@ErskineNews @mlpeeler July 13

My daily post theme for 2017 is on Colleges and Universities.

The plan for starting my blog back in 2014 was at the urging of fellow coaching colleagues to share posts on leadership and/or motivation. Somehow that idea got derailed and turned into daily posts on one theme for an entire year.

In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and for 2017 I will focus on “Colleges and Universities”.

I have been associated with colleges since I was 18 and I love them. I have coached/worked at four different universities and in my professional and personal travels visited 100’s more. Each college has something in its history that I want to share that to me make it unique or personal.

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Name of University: Erskine College

Location: Due West SC

I have been blessed during my professional career as a coach, faculty member, athletic director, and university administrator to be on the same team with many outstanding leaders. One of those leaders has made a tremendous difference at Erskine College. His name is Mark Peeler and he serves as Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Director of Athletics at Erskine. Mark was one of my assistant basketball coaches when I coached at Winthrop University. I wrote about Mark and his wife Maggie in a 2015 post.



Erskine College was founded by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church in 1839. Prior to this time the church had established an academy for men in 1835 and a seminary in 1837. This academy became Erskine College, the first four-year denominational college in South Carolina and is located in Due West, SC.


As with many colleges in the 19th century they were single gender. Erskine played a role in women’s education in the state of South Carolina. The Due West Female College (later Due West Woman’s College) was founded independently by ARP ministers and laymen in 1859, and came officially under the control of the ARP Church in 1904. Erskine College first began admitting transfer students from the women’s college in 1894 and became officially coeducational in 1899.

Erskine has a unique nickname and quite frankly I never knew the reason until I researched why they were called “The Flying Fleet”.


The early Erskine teams in baseball, football, and tennis needed a team name and chose the name “Seceders.”  In 1929, Erskine football coach Jake Todd would employ a wide-open passing attack as head coach that led the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in scoring. During that 1929 season, in a game at Furman, Todd’s passing attack so impressed Greenville News sportswriter Carter “Scoop” Latimer that he labeled Erskine teams “The Flying Fleet.” The name struck a cord with the Erskine student body, and that fall they voted to have the nickname replace “Seceders” as the team name.

For the record Erskine does not sponsor the sport of football.




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