Bill Utsey gave students a chance and taught them skills that have carried into their adult years.
Those were some of the sentiments shared by Randy Cooper as he introduced Utsey during the ninth annual North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday night at Grace United Methodist Church’s Wesley Center.
“If you wanted to play on his team, he would give you a uniform … he gave every kid a chance,” said Cooper.
Utsey was the football coach at North Augusta High School from 1987 to 1994.
In 1989, he led the football team to a Class AAAA division II state championship despite having a losing 4-7 record for the regular season.
Utsey taught players many things, including “that character and integrity was more important than winning a football game,” said Cooper.
Speaking to Utsey, Cooper said, “You taught them to never give up and to play their best.”
Utsey, as well as the 1989 football team, was inducted into the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame along with Johnny Harrison and Vicki Mann, who were classmates.
Harrison played football, basketball and baseball at North Augusta High before moving on to play collegiate baseball for two years at USC Aiken before transferring to Francis Marion University.
Mann also excelled in sports at North Augusta High playing basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball and swimming.
After graduation, she played volleyball and softball at the University of South Carolina.
The event, which had an attendance of about 320 people, also recognized Athletes of Distinction: Ron Beckham, Elizabeth Creech, Emily Sam, Kelsey Williams, Nicole Fuller, Bryan Narcisse, Dan Pippin, Nik O’Brien, Jake Whitley, Maurice Williams and Neko Williams.