In celebration of its 125th anniversary, The Sumter Item has selected the Top 125 Sports Figures during that period in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties.
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The list will be revealed in reverse order, appearing every Wednesday and Friday until it reaches the top 10 in December. At that point, one story will be released in each edition until the top figure is revealed.
The list will include people who affected sports in our area both in competition and in other ways as well.
50) Doc Harvin - Doc Harvin was a 4-sport letterman at Edmunds High School. He was an all-state performer on the football team and received a scholarship to play at Georgia Tech. He was a second team All-American fullback with the Yellow Jackets, playing in both the Gator Bowl and the Orange Bowl.
49) Tommy Hughes - Tommy Hughes was an all-state performer in both football and basketball for Edmunds High School. He played in the 1943 Shrine Bowl and was selected as one of the team captains. After doing his time in World War II, Hughes signed with Duke, where he played both football and basketball. He was eventually drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 1949 NFL draft.
48) Dick Harvin - Dick Harvin was a doctor in Sumter who had a tremendous career as a football player at Georgia Tech in the late 1940s, where he was also recruited for baseball and track and field. He played end for the Yellow Jackets and was a second-team All-American as a junior and senior. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in football and the Philadelphia Phillies in baseball.
47) Hugh Betchman - Hugh Betchman was a standout baseball and football coach at Furman High School. He led the Indians to state titles in baseball in the 1962 and ’65 seasons and to a football title in 1959. He later coached the Sumter P-15’s for 14 years, leading them to the playoffs 10 times and to a state title in 1977.
46) Miller Moss - Miller Moss was a standout athlete in several sports at Wilson Hall, but it was upon arriving at Clemson that his track and field career took off. Moss became a standout in the decathlon and heptathlon for the Tigers, winning the 2011 NCAA heptathlon crown. He continued competing in the decathlon after college, competing in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
45) Bernie Jones - Bernie Jones is the only man to coach each of the three existing American Legion baseball programs in the area. He led the Sumter P-15’s to the 1962 state title and went 186-71 in 11 years. He was the first coach of the Dalzell program, leading it to the state playoffs that first year. He later became the head coach of the Manning program. He also played a big role in the formation of the Sumter Kids In Baseball program.
44) La'Tangela Atkinson - La’Tangela Atkinson helped lead the Lee Central High girls basketball team to consecutive state titles in 2001 and 2002. She twice earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors and was a McDonald’s All-American. She went on to play at North Carolina, where she was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year. She was a first-round pick in the WNBA draft and played four years.
43) B.J. Thames - B.J. Thames was a standout athlete for Thomas Sumter Academy. She played point guard for the basketball team, leading the Lady Generals to three consecutive state titles from 1987-89, going 67-3 in the process. She went on to play point guard at Wake Forest, starting her final two seasons. She came back to TSA to coach the girls team two times for a total of 18 years. She went 332-120 and led TSA to two state titles.
42) Will Bynum - Will Bynum was a 3-year starter in basketball at Sumter High School, being named to the 4A all-state team during his senior season of 1973. He also played on the tennis team for five years. The 6-foot-5-inch Bynum went on to play at Virginia Military Institute and was named to the 1976 NCAA Eastern Regional All-Tournament team when the Keydets came with a game of reaching the Final Four.
41) Norman Greene - Norman Greene was a 2-sport standout at Sumter High School. He was a starting defensive back in football and was chosen to play in the 1990 Shrine Bowl after helping the Gamecocks win the 1990 state title. However, he is arguably the most prolific track and field standout ever at SHS. He won consecutive state titles in both of the hurdle events and ran legs on three state champion relay teams. He was considered to be one of the top hurdlers in the country in his senior season. He chose to move on and play football at the University of South Carolina, where he became a starter. He’s a member of the Sumter Sports Hall of Fame and the Sumter High Athletic Hall of Fame.
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