In the more than 50 years of Strom Thurmond High School athletics, its teams have won 7 State Championships, 6 State Runners-up, and dozens of region championships; its athletes have won numerous individual state championships, All-State awards and All-Region awards. Strom Thurmond coaches have won many Region Coach of the Year honors, State Coach of the Year honors, and even a National Coach of the Year honor. The athletes and coaches of Johnston High, Edgefield High, and W.E. Parker add to this impressive resume. In an effort to recognize these men and women who have made Edgefield County school athletics the envy of the state, the Strom Thurmond High School athletic department is proud to announce the inaugural class of its Athletic Hall of Fame:
Harriet ‘Boots’ Bandy – Girls Basketball Coach – (1961-1976)
Coach ‘Boots’ Bandy had a record of 277-79-3 as the head coach of the Lady Rebels Basketball team, winning state championships in 1966 and 1968. Coach Bandy was named National High School Coach of the Year in 1976. Former players Linda Rikard and Cathy Walsh Godfrey said that Bandy, “not only developed skilled players, but also encouraged all less talented players to grow and contribute to the team’s success… we learned to play hard, fair, and to support our teammates.” After her retirement, Coach Bandy was a charter member of the South Carolina Coaches Association for Women’s Sports, was inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2004 was in the inaugural class of the Winthrop University Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Bandy passed away in 2011.
Hubert Morris – Football Coach – (1966-1972)
Coach Hubert Morris had a 54-13-2 record as the Rebels head coach from 1966-1972, winning the schools first football State Championship in 1968. Prior to his coaching career, Morris was a scholarship athlete at Newberry College, playing football and basketball. During his coaching tenure at Strom Thurmond, Morris coached many outstanding athletes, including fellow 2018 inductee Ben Anderson. Former player Richard Dillard said of Coach Morris and his motivational acumen, “When we left the locker room, we were ready to eat nails!” After leaving Strom Thurmond, Coach Morris went on to continued success, with stops at North Augusta, Augusta Christian, and Wardlaw. Upon his retirement, Coach Morris had amassed 264 wins, 5 undefeated seasons, and 23 winning seasons overall. Coach Morris and his wife Bonnie still live in the area. They have two children, Brent and Brantley, and four grandchildren.
Jack ‘Jacky’ Jackson – Football – (1960-1963)
Jacky Jackson was the clear team leader in the formative years of the Strom Thurmond football program. In addition to football, Jackson also played basketball and ran track. It was on the football field where Jackson truly shined. He was a two-way starter as a running back and a defensive back. His senior year, he named the Class A Player of the Year and was selected to play in both the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and the North-South All Star Football game. Jacky was heavily recruited by many college football powers, ultimately choosing to play collegiately at Clemson University. While with the Tigers, Jackson set Clemson single-season records for kickoff return and punt return yardage and helped them win 3 consecutive ACC Championships. Jackson’s position coach at Clemson, Art Baker, said “During my 26 years of coaching at various schools, I was fortunate enough to coach several running backs who later played in the NFL. Jacky Jackson was as good as any of them.” Jackson was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1968. When his playing days were over, Jackson eventually became the president of Upjohn Pharmaceuticals North American operations. Jackson and his wife Billy Ray currently reside in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Ben Anderson – Football – (1965-1969)
Ben Anderson was a three sport letterman, playing football, basketball, and track during his time at Strom Thurmond. Anderson was a member of the 1968 State Championship football team and was named the AA Back of the Year in South Carolina his Senior season. At Clemson, Anderson walked on the football team and earned a starting position as free safety, starting all four years. As a Tiger, Anderson earned Academic All American honors, the Frank Howard Award, and the Jim Weaver Post Graduate Scholarship. He is also a member of the Clemson University Hall of Fame. Former Rebels Coach Hubert Morris said of Anderson, “I may never coach another football player like Ben Anderson again. Ben always gave his all and played with all his heart.” Former Clemson Head Coach Hootie Ingram called Anderson “a fierce competitor” who had “the ability to perform under pressure.” Amongst the Clemson faithful Anderson may be best known as the originator of the Tigers running down the Hill at Death Valley Stadium. Anderson passed away in 2015.
Ira Hillary – Football – (1978-1981)
When people think of Strom Thurmond football, the name Hillary immediately comes to mind, and Ira Hillary is originator of that. Hillary lettered in football, basketball and track while at Strom Thurmond, racking up numerous honors. On the track, Hillary was an All Region performer in both the 100 meter dash and the 4×100 meter Relay Team. It was on the football field, however, that Hillary made a name for himself. Former Coach Keith McAlister heard Hillary was not going to come out for football his sophomore year, so he told Ira,”By God son, you will be on my football team. I expect you to be at practice when it starts.” Hillary showed up and the rest is history! His sophomore, junior, and senior years he was named to the All Region team. As a junior, he was the only underclassman to be named first team All-State, and as a senior, he was named AAA Back of the Year and played in the 1980 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Hillary played in college at the University of South Carolina, starting as a Freshman at wide receiver. Hillary led the Gamecocks in receptions in both 1983 and during the ‘Black Magic’ year of 1984. He was drafted into the NFL by the Kansas City Chiefs, but played most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. While with the Bengals, Hillary played in Super Bowl XXIII. Hillary lives in Cincinnati with his wife Cassandra. They have two sons, Brandon and Darius.
Walter Scott – Football – (1988-1991)
Walter Scott played offensive line for the Rebels in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Playing for Coach Mike Allen and Coach Donnie Woolsey, Scott wanted to play both ways, but as Coach Woolsey said, “we were totally committed to two platoon football.” Scott ended playing well enough on the offensive line to be an Honorable Mention All State selection and to be named to play in the 1989 North-South All Star Game. The North-South coaches decided to play Scott on the defensive line and he immediately drew the attention of college scouts. “I don’t believe that I have ever recommended anyone without reservation with more confidence’, said Coach Woolsey. Scott played for the East Carolina Pirates. In 1995 Scott was awarded The ECU Janet Overton Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Senior. Scott signed as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 1996 and was a member of the 1997 Super Bowl Champion team in Green Bay. Scott was also a member of the World Bowl Champion Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. Scott and his wife Sabrina live in Atlanta and have two children, Walter II and Chloe.
The 2018 class of the Strom Thurmond Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted at halftime of the Strom Thurmond game against North Augusta, on September 21. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30.