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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.
70) John Fulton - John Fulton was a standout defensive back and wide receiver for Manning High School before graduating in 2010. He went on to sign with Alabama and was part of two national championship teams. He also had a brief stay in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
69) Ryan Haviland - Ryan Haviland was a standout tennis player for Sumter High School and was one of the top ranked junior players in the country. He went on to play collegiately at Stanford and played professionally as well.
68) Toy McCord - Toy McCord was a standout football and baseball player for Manning High School in the 1960s. He went on to play both sports at the University of South Carolina. He was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer in baseball before being drafted in the ninth round of the 1968 MLB draft by the California Angels. He went as high as Triple-A before retiring.
67) Ricardo Colclough - Ricardo Colclough was an outstanding defensive back for Sumter High School in the late 1990s, who played two years of junior college football in Texas before transferring to Division II Tusculum. He was an All-American there and was a second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 and played on the Steelers’ 2005 Super Bowl-winning team.
66) LaVerne Knox - LaVerne Knox retired at the end of the 2018-19 high school basketball season and what a career it was. He went 521-274 in 31 seasons, most of them coaching the boys teams at Mount Pleasant and Lee Central. He brought home a pair of 2A state titles with Lee Central and was the runner-up twice as well. He was inducted into the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame this year.
65) Ronnie Burgess - Ronnie Burgess was a 2-year starter as a defensive back at Sumter High School and was an all-state performer in his senior season of 1980. He went on to play at Wake Forest and fi nished with 17 career interceptions and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer. He played one year in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.
64) Bob "Bobcat" Montgomery - Bob “Bobcat” Montgomery was born in Sumter in 1919 before moving to Philadelphia in 1934. That’s when his boxing career took off and he had 97 professional bouts. He went 75-19-3, winning the world lightweight title on two different occasions. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
63) Tom Lewis - Even though his time as the head football coach at Sumter High School ended in a bad way with the Joe Klein embezzlement scandal, there is no argument with the success Tom Lewis enjoyed. He led the Gamecocks to a pair of 4A Division I state titles and a 156-62 record in 16 seasons. SHS was the runner-up on four other occasions.
62) Greg Welch - Greg Welch was one of the best football players to ever come through Sumter County. He rushed for 3,284 yards and 34 touchdowns at Hillcrest High School, playing in the 1984 Shrine Bowl. He went on to sign with South Carolina and rushed for 113 yards on just 18 carries as a freshman before tearing up his knee in a game.
61) "Marvelous" Marvin Montgomery - “Marvelous” was always placed in front of the name of Marvin Montgomery when talking about him as a high school football player and with very good reason. Montgomery was a standout receiver for Hillcrest High School, and he could score from anywhere on the fi eld. He was a member of the 1983 Shrine Bowl team and was selected to the All-South team. He had signed a scholarship to play with Clemson, but his life came to a tragic end in a car accident before his freshman season.
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