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Hall of Fame


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.


Thomas “Evans” Cannon

“Golden Era Inductee”

  • Graduated from Florence High School in 1925
  • Attended the University of South Carolina from 1926 to 1928 and then Springfield College
  • Florence High School
    • President of his Senior Class and Student Body in 1925
    • President of Florence High School undefeated debating team
  • Career
    • Worked at the YMCA for 50 years in Florence, Columbia, Spartanburg, Sumter & Frankfort, Kentucky and was the first Physical Education Director of the Florence YMCA at the age of 19
    • Recognized by the National Amateur Softball Association (ASA) as having introduced the game of slow pitch softball to the State of South Carolina in 1926 and is known as the “Father of South Carolina Softball”
    • Elected as a Member of the South Carolina Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in 1990
    • Organized the first game of softball in South Carolina in Florence in April, 1926 between the Florence Police and Florence Newspaper
    • Developed the first South Carolina softball league in Columbia in 1933 and the first State Tournament in 1938 and the first league in Kentucky in Frankfort
    • Helped pioneer Youth Baseball and Football programs
    • Highlighted in the book “Softball in the 48 States”
    • Developed divisions of play for softball teams

Robyn Dartnell Heffernan

  • Graduated from West Florence High School in 1993
  • Graduated from Coker College in 1997 with a B. A. Degree in Elementary Education
  • Graduated from Coastal Carolina in 2018 with a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership
  • West Florence High School
    • Four year letter winner in basketball
    • Voted Best Defensive player in basketball as a Senior
    • Four year letter winner in volleyball
    • Voted All Region as a Sophomore, Junior & Senior in Volleyball
    • Voted team MVP as a Senior in Volleyball
    • Played on Boys Soccer Team and was a four year letter winner
    • Voted in top 25 Soccer players in South Carolina as a Senior by High School Sports Report
    • Voted top Senior Athlete in 1993
    • Won the 1993 Marvin Lynch Award
    • First female Soccer player in school history to receive a scholarship in Soccer
  • Coker College/University
    • Played Volleyball as a Freshman and was voted Defensive Specialist Award
    • Played Soccer three years and was awarded Team MVP as a Junior and Senior
    • Was voted Second Team All‐Conference NAIA in 1995 & 1996
    • In 2015, her 1994 Soccer Team was named to the Coker University Hall of Fame
    • In 2018, she was named to the Coker University All‐Time Women's Soccer Team
  • Coaching
    • Coached the Women's Soccer team at West Florence 2003 & 2004
    • In 2003 they won the Lower State Championship
    • In 2004 they won the Lower State Championship
  • Community
    • In 1997, she was awarded the “Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award” for Community Service & Civic Duty
    • In 2016, she was awarded the “Life Changer of the Year Award” by the National Life Group for exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership in Education

Christopher “Ron” Nowlin

  • Graduated from Wilson High School in 1991
  • Graduated from Elizabeth City State University in 1994 with a B. S. Degree in Biology
  • Wilson High School
    • Lettered in Cross Country as a Junior & Senior
    • Four year letter winner in basketball
    • Averaged 25 points per game as a Senior
    • Member of the 1000 Points Club for his basketball career
    • Played in the North/South All Star basketball game
    • McDonalds All‐American Honorable Mention
    • Voted to the Region 5‐4A All‐Region Team as a Senior
    • Wilson Invitational All-Tournament Team and Tournament MVP as a Senior
    • Averaged 22 points per game as a Junior
    • Voted to the Wilson Invitational All‐Tournament Team as a Junior
    • Averaged 20 points per games as a sophomore
    • Voted to the Wilson Invitational All-Tournament Team as a Sophomore
    • Averaged 19 points per game as a Freshman
    • Voted basketball “Freshman of the Year”
  • Elizabeth City State University
    • Three year starter in basketball playing in 82 games
    • Scored 1,060 points for his career
    • Averaged 12.2 points per game; 35.3% from 3pt; and made 191 shots with 59 career steals
  • Coaching
    • Assistant Girls basketball Coach at Williams Middle School 2017‐2019
    • Team won the Pee Dee Conference Tournament in 2019

John Thomas Taylor

  • Graduate of Wilson High School in 2007
  • Graduated from Florence Darlington Technical College in 2009
  • Graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a B. S. Degree in Sport & Entertainment Management
  • Wilson High School
    • 2006 Region 6‐AAA Baseball “Player of the Year”
    • Named to 2006 & 2007 South Carolina AAA All State Baseball Team
    • Played in 2007 North/South All Star Game
  • Florence Darlington Technical College
    • Compiled a 3‐1 record with a 2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings as a Sophomore in 2009 while striking out 27 batters and walking just 8 batters
  • Florence RedWolves
    • Pitched for RedWolves in the Summer of 2009 compiling 4 wins and among league leaders in ERA at 1.58
    • Starting pitcher for the Coastal Plains League All Star National Team in 2009
    • Pitched 62.2 innings and struck out 54 batters while walking 15 with opponents batting average of just .174
  • University of South Carolina
    • In 2011, had an 8‐1 record out of the bullpen with a 1.14 ERA in 50 appearances with 71.1 innings pitched and opponents hitting only .185
    • Earned All‐American honors from CollegeBaseballinsider.com in 2011
    • USC team won the National Championship in 2010 and 2011 and he appeared in both National Championship Series victories in 2010 vs UCLA and 2011 vs Florida
    • 0.0 ERA in 9 College World Series appearances including all 5 in 2011
    • Holds the USC single season record for appearances with 50 and tied for second all‐time in NCAA D1
    • 2011 Major League Baseball Draft selection in the 22nd round to the Seattle Mariners
  • Professional Career
    • Played two seasons in the Minor Leagues with Pulaski Mariners & Clinton Lumberkings
  • Coaching
    • Pitching coach in 2014 at Florence Darlington Technical College
    • Pitching coach in 2015 at A. C. Flora High School in Columbia

Adam Mark Wade

  • Graduated from South Florence High School in 2006
  • Graduated from Middle Tennessee State in 2010 with a B. S. Degree in Exercise Science
  • South Florence High School
    • Four year starter in football as a fullback, linebacker & long snapper
    • Gatorade “Special Teams Player of the Year” as a Sophomore
    • All Region as a Junior & Senior in football
    • MVP & Team Captain as a Senior in football
    • All Zone Team as a Senior in football
    • Shrine Bowl selection as a Senior in 2005
    • Three Year Letterman in Baseball
    • Won the “Ears Wilson Award” as a Senior
    • First place Ironman Award for 500lb squat, 350 bench
    • Holds school record for most tackles in a season at 176
    • Holds school record for most tackles in a career at 387
    • Listed as #29 in South Carolina's Top Football Recruits
    • Received a Full Scholarship to Division 1A Middle Tennessee State in football
    • Never credited with a bad snap in high school
  • Middle Tennessee State
    • 2006 Motor City Bowl
    • Never credited with a bad snap in college career
    • Awarded Most Improved Strength Training Specialist in 2007
    • Awarded Most Improved Special Teams Player in 2008
    • 2009 New Orleans Bowl Champion
  • Career
    • Played in 83 consecutive football games between high school and college
    • First 13 year old to win World Power Lifting Championship in 2002
    • Holds three State Titles in South Carolina State Power Lifting
    • State Champion in Wrestling in Kershaw County School District in 152lb Class

Michael Stephen Watts

  • Graduated from Woodruff High School in 1966
  • Graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1971 with a B. S. Degree in Physical Education
  • Graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1978 with a Masters of Education
  • Woodruff High School
    • Elected to All State football team as a Senior
    • Played in North/South All Star football game as a Senior
    • Received a football scholarship to East Tennessee State University
  • South Florence High School
    • Only Athletic Director in school history at the time of his retirement
    • Starting his teaching and coaching career at Southside High School in 1972
    • Head Football Coach at South Florence High School from 1977‐2000
    • Athletic Director at South Florence High School from 1977‐2013
    • Assistant Coach in North/South All Star football game in 1979
    • Head Coach in North/South All Star football game in 1990
    • Assistant Coach in Shrine Bowl in 1993
    • Assistant Coach in Shrine Bowl in 1994
    • South Carolina “Athletic Administrator of the Year” in 2007
    • Football “Coach of the Year” in Region V and Region VI
    • Voted Region “Athletic Director of the Year” eight times
    • Athletic Department selected “Best Sportsmanship”award four times
    • Inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2015
    • The SFHS Athletic Complex was named “The Mike Watts Athletic Complex”
    • Employed by Florence One Schools for 41 years
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