ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The 2023 football season will be the final one for South Carolina State head football coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough.
Pough, who is starting his 22nd season as Bulldog head coach, informed the team of his plan following Thursday morning’s practice in preparation for Saturday’s season opener against Jackson State in Atlanta.
“I wanted to let you all know before the season got underway,” an emotional Pough told the Bulldogs. “No one is running me off. It’s my decision. When you have done something for 47 years, it’s a bit tough to give it up but it’s time. I will be all right.
“I’ve had a great ride here at SC State and I will continue to care about each one of you the rest of my days. Now, let’s go out and have a good season,” Pough said.
Reacting to Pough’s announcement, SC State Acting Athletics Director Keisha Campbell said hearing the news was a bittersweet moment for her.
“We all know that tenures have to end at some point, but I’m a bit saddened by Coach Pough’s decision,” Campbell said. “Coach Pough has brought much success to the Bulldog football program and has played a major role in enhancing the SC State brand.
“We wish him much success in his final season and know that he will continue to be a loyal son to the university,” she said.
Head coach since 2002, Pough has amassed a 146–87 overall record and a 112–42 conference record. That makes him the winningest head coach in SC State football history.
“Coach Buddy Pough is more than just a legend on our campus and the world of college sports,” SC State President Alexander Conyers said. “He is a living example to our students of what it means to be a loyal alumnus.
“For more than two decades, Coach Pough has instilled what we like to call ‘Bulldog Tenacity’ into his players and staff members, building their character for success on the field, in the classroom and in life,” Conyers said. “Coach Pough filled monster-size shoes when he took over as head coach, and his successor will have to do the same.”