Two Former Latta Coaches Among 2015 Class of SC Football Coach Hall of Fame

The South Carolina Football Coaches Association has announced the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees for the second Hall of Fame Class, with two former Latta coaches earning Hall of Fame honors.

The 2015 Class includes Leon Maxwell and Cecil Woolbright, who both coached at Latta.

Maxwell coached at Latta from 1952 to 1960. Born in Athens, Georgia, he grew up in North Charleston and attended Newberry College on an athletic scholarship, playing basketball and baseball. The 1952 team went undefeated, and Maxwell played in the Pittsburgh Pirates Farm System before beginning his coaching career at Latta.

Maxwell departed Latta to coach at St. Stephen in 1960, where he coaches for 10 years. In 1970, Maxwell took the reigns at Bamberg-Ehrhardt, where he finished out his career. Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s Leon Maxwell Stadium is named after him.

Maxwell would go on to win two state, eight lower state, nine state quarter finals, and 27 conference or region football championships. His career spanned 40 years from 1952 to 1992, and he earned a record of 297-121-4 with a 70 percent lifetime winning percentage.

In addition to football, Maxwell won state titles in baseball and golf, and also coached track and basketball teams to state runner-up finishes.

Maxwell was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995. He was third place for National Coach of the Year and earned Southeastern National Coach of the Year and South Carolina Coach of the Year honors and numerous region coach of the year awards. He was selected to coach as an assistant and head coach at the Pee Dee Tobacco Bowl, the SCHSL North-South All-Star Game, and the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

Maxwell was also a lifetime member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher at Baptist churches in Latta, St. Stephen, and Bamberg. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 81.

Woolbright was a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he was Captain of the football team. He served as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Winyah, Cardinal-Newman, and Chapin, and started Latta’s football program. His career spanned 31 years from 1950 to 1981. Woolbright won 182 games, including 2 state championships.

Woolbright joined Chapin in 1968, turning it from a struggling program into a powerhouse that went 10-1 in his first season. After four years, he had earned a 40-4 football record, and also helped build the basketball and baseball programs. The Eagles won basketball championships in 1969 and 1970 and a baseball championship in 1970 while Woolbright was serving as athletic director.

Woolbright led the Eagles to back-to-back state football championships in 1973 and 1974, and had a win streak of 30-0 before falling in the 1975 state playoffs. The Chapin stadium, Cecil Woolbright Field, was named in his honor.

He served as an assistant coach in the 1976 Shrine Bowl game and in the 1971 North-South All Star game. He was inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July 2001.

Woolbright retired in 1981 but served as an assistant coach in his later years. He passed away in 2002.

Woolbright left behind a family legacy of coaching. Two of Woolbright’s three sons went on to become coaches, and his eldest grandson, Perry Woolbright, is currently in his second year as coach at Batesburg-Leesville after coaching at North Myrtle Beach.

The other coaches being inducted to the Hall of Fame include:

• Doug Bennett, 37 years (1953 – 1990). Bennett coached for Sharon and Swansea, winning 265 games and three state championships with three state runner-ups. He earned Region 3 (Southeastern US) Coach of the Year honors in 1987 and 1991, and Swansea named the Doug Bennett Stadium in his honor.

• Shell Dula, 32 years (1977 – 2008). Dula won 253 games and six state championships at three different schools. He coached Ninety Six, Union, and Greenwood, and was a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto in 2009.

• Bettis Herlong, 30 years (1950 – 1980). Herlong started his career in Saluda but coached in Aiken; Orlando, Florida; Johnston; Strom Thurmond; and Brookland-Cayce; and find finished his career at Saluda. He won 197 games and won a state football title while coaching at Brookland-Cayce. He also coached Saluda to upper state championships in 1955 and 1956. Herlong served as the Executive Secretary of the SCACA from 1970 to 1993 and Saluda High Stadium was renamed the Bettis G. Herlong, Jr. Stadium in 1997.

• Johnny Roscoe, 37 years (1975 – Present). Roscoe started his career at Forbush, North Carolina, and has coached at Bonds-Wilson, Hartsville, Lancaster, and Northern Guilford, NC. He has 293 wins to date with one state title in South Carolina and four in North Carolina. The North Guilford stadium was named after him in 2013.

• Billy Seigler, 22 years (150 – 1972). Seigler coached at L.B.C., Camden Military, Hartsville, and Hanahan, earning 192 wins before his untimely death at the age of 47. He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 2013, Hartsville named their football field Coach Billy Seigler Field and Hanahan High School dedicated the Billy Seigler Victory Bell at Wiley Knight Stadium.

• Bill Tate, 39 years (1973 – 2008; 2012 – Present). Tate has served as head coach at Timmonsville throughout his career and was the first black head coach in the Shrine Bowl in 2004. To date, he has 317 wins, two state titles, and coached nine state runner ups. In 1999, Timmonsville named their stadium The William “Bill” Tate Stadium.

• Jimmy “Moose” Wallace, 28 years (1981 – 2011). Wallace coached for Lewisville and Northwestern, earning 286 wins and four state titles and finishing as state runner up five times. He coached 39 years in South Carolina high schools, and was a Master Trainer for USA Football.

• Virgil Wells, 38 years (1954 – 1987; 1988 – 1992). Wells coached for Mayo and Wilson for 262 games and nine conference championships in a row. He had 18 years in a row without a losing season in football, basketball, and baseball, and Darlington proclaimed the week of October 12 as “Virgil Wells Week.”

Combined, the 10 coaches earning Hall of Fame honors have 344 years as a head football coach with 2,544 wins and 25 state championships.

The inductees will be honored with a banquet on Friday, December 11, at 7:00 p..m at The Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach. For more information about the banquet, call 803-276-6360.

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