards, 111 TD and rushes for 10 TD

    1998 – Team goes 8-3, including a perfect 6-0 at home

    1999 – Team goes 7-4, opening the season with a 41-40 win over West Georgia

    2000 – Team goes 8-2, achieving a six-game winning streak

    2001 – Tommy Spangler hired as program's 13th head coach

    2001 – All-American DJ Humphries catches 95 passes for 1,340 yards

    2001 – Team goes 7-4, beating North Greenville 61-0 in school's third highest margin of victory

    2002 – Team goes 8-3, has Ryan Bowers and Nacomma Maxwell earn All-American Honors

  • Basketball in the Ninth Decade

    (1993-2002)

    1993 - Team wins the South Atlantic Conference regular season title and earns a bid to the NAIA Tournament against Georgetown (KY)

    1993 - Coach Gregg Nibert guides his team to a school record 27 wins, earns South Carolina "Coach of the Year" honors

    1996 - Team goes 19-11 and wins their first SAC Tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA DII National Tournament

    1997 - Team goes 20-7, winning the SAC regular season title and advancing to the NCAA DII National Tournament

    1997 - Team ends the year ranked 15th in the nation

The Tenth Decade (2003-2012)

Football

Under Spangler, the team turned in one of its strongest seasons and best defenses in history with the fabled 2005 season. The Blue Hose went 10-2 en route to a SAC championship and a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Spangler left in 2007 before returning in 2013 as the defensive coordinator.

In 2006, PC and Newberry met for the final Bronze Derby Classic. Newberry entered the game as SAC champions and boasting an undefeated record of 10-0, but Spangler’s defense shined as the Blue Hose blanked the Indians, 10-0, to spoil Newberry’s perfect season and ensure the Bronze Derby stayed at PC for the indefinite future.

PC began its transition to Division I in 2007 under Bobby Bentley and knocked off North Greenville in a memorable game that season, thanks to Tim Webb throwing for 648 yards and seven touchdowns in a 66-52 victory. Webb’s performance would have been an FCS record if PC had not been in transition, but it did garner him Football Gazette’s National Player of the Week. The next season, PC played its first Big South Conference schedule and edged No. 17 Liberty at Bailey Memorial Stadium in an instant classic for its first league victory.

The last four seasons have seen PC build a foundation for success in Division I under head coach Harold Nichols. One of the team’s shining stars, Justin Bethel, set the Big South Conference record for blocked kicks (nine) and became PC’s highest-ever NFL Draft pick when the Arizona Cardinals selected him in the sixth round in 2012. The Blue Hose also renewed a long-dormant rivalry (53 years since the last meeting) by visiting Clemson in 2010 before posting a 3-3 Big South record in 2011 under Nichols to set a new-high-water mark for the new era.
T
he 2013 campaign will send the Blue Hose to Wofford for the first time in five years and visit Wake Forest to open the season. The last time PC visited Wake Forest in 2010, wide receiver Derrick Overholt finished a trick play with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Mike Ruff that ESPN featured on its top plays of the day. PC will also host the school’s first-ever FBS opponent when Charlotte visits Bailey Memorial Stadium in 2013.

  • Football in the Tenth Decade

    (2003-2012)

    2005 – Team goes 10-2, wins third SAC title, has a program best six players earn All-American honors

    2005 – Team receives first round bye, plays in DII second round playoffs

    2006 – Team goes 7-4, defeating an undefeated Newberry (10-0) at home to win the final Bronze Derby game

    2007 – Started transition to Division I and the Big South Conference

    2007 – Bobby Bentley hired as program's 14th head coach

    2007 – Defeated North Greenville (66-52) with Tim Webb throwing for 648 yards and 7 TD

    2008 – Defeated No. 17 Liberty at home (31-28)

    2009 – Harold Nichols hired as program's 15th head coach

    2010 – Bounce Pass vs Wake Forest earns spot in ESPN’s Top Ten