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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.
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.
60) Charles Hodgin - Charles Hodgin has been a standout tennis player throughout his adult life, but he is perhaps best known for his teaching of the sport since he arrived in Sumter in 1957. The main court at Palmetto Tennis Center is named after him, and he was recently inducted into the South Carolina Patrons Tennis Hall of Fame.
59) Bo Betchman - Bo Betchman was a standout infi elder for both Sumter High School and the Sumter P-15’s in the 1990s, helping SHS to a state championship series and the P-15’s to several state titles. He the starred at The Citadel, where he was a 2-time All-Southern Conference selection.
58) Keith West - Keith West was a 3-year starter at quarterback for Sumter High School from 1985-87, leading the Gamecocks to the 4A Division I state championship game as a sophomore and to the state title as a senior. He was the most valuable player in the Shrine Bowl before going to Wake Forest, where hestarted his fi nal two seasons, leading the Demon Deacons to a bowl victory.
57) John Quackenbush - John Quackenbush called Sumter High School football and basketball for decades as well as Sumter P-15’s baseball while mixing in some Wilson Hall athletics as well. What he was perhaps most famous for was receiving ticker-tape reports on New York Yankee games with Bobby Richardson and recreating them on the local airwaves.
56) Chuck Hodgin - Chuck Hodgin never tasted defeat as a high school tennis player at Sumter High School, winning individual state titles from 1974-77. He was No. 1 in the state in every age group as an amateur player and owned a victory over John McEnroe before going on to play at the University of South Carolina, where he was a most valuable player and a co-captain.
55) Kenny Franklin - Kenny Franklin graduated from Sumter High School in 1995 and was a track and field standout. He won individual state titles in the long jump and the triple jump and was a member of the state champion 4x400-meter relay team. He went to Clemson where he was a 7-time All-American.
54) Wilbert Singleton - Wilbert Singleton was a standout basketball player for Sumter High School, from which he graduated in 1977. He was a 4-year varsity letter winner and averaged 18.3 points and 10.9 rebounds for his career. He was named to several All-America teams before going on to play collegiately at Wake Forest.
53) Clarke Bynum - Clarke Bynum was a McDonald’s All-American in 1980, his senior season at Wilson Hall. He is Wilson Hall’s basketball career scoring leader and had his No. 24 retired as well. After a lengthy recruiting battle between North Carolina and Clemson, Bynum chose the Tigers. He averaged 5.0 points a game for his career with Clemson.
52) Wally Richardson - Wally Richardson was a 4-year starter at quarterback for Sumter High School, leading the Gamecocks to a state football title as a junior and to the championship game as a senior. SHS won 23 straight games during that stretch. He went on to Penn State where he started his fi nal two years, leading the Nittany Lions to a pair of bowl wins. He had a brief stint in the National Football League with Baltimore and Atlanta.
51) Coley White - Coley White was a standout in track and field, football and basketball before graduating from Lincoln High School in 1959. He went on to play baseball, football and track at Voorhees Junior College before moving on to Morris College where he competed in football, basketball and track. However, what White is best known for is his time as a middle school coach at McLaurin Junior High School beginning in 1970 and followed by many years at Bates Middle School. He coached football, basketball and track, and while all of his teams were very successful, he was also successful as a role model and mentor for many of his athletes.
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