ORANGEBURG, S.C. (July 19, 2023) –  While the field inside South Carolina State University’s Oliver C. Dawson Stadium has long been named to honor iconic football Coach Willie Jeffries, the turf did not reflect that. Jeffries’ name sits on the skyboxes behind the home bleachers underneath the stadium’s name. As of Wednesday’s installation, it’s also embedded in the turf, leaving no doubt about where the action is happening on the gridiron.

The label will be front and center for the home crowd and the TV cameras.

The Bulldogs will begin their 2023 home football games Sept. 23 against The Citadel. Home games also are set for Oct. 7, Oct 14, Oct. 21, Nov. 4, and Nov. 11.

Willie Jeffries was the head football coach at South Carolina State University in two separate tenures for a total of 19 years. He began his SC State career in 1973, completing an impressive 50-13-4 record in six seasons.

Willie Jeffries joined Wichita State University in 1979, becoming the first African American head football coach in Division I football. His 29-year collegiate head-coaching career also included a five-year tenure at Howard University.   In 1989, Jeffries returned for his second tenure with the Bulldogs. He served as SC State athletic director in 1990 and 1991. He retired following the 2001 campaign and remained at SC State as director of athletic fundraising.

In May 2010, he was enshrined into the National Football College Hall of Fame. He also is in the SC State Athletic Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, the MEAC Hall of Fame, and the Black College Sports Hall of Fame, alongside numerous other halls of fame and awards.

A native of Union, South Carolina, Jeffries earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from SC State. Additionally, he studied at Indiana University.

Willie Jeffries, South Carolina State University

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