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Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia
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Photo courtesy of N.C. State University
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Kimrey, right, is the head football coach at Hammond Academy in Columbia.
A number of former all-star players stayed connected to the sport by going into coaching. Here are three standouts.
Steve Greer: 1965 MVP
In high school, Greer was a defensive lineman, “a one-man wrecking crew,” according to his coach. After an outstanding college career at Georgia, Greer made his mark at his alma mater as a line coach and recruiter. He was responsible for recruiting the greatest Bulldog ever, Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker. When Greer retired from coaching in 2006 after 27 years at UGA, former head coach Vince Dooley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “There haven’t been too many men more important to our football program than Steve Greer.”
Mike O’Cain: 1972 MVP
As a quarterback at Orangeburg-Wilkinson, O’Cain was a known commodity when he showed up at the all-star game in 1972. He went to Clemson where he was their starting quarterback from 1974–76. O’Cain’s coaching career led him to Raleigh where he led North Carolina State as head coach from 1993–99. He then returned to Clemson and stayed for four seasons, helping the Tigers break multiple team records for offense. Today, O’Cain is the offensive coordinator at James Madison University.
Erik Kimrey: 1997 MVP
Erik Kimrey played for his father at Dutch Fork High School in Columbia, and what he lacked in physical skills, he made up for with a brain wired for the game. After a prolific high school career at quarterback, he stayed close to home to play for the University of South Carolina. A career back-up, Kimrey made a name for himself in 2000 when he entered a game against Mississippi State in the final minutes and delivered the play Gamecocks fans still affectionately know as “The Fade.” Kimrey dropped back and confidently threw a long touchdown pass to Jermale Kelley, recipient of the 1995 Mr. Football Award, to win the game and give the Gamecocks their first 4–0 start in 12 years.
“I wasn't a very good football player, but I was known by a good play,” Kimrey says. “A lot of back-ups throw an interception at a time like that. I’m glad that wasn’t me.”
After college, Kimrey became a high school head coach at the age of 24 and proceeded to build a powerhouse program at the Hammond Academy in Columbia. His Skyhawks have won the last seven SCISA state titles.