After public discussion of the need and with some high schools around the state beginning to celebrate their athletic heritage, City of Florence Parks & Recreation Athletic Director, Rocky Rietkovich organized a study committee to discuss the possibilities of a local Athletic Hall of Fame. The study committee consisted of Rocky Rietkovich, William “Scooby” Long, Gerald Holley, and Wayne Catoe. After determining that a local Hall of Fame was important to our High Schools, they issued invitations to local sports leaders, past and present and the first committee consisted of Ronnie Anderson, Wayne Catoe, Miriam Downs, Gerald Holley, Larry Jackson, Jerry Lee, William “Scooby” Long, Rocky Rietkovich, Willie Sellers, George Slice, Lloyd Smith, and Debbie Wall. Committee representatives were chosen from McClenaghan HS, South Florence HS, West Florence HS, Southside HS, Early and Modern Wilson HS, City of Florence Recreation Department, and Florence School District #1 in an effort to cover areas of the City as well as eras of athletes, coaches, schools and administrators. It was apparent from the excitement of the very first meeting on March 29, 2004, that the Florence Athletic Hall of Fame would become a reality.
Rocky Rietkovich attended the FSD1 Board and Florence County Council meetings to get their endorsement and Debbie Wall attended the City of Florence Council meeting to get their endorsement for this endeavor. It was a unanimous vote by all three groups to proceed.
The initial discussion centered around how the Board of Directors would be chosen and function; how eligible candidates should be selected and recognized; where the Hall should be housed and how it would look. With the early meetings, Coach Willie Jeffries was asked to help by meeting with the group and explaining how the state of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame is set up and research was also done into the State Universities, USC, and Clemson Hall of Fame guidelines. Meetings were also held with the Florence Museum, Florence County Library, and Florence Civic Center to visit the idea of partnership in display/housing opportunities. The new Board also elected officers decided on terms, and conducted straw polls on possible HOF inductees for membership and selection techniques. Then incorporation, fundraising, and induction ceremony issues were tackled all in an effort to make the dream of a vital, reputable, and longstanding Hall of Fame a reality.
In May 2004, a constitution and by-laws were adopted. Initial officers were elected in July and terms were drawn in August as the organization began to take shape.
Sponsorship guidelines were developed in May of 2005, an attorney secured in June and in August the Board entered into a contract with the Florence Center to house and display the first Florence Athletic Hall of Fame where it remains to this date.
Long and detailed discussion ensued on the categories that would be considered for the Hall membership and it was agreed that athletes, coaches, and supporters of Florence athletics should be considered. It was further decided that Hall membership should be open to all schools, public and private; that all sports be considered not just those offered thru the schools; that although not legislated by category vote, the Board had the responsibility to make a conscious effort to select men and women from all eras, sports, schools, and areas equitable as possible based on nominations received and candidate qualifications; that Florence members of the South Carolina Hall of Fame be encouraged for inclusion in their local Hall of Fame and that the importance of being a role model be a major consideration in membership selection.