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Wide Receiver - University of South Carolina


Sidney Rice, a Gaffney native, was a first-team All-SEC wide receiver at the University of South Carolina (2005-06). Rice, who earned freshman All-America honors, caught 142 passes and hauled in 23 touchdown passes for his career, which includes a school-record five touchdowns against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 23, 2006. He totaled 2,233 career receiving yards, an average of 15.7 yards per reception.


Rice was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2nd round (44th overall pick) in the 2007 NFL draft. He spent his pro career with the Minnesota Vikings (2007-10) and the Seattle Seahawks (2011-13) and was a member of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII championship team. Rice earned Pro Bowl honors in 2009. Against the Dallas Cowboys in January of 2020, he tied the record for most touchdown receptions (3) in a playoff game. For his NFL career, he caught 243 passes for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns.


A 2004 graduate of Gaffney High, he earned All-State honors in both football and basketball. He helped lead the Indians to back-to-back state championships on the hardwood and added another state title on the gridiron. He ended his prep football career with 167 receptions for 3,044 yards and 31 touchdowns. He earned the 2002-2003 Class 4A Basketball Player of the Year Award after guiding Gaffney to the state championship. That season, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game, as the Indians finished with an undefeated 28-0 record.



Head Coach - Wofford


Mike Ayers served as head coach at Wofford from 1988 to 2017 and finished his 33-year coaching career with a record of 218-160-2. During his 30-year tenure at Wofford, he led the Terriers to a 207-139-1 record. Ayers guided the Terriers from the NAIA and NCAA Division II ranks to Division I and the Southern Conference. 


Along the way, his teams made two appearances in the Division II Playoffs (1990 and ’91), eight appearances in the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs (03, ’07, ’08, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’16 and ’17), and claimed Southern Conference titles in 2003, ‘07, ‘10, ‘12 and ‘17. Ayers was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times. In 2003, he was named the recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award as the top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) coach after leading the Terriers to the national semifinals.


He led Wofford to the quarterfinals five times. Among the many other honors Ayers received for his Hall of Fame coaching career was the recognition by Wofford when the field at Gibbs Stadium was named in his honor. 



Trainer - Clemson University

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Fred Hoover, who was hired by legendary coach Frank Howard, served as trainer of the Clemson University football team for 40 years (1959-98) and began working the sidelines seven years prior to the existence of Howard’s Rock.


Hoover worked 446 consecutive football games and he was estimated to have supervised 4,500 Clemson football practices. He worked with seven head coaches, 11 ACC championship teams, 16 bowl teams, 38 All-Americans, 16 NFL All-Pro players and first round picks and 110 future NFL players. He ran down the hill 207 times, falling just once.


Hoover has held just about every administrative post with the National Athletic Trainers Association, including Chairman of the Board. In 1981, he was enshrined in the Citizens Savings-Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame for his work in his chosen field. In 1982, Hoover was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.


In 1983, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Sports Medicine Award as presented by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. In 1987, this organization awarded him the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame Distinguished Service to Sports Award.


He was made an honorary member of the Clemson Alumni Physicians Society in 1990. In 1994, the South Carolina Trainers Association created the Fred Hoover Award for excellence in athletic training.

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AD/Head Coach - UNC Charlote

Blacksburg native Judy Wilkins Rose played basketball at Winthrop College (now University) before eventually moving into coaching and athletics administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (now Charlotte). She helped Winthrop to one AIAW national tournament, three AIAW regional tournament appearance and the South Carolina AIAW championship.


Following college, she entered the coaching profession and served as an assistant at the University of Tennessee while earning her master’s degree. She was named head basketball coach at UNCC in 1975 and led the 49ers to three 20+ wins campaigns over her seven seasons at the helm.


During her tenure with the 49ers, she served as Director of Athletics for 28 years and was a member of the athletics department for a total of 43 years. At the time of her appointment in 1990, she was just the third female

to be put in charge of a Division I program. In 1999-00, she became the first female to serve on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. She also completed a term as 2003-04 President of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA). She was the 2001 recipient of the prestigious James J. Corbett Memorial Award and has been inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame. 


Chief among her accomplishments with the university is the systematic growth of the overall program. That growth culminated with the unveiling of the football program in 2013, a start-up program that would play two years as an FCS Independent before moving to the FBS Conference USA in 2015. In 2012, the football fieldhouse was named in her honor.

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