The Benedict College Athletic Hall of Fame inducted seven new members on Thursday, Oct. 18, adding to an impressive group of Hall of Famers.
This year's class includes a pair of standout men's basketball players; a women's basketball champion; a track & field and volleyball two-sport star; a pair of excellent football players; and a record-setting men's golfer.
The event drew a sell-out crowd in the Swinton Center ballroom on the campus of Benedict College, and a record number of previous Hall of Famers attended to welcome in the new class.
The seven new inductees brings the total number of members in the Benedict College Athletic Hall of Fame to 199.
Bernard "Prime-Time" Elmore was one of the stars of Benedict College's men's basketball teams that were among the best in the nation in 1997 and 1998.
Elmore was an EIAC All-Conference player for two years, the EIAC Tournament MVP and an EIAC Honorable Mention All-American for the Tigers. At 6-foot-6, he played the guard position and was a deadly outside shooter. As a senior, he averaged more than 21 points per game and took the Tigers to a national ranking of No. 2 during the 1997-98 season. By the end of his playing career, he was a three-time All-American, as well as conference and team MVP.
Elmore graduated from St. George High School in St. George, S.C., known as the "Home of the World Famous Grits Festival" and "The Town of the Friendly People." He led St. George High School to its first state championship. He is the eldest son of George Elmore and the Late Jeanette Hicks. He has three siblings: two sisters Shamara and Sabrina Hicks and a twin brother Lernard Elmore.
He married Keshia Spann Elmore, a Benedict graduate, and they have two children, Jordan and Megan.
Elmore remains active in the sport he loves by coaching and working as an official.
Carl Edward Drakeford
Carl Edward Drakeford was recognized as one of Benedict College's most gifted athletes, competing in both baseball and football, where he received honorable mention All-Conference in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at cornerback.
He graduated from Hillside High School in Heath Springs, S.C. He was heralded as one of the school's greatest athletes. While attending Hillside High School, he excelled in football and basketball and served as captain of the football team during his senior year and graduated with honors and received a scholarship to attend Benedict College.
After graduating Benedict College, Drakeford taught and coached for many years in Newberry, S.C. at Gallman High School, and at Saunders High School in Laurens, S.C. He led his Hickory Tavern Middle School team to an undefeated season in 1972. As the first African-American coach at Laurens District High School, Drakeford coached junior varsity football, basketball, baseball and soccer. He served as an assistant defensive coach for the 1983 and 1984 State 4A football teams at Laurens High School. He also served as a South Carolina High School League official for more than 25 years.
He was actively engaged in a variety of civic and community activities, including: organizer of ladies and men's softball teams in Clinton, Johanna, and Cross Hill, S.C.; Deacon and Sunday School Teacher at Hebron Baptist Church, Clinton, S.C.; Mentor for the Hebron Brotherhood; a regular blood donor (more than 4 gallons of blood); Member of Consolation Masonic Lodge #3 F&A for 35 years. On September 12, 2012, Drakeford was inducted into Laurens District 55 Hall of Fame (posthumously). In February 2014, he received the Black History Community Award from the Hebron Baptist Church (posthumously). Drakeford was a Member Laurens County Benedict College Alumni Club.
He was born in Kershaw, South Carolina to Elias and Lula Wright Drakeford. He married Helen Fleming, a 1966 graduate of Benedict College. They had two children, Antonya Drakeford-Windham, and Carl Edward Drakeford Jr.; and five grandchildren, Danielle, Peyton, Karter, Mavric, and Jansen.
Kimberly Cue Palmer
Kimberly Cue Palmer was the catalyst for Benedict College's first-ever SIAC women's basketball conference championship.
She was named the SIAC Tournament MVP after leading the Lady Tigers to a 56-55 victory over Tuskegee in the 2004 tournament championship game. She was also named All-SIAC First Team, SIAC All-Tournament Team and the Atlanta Black College All-Star Game MVP.
After graduating from Benedict College in 2005, Kim worked as an assistant basketball coach for Benedict College, as well as Cardinal Newman High School. In 2006, she began a career with the South Carolina Department of Corrections as a shift lieutenant. After 10 years, Kim moved to Oklahoma, where she is currently the Resident Director at Langston University.
Kim resides in Oklahoma with her husband, Terence. When she is not working, Kim enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Shakesha Wilson Gillens
Shakesha Wilson Gillens is a native of Holly Hill South Carolina. She is a member of Brookland Baptist Church, an active affiliate of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, and an honors graduate of Benedict College where she received a B.S. in Criminal Justice.
Shakesha was recruited by Coach William Payne for Track and Field to Benedict College in 1994. That memorable, personal recruiting visit from Coach Payne along with two other members of the track team at home is what convinced her, her mom Carolyn Washington (deceased) and her grandfather, Rev. Reedy Wilson (deceased) to attend Benedict College. He promised to take care of her and he did just that. She asserts the belief that what makes a great athlete is an unwavering mindset that involves setting goals and making realistic plans to achieve and reach them. At the end of the day Shakesha Wilson Gillens is a real life example of hard work paying off. She was self-motivated as there was no team pressure on her to compete. The drive came from within and she was able to compete at her own pace. If it was to be it was up to her which allowed her to exist in a space that was all her own. This affirming outlook on life and athletics gave her the confidence to move forward into team sports.
She was an EIAC conference competitor from 1994-1998 in both Cross Country and Track and Field and received MVP honors in 1995, 1996 and 1997. She was a standout athlete running the 400m and 800m as well as the 4x400 meter relay, but her talents did not stop there. In 1994, she tried out for the volleyball team and became a valued walk on. At 5-foot-9 she played taller, one of the best compliments in the sport, and her persistence and hard work landed her MVP honors in both 1997 and 1998.
At 42, Shakesha still has the jumps and smarts to rank amongst the best volleyball players in South Carolina. She has become an astute professional since her college days at Benedict. She is currently employed by InterMark Management Corporation where she has worked for the past 20 years in several capacities such as Community Manager, Director of Training and Operations and Onesite Trainer.
Shakesha has served as a volleyball referee for South Carolina High School league for eight years and an Assistant Director of Southern Smashers Volleyball Club for seven years. She currently coaches for South Carolina Midlands Volleyball Club. She is regretfully the widow of Mr. Fredrick Gillens and very fortunate to be the mother of Anna Logan and Fredrick Louis Gillens.
Timothy O. Lane
Timothy O. Lane was born August 30, 1938 in Greensboro, Fla. to the late Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Lane, and was the second oldest of seven siblings. Tim was educated in the public schools of Gadsden County, Fla., where he became a standout football player at Carter Paramore High School in Quincy. Tim received two football scholarship opportunities to Maryland Eastern Shore and Kentucky State. Instead he decided to attend Benedict College with local friend Robert Fennell.
Tim received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Recreation from Benedict College. Afterwards Tim returned to Quincy, Fla. (Gadsden County) and began his professional career with the City of Quincy Parks and Recreation. During his 40-year career with the City of Quincy, Tim served as the Assistant Director and Director for the City's Parks and Recreation Department. Jackson Height's park was noted as the Black's Park prior to segregation and one of Tim's first assigned tasks as a young Assistant Director. In recognition of his dedication and service, the city commissioners voted to rename Jackson Height Park to Tim Lane Park in July 2012.
In February 1963, Tim married his high school sweetheart Burnis Anderson. They have two sons, Zachary and Derrick, as well as Von, a grandson whom they raised as a son. They have a total of five grandchildren and a host of great grandchildren. Since retirement, Tim enjoys spending time with family and traveling. He also enjoy his lifelong passion of working in his yard and tending to his flowers.
Esco Harmon has the distinction of being the oldest collegiate athlete in NCAA history.
Harmon competed on the Benedict men's golf team, joining the Tigers in 1999 at the age of 62. He competed as Benedict's No. 1 golfer, won several tournaments, and helped Benedict to a third-place finish in the 2002 PGA National Minority Golf Championship.
Harmon was born and raised in Columbia, SC., the youngest of 11 children. He attended C.A. Johnson high school, where is competed in football and track. He also began caddying and learned the game of golf. After graduating in 1958, he moved to New York City and began his career with a concentration in electronics, eventually opening his own business. He married Mae Frances, another Columbia native, in 1964. The family moved to Long Island and Harmon continued his career with the government until retiring in 1997. After retiring, Esco and Mae returned to Columbia, where he spent most of his free time playing golf.
While attending a holiday event, Harmon was approached by Benedict golf coach Lucious Clark, who asked Harmon if he had ever attained a college degree, and that he could offer Harmon a scholarship. Harmon had always dreamed of obtaining a degree, and now had the opportunity to not only go to school, but to play his favorite sport. He enrolled in Benedict in the spring of 1999 at the age of 62.
He began his college studies majoring in recreation. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation.
After graduation, his love of golf continued. He helped establish The First Tee Golf Program in Columbia. This program helped youth not only learn golf techniques, but taught life skills, such as honesty, courtesy, sportsmanship and confidence. He worked for the Columbia City Recreation Department for 14 years teaching and mentoring youth as well as instructing adult golf lessons. He retired from the First Tee Golf Program in 2014.
Malik McCullough helped lead the Benedict College men's basketball an SIAC tournament championship in 2004, the first SIAC basketball title for the Tigers in 43 years.
McCullough also made history by being the first Benedict College basketball player to be selected as team captain by his peers and coach as a freshman and was a four-year team captain. During his senior season in 2006, he helped lead the Tigers to a 16-game winning streak and the conference's best record at 20-2 and the regular-season championship.
Throughout McCullough's four-year tenure, he led the Tigers in assists and steals. While he was a potent scorer, he was more known for his play-making ability and his defense. He was a tough and fierce defender, and his defense often changed the whole complexion of the game. In fact, McCullough was named the SIAC's All-Defensive Player.
His success wasn't limited to the basketball court. He was named to the SIAC All-Academic First Team and graduated from Benedict with honors in 2006. He later went on to earn his Master's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance in 2015.
Since leaving Benedict in 2006, he has been holding basketball clinics for inner city youths and has employed more than 200 youths through the Summer Youth Employment Program. In 2007, he started the Rory A. Forehand Foundation, which sponsored community festivals, stop the violence rallies and gave scholarship money to high school graduates to attend college.
In 2007, he joined the Arturo Schomburg Democratic Club, led by State Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez. He is currently treasurer of the club.