The ballots are in for second class of the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame.
Eleven athletes with roots in Clarendon County have been selected.
They are Cathy Coker Batten, Brian Beatson, J.C. Britton, Homer Coker, Ned Darley III, Doll Eadon, the late Althea Gibson, Mike Mahoney, Bobby Matthews, Gunter Sweat and Joey Taylor.
Cathy Coker Batten
Batten, a 1984 graduate of Salem Academy and a 1988 graduate of Baptist College (now Charleston Southern), is a former basketball standout at both the high school and collegiate level. As a junior at Salem, Coker joined the Wade Trophy Medals Club with 1,000 points. As a senior, Coker scored more than 500 points and led Salem to a state championship. At Baptist College, Coker was captain from 1985-1988 and she was named Most Valuable Player in 1985, 1987 and 1988. In 1998, Coker was inducted into the Charleston Southern University Hall of Fame.
Brian Kenneth Beatson
Beatson, a 1986 graduate of Laurence Manning Academy and a 1990 graduate of the University of South Carolina, is a former standout at LMA in baseball, basketball and football. He was also a standout pitcher/player for the Manning-Santee American Legion Post 68 Team from 1983-1986. He had a very successful college baseball career at USC from 1987-1990, setting several pitching records including game appearances with 79 and saves with 28. In 1991, Beatson was chosen as one of USC’s 100 All-Time Best Athletes and in 2000, he was selected for USC’s All-Time Baseball Team.
J. C. Britton
Britton, a 1952 graduate of Manning High School, was a standout in three sports: baseball, football and basketball. From 1947-1952, Britton played baseball for MHS. From 1949-1952, Britton played football and basketball for his alma mater. He also played on the Manning and Sumter American Legion baseball teams in 1950 and 1951, respectively. In 1952, Britton played basketball for Furman University. He also played semi-pro baseball for the Manning Blues from 1955-1957. Britton was also a successful coach for Little League teams as well as high school baseball and basketball.
Coker, a 1940 graduate of Turbeville High School and a 1947 graduate of Clemson, started and lettered in three sports while at THS. While starting at centerfield for the Clemson Tigers, Coker had the team’s highest hitting average of .462 in 1942 and 1943 and a hitting average of .342 in 1947. He also lettered in basketball while at Clemson in 1942 and 1943.
Ned Darley III
Darley, a 1989 graduate of Manning High School, had a stellar high school and junior college career in baseball, football and basketball. At MHS, Darley was the 1989 Defensive Player of the Year. In 1990, Darley was chosen as Region 10 Pitcher of the Year while attending Spartanburg Methodist. From 1990-2008, Darley played baseball professionally starting with the Toronto Blue Jays where he was named Pitcher of the Month in July, 1992. He also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.
Eadon, a 1972 graduate of Christian Academy and Clemson University, was a standout in basketball at both alma maters. At CA, Eadon was on the All-State Team for four years. From 1970-1972, Eadon was selected as the Most Valuable Player. She scored 426 points her senior year. In 1974 and 1975, Eadon’s Anderson Junior College team won the National Junior College Championship. Eadon was the first woman athlete signed to an athletic scholarship at Clemson University. Eadon also had a stellar coaching career garnering Coach of the Year awards in 1986 an 1987.
Gibson, a native of the Silver community of Clarendon County, was a world champion tennis player who was at times referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of tennis.” Gibson was the first black woman to compete on the world tennis tour and the first black woman to win a Grand Slam title. In 1956, Gibson won the French Championship. The next two years she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Championship.
Mahoney, a 1972 graduate of Manning High School and a 1981 graduate of Clemson University, was a standout in baseball at both alma maters. He was named Most Valuable Player his junior and senior years at MHS. In 1980 and 1981, his Clemson teams won the ACC tournament. In 1981, he was named to the All ACC team. Mahoney played American Legion baseball for five years and was selected as Most Valuable Player in 1971 and 1972.
Bobby L. Matthews Sr.
Matthews, a 1950 graduate of Manning High School and a 1954 graduate of Presbyterian College, played three sports: baseball, basketball and football. He lettered in all three sports from his freshman to senior year at MHS. He was named Block P his freshman and sophomore years at PC. Matthews had an outstanding coaching career at Winyah, Kingstree and Sumter high schools.
Sweat, a 1960 graduate of Manning Training School, has had a stellar basketball coaching career with conference champions at Scott’s Branch Elementary School, Manning Middle School and Manning High School. He was also named 3A Region Coach of the Year in 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988 and 1989. He was named 1A Region Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003.
Taylor, a 1959 Manning High School graduate and a 1970 graduate of Stephen F. Austin University, was a first team starter in baseball for five years and football for four years at MHS. He played two years of American Legion baseball and was offered a $1,000 bonus to sign with the N.Y. Yankees after legion baseball was over, but he chose a partial baseball scholarship to Clemson University. Taylor ended his baseball career in Summerton’s Semi-Pro Eastern Carolina League where they won the championship in his last year with the league. Taylor holds the Clemson record for most extra base hits in a 9-inning game – five, including two home runs and three doubles.
The banquet honoring the second class of the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame will be held on March 10, in the gymnasium at Manning Junior High School.
Over the following weeks, the Clarendon Citizenwill have in-depth stories on the inductees, including interviews with the people who nominated them for induction as well as athletes who played with them and the athletes they coached.