Albright, Griggs, and Henderson’s to be inducted into Coker Athletics Hall of Fame

Coker College will induct Tim Griggs, Staci Albright, and Debra & Eldon Henderson into the Coker College Athletics Hall of Fame in February 2018.

In a unanimous decision by the Coker Hall of Fame selection committee, Griggs, former director of athletics, soccer coach and associate professor, becomes the fifth member of the Coker faculty or staff to be inducted into the hall of fame. Albright, a standout softball and women’s basketball player, becomes the third multi-sport athlete to be inducted, and the Hendersons, long-time supporters of Coker Athletics, will become the second athletic boosters to be inducted in to the Athletics Hall of Fame.

The induction will take place during Coker’s 2018 Homecoming weekend, Feb. 9-11. The induction dinner and ceremony is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 in the DeLoach Center.

“We are extremely honored and excited to induct Tim, Staci, Debra and Eldon into our hall of fame,” said Dr. Lynn Griffin, vice president for athletics and athletic facilities. “All four of these individuals have made a significant impact on Coker, and more specifically Coker athletics, and we look forward to everyone joining us to celebrate their induction into the hall of fame.”

Tim Griggs, who helped develop Coker College athletics into a proud member of NCAA Division II and who served as an associate professor, coach and director of athletics at the college for more than 30 years, came to Coker in 1980 as the first-ever coach of the men’s soccer team.

Tim Griggs

In 1988, he took on coaching duties for the newly formed women’s soccer team as well, all the while maintaining his love for teaching as an associate professor of physical education. Then in 1994, Griggs was appointed director of athletics. He remained as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s soccer teams until relinquishing the men’s squad in 1995 and then the women’s team in 1998. Griggs has an overall record of 194-185-30 and was named conference and region coach of the year twice.

Although Griggs left coaching, he never abandoned the idea of providing students and student-athletes the best possible collegiate experience. Known for his ability to organize and administer efficiently as director of athletics, Coker’s athletics program prospered under Griggs for 15 years.

Among his accomplishments, Griggs helped transition Coker from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. He created five new athletic programs at the college — men’s and women’s cross country, competitive dance and cheerleading, and women’s golf.

During Griggs’ tenure several Coker teams earned national, regional and conference success. Two teams and two individual athletes advanced to the NCAA National Tournament, 21 teams advanced to the NCAA Regional Tournament, and 15 teams won conference championships.

One of Griggs’ more unique experiences was in 1994 when he worked with the World Cup. Griggs assisted Hank Steinbrecher, the secretary-general of the United States Soccer Federation. While working with the World Cup Griggs met many dignitaries, including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

A native of Hartsville, Griggs was instrumental in Coker’s involvement in the community, including the creation of Coker’s highly successful Taste of Coker, which became a national example of a successful community engagement event. Griggs was active in NCAA leadership serving on the NCAA Division II Management Council, NCAA Division II identity committee, NCAA Division II Nominating Committee, and was a member of the NCAA women’s softball and soccer regional advisory committees.

Griggs earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education and business administration at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1977 and obtained a master’s degree in physical education from Appalachian State University two years later. He was a graduate assistant soccer coach at Appalachian State under Steinbrecher for a year before taking the head-coaching job at Coker.

Since retiring in 2009, Griggs has remained active with his family business, which includes a cattle ranch, row-crop farming, operating a restaurant and convenience store, and managing real estate in the Hartsville area.

Staci Albright is one of the most decorated student-athletes in Coker College history, having excelled on the softball field and the basketball court. She was a two-time softball All-American, a two-time conference Female Athlete of the Year, a two-time all-conference and all-region selection in softball, an all-conference selection in women’s basketball and she was named Coker’s C.G. Timberlake Athlete of the Year in 1996.

Staci Albright

Albright finished her collegiate career as one of the best players, not only at Coker, but also in the entire country. Her career batting average of .487 ranks her No. 1 at Coker and No. 15 in all three division of NCAA softball. She also holds the Coker career slugging percentage record at .931, which is also No. 15 in all three division of NCAA softball. She still holds the NCAA record for grand slams in an inning with two, RBIs in an inning with eight, and home runs in an inning with two. Her 53 career home runs were an NCAA record in 1996 and her 222 career RBIs were second in the nation.

During her senior year, Albright led the nation in home runs with 23 round trippers. She also hit 20 home runs during her junior season and at the time was the only player in NCAA Division II history to hit 20 or more home runs in back-to-back seasons. Also during her senior campaign, she led the nation with 86 RBIs and was the top run scorer in the nation with 79. She just missed the “Triple Crown’, finishing third in the nation in batting average after hitting .510 in 1996.

Not only was did Albright have success individually, but the Cobra softball teams were extremely successful during her career. During her four-years, the Coker softball team compiled a record of 188-33, winning the conference title all four years and advancing to the NAIA Region Championship and World Series in 1995.

In addition to her success on the softball field, Albright was a standout women’s basketball player. She earned all-conference honors during the 1994-95 season and was an all-tournament team selection in 1995. She is ranked No. 6 all-time at Coker in points with 1,130 career points. She is ranked third at Coker in career rebounds with 782 and is third in career assists with 286.

According to retired head coach David Hanna, “Staci was the most complete softball player that I have ever coached. Rock solid behind the plate with a cannon for an arm, she was a pitcher’s best friend. Offensively, she was the best hitter that I saw in over twenty years of coaching at the D-II level. Able to hit for average and power, there was no one I would rather have in a clutch situation. It was an honor to have coached Staci for four years. Every coach should be so lucky.”

Albright graduated from Coker in 1997 with a degree in business administration. She currently lives in Sumter, S.C. and is a real estate agent with The Agent Owned Real Estate Company.

Debra and Eldon Henderson are avid supporters and donors to Coker College and Coker Athletics. They have been a driving force behind the growth and support for Coker Athletics from the Hartsville and surrounding communities.

Eldon Henderson

Owners of Henderson Ace Hardware and the Hartsville Skating Rink, Debra and Eldon helped establish the Taste of Coker, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Tim Griggs, which just completed its twelfth year as a leading fundraiser and community engagement event for Coker Athletics. With their help assembling cooks, selling tickets, donating tables and chairs and planning the event, the Taste of Coker has raised over $84,000 for the Coker Athletic department.

In addition to their help with Taste of Coker, the Hendersons have donated hundreds tables, chairs, inflatables, and hours of help for numerous events and activities at Coker over the years. Recently, they chaired the committee that will establish the newest fundraiser in Coker Athletics, the Cobra Club Dinner, which will take place on Friday, January 26, 2018.

Debra Henderson

Natives of Hartsville, Debra and Eldon have served on numerous civic boards, including being members of the Cobra Club Board for many years. They have worked with and assisted in many projects that have benefited numerous student-athletes both at Coker and within the Hartsville community. In 2015, the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce named Eldon the Will Woodham Business Person of the Year.

The 2018 Coker Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Harris E. & Louise H. DeLoach Center.

Author: Duane Childers

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