Richard Maxie Knowlton has earned his spot in the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame following a stellar career of playing and coaching.
“It’s an honor and it makes you feel very appreciative,” Knowlton said. “It’s an honor for somebody to say thank you or to say you did a good job or you contributed and I appreciate that. I’m just humbled and honored to be even mentioned with these people.”
Graduating from East Clarendon High School in 1959, Knowlton was a superb three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
Knowlton was part of the state championship team in 1958 and 1959.
In ’59, he was part of teams that won conference championships in three sports.
In football, he was a tight end on offense and a linebacker/cornerback on defense.
“I could catch the ball, but I wasn’t blazing fast,” he said. “I enjoyed playing defense. I played a lot of ball. I don’t believe anybody enjoyed playing it more than I did.”
EC was the lower state football champion in 1959 with a 13-1 record. They were defeated in the state championship game by South Side by a mere two points.
“We had a good overall year,” Knowlton said. “We beat some really good ball clubs.”
His success on the football field led to Knowlton being selected to play in two different special games.
He took part in the North vs. South game as well as the Tobacco Bowl.
The Tobacco Bowl was a game played in Florence and involved different schools in the Tobacco Belt … from Conway to Dillon up to the North Carolina border.
“The North-South was a South Carolina thing; it was sponsored by the high school league,” said Knowlton.
“We had some good athletes there,” Knowlton said of the Tobacco Bowl. “We went up and stayed two weeks and practiced and played. It was a very popular thing at that time.”
Following his graduation from high school, Knowlton attended Newberry College continuing his athletic career.
He dropped basketball but continued to play football and baseball for four years.
“I punted and played some other positions in football and I was able to letter; I played other positions along the way,” Knowlton said.
Despite his success and passion for football, Knowlton said his best sport was on the diamond.
“I was a better baseball player,” he said. “I don’t ever remember missing an inning in baseball the four years I played. Baseball was my best sport, but I loved both of them.”
Graduating from Newberry College, Knowlton returned to Turbeville and became a coach.
He began coaching football, basketball, baseball and track in 1963. He was also the athletic director for several years while coaching.
He coached with Shad Hall for roughly eight years and then became principal of the elementary school. He also coached baseball and won three lower state championships.
Knowlton coached the Wolverines for a total of 20 years.