Former Benedict Coach, Athletic Director William Partlow Inducted Into South Carolina Athletic Hall Of Fame

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — William Partlow is one of 10 of the newest inductees into the prestigious South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. Primarily recognized as a ground-breaking high school basketball coach, Partlow also served as head basketball coach and Athletic Director at Benedict College for seven years.

“It was a great time at Benedict, because they had all those buildings going up, and they had a marvelous president back then in Ben Payton,” Partlow said during Monday’s press conference prior to the induction banquet at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

After eight successful years as head basketball coach at Booker T. Washington High School, where he won five state championships, he was recruited to come to Benedict as head men’s basketball coach and athletic director.

Booker T. Washington was playing its rival C.A. Johnson at the University of South Carolina’s large Carolina Coliseum, as a lead-up to another big rivalry basketball game between Benedict and Allen. Payton watched Partlow’s team and was impressed.

“He was making a change in coaches, so he liked the system we were running and he called me over for an interview, and we reached a deal,” Partlow said.

“I’d say I had moderate success,” Partlow said. “First of all, we didn’t have a gym for two years. They tore the old gym down and opened up the new one in 1974, I believe. But I had some good years there. I beat South Carolina State twice, and lost to them by one point the last time we played them. We were competitive.”

He also remembers having the nation’s top rebounder in Roscoe Wilson, a Benedict College Athletic Hall of Fame member, who also later coached the Tigers.

“Roscoe Wilson, A’ja’s daddy I call him now, played for me for four years. We were NAIA, and he led the nation in rebounding. I said, ‘Roscoe, why do you go to the boards so hard?’ He said, ‘Coach, you’ve got all those New York boys down here, and I wouldn’t be on the floor if I didn’t go get the ball.’ But Benedict was a good experience, and it prepared me for San Francisco, because I was Athletic Director and basketball coach there.”

Partlow left Benedict to become the first African-American athletic director at San Francisco State, where he served for 18 years before retiring.

During his successful high school coaching career, Partlow is known for coaching players who later themselves went on to be very successful coaches. The long list includes South Carolina legendary high school coach George Glymph, and Carl Williams, who won three high school championships at three different schools. At San Francisco State, he hired two young football coaches who later went on to great success in the NFL – Andy Reid, who has won three Super Bowls, and Mike Holmgren, who won one Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.

Partlow attributes much of his success as a coach and administrator to his organizational skills. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Johnson C. Smith, so structure and organization were important.

He was offered his first job at C.A. Johnson to be a math teacher. Coaching basketball was secondary. After several good years at C.A. Johnson, he was offered the job at Booker T. Washington. Against the advice of friends and co-workers, he took the job.

“The best move I ever made was to take the job at Booker T. Washington High School. I was advised not to take the job by my friends and co-workers at C.A. Johnson High School, where I was working then, because they said those kids were so tough and unruly, you won’t be able to handle them. But I said, ‘No, that background pretty much is like my background, coming from a single-parent home.’ So I went over there, where we sat down, and decided that my players would go to all their classes, you would be there on time, they would respect their teachers, and respect their fellow students and the administration. They adhered. We went on in my first year and won the first state championship in boys basketball at Booker T. Washington in the 44-year history of the school. I had 12 seniors on that team. We had George Glymph, who was a starter. We were able to send all 12 of them to college, and nine graduated. Our teams in the future did the same thing, we won state championships in five of the next eight years. And we had kids playing college basketball all across the country. I’m very, very happy I took that job.”

After a lifetime of impacting the lives of young people, the now 90-year old Partlow is honored to be a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.

“It’s been a beautiful ride, and this induction is icing on the cake.”

For more information on the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Class of 2024, visit their website.