Legendary South Carolina State Football Coach Buddy Pough Announces Retirement

Legendary South Carolina State Football Coach Buddy Pough Announces Retirement

Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough’s upcoming season as the head football coach at South Carolina State University will be his last. He’s retiring after his 22nd season and nearly 50 years in athletics.

Pough informed the team of his decision after morning practice on Aug. 24, according to a university statement. The team opens its season Saturday against Jackson State University (JSU) in Atlanta, .

“I wanted to let you all know before the season got underway,” Pough told his team.

“No one is running me off. It’s my decision. When you have done something for 47 years, it’s a bit tough to give it up but it’s time. I will be all right.”

BLACK ENTERPRISE recently sat down with Pough and JSU’s new head coach T.C. Taylor to discuss the business impact and the importance of viewership of the Cricket Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference/Southwestern Athletic Conference (MEAC/SWAC) Challenge, which aired Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Pough has amassed a 146–87 overall record and a 112–42 conference record at SCSU, making him the winningest head coach in the program’s history. He’s also an alumnus of SCSU and its football team, earning All-MEAC honors as an offensive lineman.

“Coach Buddy Pough is more than just a legend on our campus and the world of college sports,” SCSU President Alexander Conyers said.

“He is a living example to our students of what it means to be a loyal alumnus.”

Pough has coached several NFL players, including two who are currently among the highest-paid at their positions: linebacker Shaquille Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts and and nose tackle Javon Hargrave of the San Francisco 49ers.

Prior to taking over the Bulldogs in 2002, Pough spent five seasons as an assistant at the University Of South Carolina and was a successful high school coach, earning South Carolina High School League Coach-of-the-Year three times. He also coached at W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia, South Carolina, where he built the Raiders into one of the top-Class AAA teams in the state.

Earl B. Hunter, Jr. told with BE that he was on Keenan’s football team from 1990-1994, and said Pough was a father figure to many of the student athletes; even opening his home to those that needed it. The two formed a lasting relationship, he said.

“Coach Pough is a once-in-a-lifetime individual who changed my life. He didn’t just tell me he loved me; he showed me he loved me through making sure I finished everything that I started. He wouldn’t let me quit,” said Hunter, who runs the outdoor industry business, Black Folks Camp Too.

“When he dropped me off at military school, he said, ‘if you leave this school, don’t ever contact me ever again., because you’ll be like all the other students that have contacted me that didn’t finish.’ That’s his big word: ‘finish.’”

“Coach Pough has brought much success to the Bulldog football program and has played a major role in enhancing the S.C. State brand,” SCSU’s acting Athletics Director Keisha Campbell said.

“We wish him much success in his final season and know that he will continue to be a loyal son to the university.”

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