Wilhelm to Be Inducted Into State of SC Athletic Hall of Fame

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Clemson’s legendary Baseball Coach Bill Wilhelm is one of eight members who will be inducted into the state of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. The class of 2012 also consists of former Augusta National Club Chairman Hootie Johnson, South Carolina running back Duce Staley, former South Carolina Baseball Coach June Raines, Clemson basketball standout Dale Davis, Spartanburg High School’s Stephen Davis, NASCAR executive Jim Hunter, and AAU legend Evelyn “Eckie” Jordan. Wilhelm and Hunter will be enshrined posthumously.

The eight individuals will be inducted into the state’s highest athletic honor on May 14 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Tickets (table of eight for $500) and program sponsorships can be purchased by calling the SCAHOF office at (803) 779-0905 . The affair, which includes a reception, dinner, and a raffle, will begin at 5:30 PM.

A 2011 inductee of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, Wilhelm coached at Clemson for 36 years (1958-93) and never had a losing season. His 1,161-win total was fifth-best in the nation at the time of his retirement and still is in the top 20 in Division I history. He led Clemson to 19 regular-season ACC Championships, seven ACC Tournament titles, and remains the career wins leader in the ACC with 381.

Wilhelm's teams were immediately successful, with the 28-year-old head coach taking his first two teams to the College World Series in Omaha in 1958 and 1959. His teams would return to Omaha four more times in 1976, 1977, 1980, and 1991. Among Wilhelm’s legacies was his invention of the ACC Tournament, which began in 1973 and provided the template for other conferences around the nation.

From 1973-85, Wilhelm's teams either won the ACC title or played in the championship game, a streak that speaks to the dominance of the baseball program under his leadership. Wilhelm coached 88 First-Team All-ACC selections and had 100 players sign professional contracts, with 27 players advancing to Major League careers.

Wilhelm's last team in 1993 provided a fitting farewell for the legendary coach, winning the ACC Tournament in dramatic fashion with a three-run homer late in the game. Wilhelm passed away in 2010.

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