Wofford Defeats UNC/Greensboro 59-47 in Southern Conference Tournament Quarterfinals!!

Wofford Defeats UNC/Greensboro 59-47 in Southern Conference Tourney Quarterfinals!

Wofford College defeated the  University of North Carolina/Greensboro 59-47 in the Quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC.  Wofford improves to 24-8, while the Spartans fall to 8-23.  Southern Conference Player of the Year Noah Dahlman led a balanced Wofford attack with 13 points.  UNC/Greensboro senior Ben Stywall set a school record with his 15th double-double on the season breaking the mark held by former Spartans star Kyle Hines (2008).  Stywall posted 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Wofford advances to the Southern Conference Tournament Semifinals to face Western Carolina University on Sunday at 6 p.m., at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC.  Both of the Semifinal games will be televised by SportSouth.

Slide Show: Wofford Defeats UNC/Greensboro 59-47 in SoCon Quarterfinals!!

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Wofford College Claims Southern Conference Title, Defeats College of Charleston 74-68!

Wofford College Claims Southern Conference Title, Defeats College of Charleston 74-68!

Wofford College claimed the regular season Southern Conference championship with a 74-68 win over the College of Charleston on Thursday night at Benjamin Johnson Arena. In front of a sold-out crowd, the Terriers used a 14-0 run to take the lead in the first half and held on for the win.  Wofford has won nine in a row and is 22-8 on the season and 14-3 in the Southern Conference.

With the win, the Terriers have claimed the #1 seed in the South Division in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament.  In addition, Wofford has claimed the conference’s automatic bid to the NIT Tournament if they do not reach the NCAA Tournament as the regular season champion.  The Terriers will play the final home game of the season against The Citadel on Saturday at 7:00 pm.

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Tiny Wofford College Goes On the Road, Defeats SEC’s Univ. of Georgia, 60-57!!

Tiny Wofford College Goes On the Road, Defeats SEC’s Univ. of Georgia, 60-57!!

As the fourth-smallest school in the nation that plays NCAA Division I basketball, Wofford College, from The Southern Conference, knows that going on the road into tough environments is unavoidable. Two weeks ago, Wofford opened the season with a heart-breaking 63-60 loss to the Big East Conference’s University of Pittsburgh at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh.  Wofford held a ten point lead with ten minutes remaining in the game, but the Panthers took the lead after an 8-0 run with just 1:33 left in the game.

After losing to the University of Georgia in overtime last season, Wofford held on in the final seconds to take a 60-57 victory over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens (GA).  Leading 58-56 with just 6.1 seconds remaining, the Terriers (1-1) could only stand and watch as Georgia’s Dustin Ware had two chances to tie the game at the foul line.  But Ware missed the back end of a 1-and-1  and Wofford’s Cameron Rundles made both ends of a subsequent 1-and-1 on the other end with 3 seconds remaining, putting the Terriers up by 3 points.  Georgia (1-1) managed to get one final shot, a 3-point attempt with 1 second left by Trey Thompkins near the Bulldogs’ bench, but it didn’t fall, as Wofford saved the win.

Wofford continues play on the road, facing Bradley in Peoria (ILL) on Nov. 22, the University of Illinois in Champaign (ILL) on Nov. 24, and Seattle in Las Vegas (Nev.) on November 28.

Video Highlights: Tiny Wofford College Defeats the University of Georgia,  60-57

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Tiny Wofford College Smashes The University of Tennessee/Chattanooga, 56-7!!

Wofford Smashes The University of Tennessee/Chattanooga, 56-7

Defending Southern Conference champion Wofford College was back in action yesterday, taking on The University of Tennessee/Chattanooga after having a week off. Wofford’s only loss this season was a last-minute upset loss to The University of South Carolina, playing before 86,000 fans in Carolina’s Bryce Stadium.

Saturday was a day for big plays as No. 9 Wofford (4-1/2-0) scored five of their seven touchdowns from 20 yards or more to claim a 56-7 win over Chattanooga (1-6/0-3). For Wofford, the victory over Chattanooga is yet another a measure of a program that graduated 17 seniors, lost 13 of 24 starters and still finds itself with a 4-1 record and ranked ninth in the country.

Coming off a 9-4 record, an appearance in the FCS quarterfinals and a share of the Southern Conference championship, many observers thought that Wofford would be too inexperienced to make a serious run at national honors in 2008. But Wofford coach Mike Ayers wasn’t one of those doubters. “To a certain extent, I’m not surprised,” said Ayers, now in his 21st year as head coach. “After spring ball, we felt we had a number of older kids that knew what we were trying to do.”

Add to that maybe the best freshman class in school history and the Terriers have been able to climb to unexpected heights. “We’ve worked really hard on our guys from the start to pressure them into maturing more quickly,” explained Ayers, who has team tied for first place with Appalachian State and Elon in the SoCon with a 2-0 record.

In Wofford’s complex, triple-option offensive system, discipline and execution are paramount to success and those attributes were apparent in large supply as the Terriers rolled to a 56-7 Southern Conference victory over Tennessee- Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon before 8,394 fans at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium.

Quarterback Ben Widmyer, who took over the controls of the wingbone attack from the graduated Josh Collier, got the Terriers rolling early with a 75-yard option run for a touchdown on Wofford’s second offensive play. After Chattanooga scored to even the game at seven apiece, Wofford went on to score 49 unanswered points.

Widmyer, who finished with eight carries for 158 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes for 110 yards and two scores, gave the Terriers the lead for good with 8:30 left in the second period on a 35-yard TD jaunt. After he fired a scoring strike of 28 yards to tight end Fenn Allen, connected with true freshman Eric Breitenstein on a 32-yard wheel route to set up Breitenstein’s five-yard TD burst and hit Andy Strickland on a 50-yard touchdown aerial, Widmyer retired to the sidelines just 62 seconds into the second half as the Terriers held a 35-7 lead.

Nevertheless, even with Widmyer and most of the starters watching, the Wofford reserves continued to play with precision on a day when the Terriers piled up 564 yards of total offense. And for Wofford, the remainder of the second half ended up being more of the same, as the ninth-ranked Terriers pulled away with big plays to end the game with 56 points.

Update: On Tuesday, October 14th, The Sports Network’s FCS College Football Poll Ranked Wofford College 4th in the nation.

Wofford Defeats Georgia Southern in OT, 38-37

Wofford’s Last-Minute Upset Loss to South Carolina

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Tiny Wofford College Loses Upset to South Carolina in Final Minutes

Tiny Wofford College Loses Upset to South Carolina in Final Minutes

The Wofford College Terriers couldn’t quite pull off a shocking upset like fellow Southern Conference school Appalachian State did last season against The University of Michigan, but Wofford’s game against The University of South Carolina on Saturday night was very close. In a game that was similar to the fabled Wofford-Carolina meeting in 2006, last night’s game was tied at 10-10 in the third quarter and Wofford was down just 16-13 until the final minutes of the game.

Wofford had a 15-play drive on its first possession of the game, took a 7-3 lead on the second trip and pulled to within 16-13 on a field goal by Patrick Mugan with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. The pesky Wofford Terriers then kept nipping at South Carolina’s heels and just wouldn’t go away. But South Carolina managed to score a touchdown in the final two minutes to pull out a last-minute 23-13 victory over Wofford before 76,600 football fans at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.

Wofford out-gained South Carolina on the ground, and Carolina committed three turnovers in the game. The Terriers are now 2-1 in the season, while South Carolina is 2-2.

Wofford Loses Upset to South Carolina in Final Minutes

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Vernon Baker Hailed: African-American World War II Hero

Vernon Baker Hailed: African-American World War II Hero

On September 11th, 2008, the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, Wofford College, a small liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina, paid honor to Vernon Baker. Baker is the only living African-American to have been awarded the World War II Medal of Honor. Describing Vernon Baker as “the greatest hero you or I will ever meet in our lifetime,” Bernie Dunlap’s voice choked with emotion as the Wofford College President spoke about Vernon Baker in front of a standing-room-only crowd last Thursday at Leonard Auditorium in Wofford’s historic Old Main Building.

Dunlap presented Baker, the only living African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor during World War II, with the college’s third annual Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Humankind to a thunderous standing ovation during Wofford’s opening convocation ceremony. Dunlap and Wofford College Dean David Wood also presented Baker, 89, with an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, and Spartanburg’s Mayor William Barnet followed by giving Baker a key to the city. “It is September 11, and we remember that this is a difficult and challenging world,” Barnet told the crowd. “But we will always remember our heroes, whether they admit they’re heroes or not, and today we honor one.”

Dunlap first learned of Baker’s story by watching an NBC documentary about Baker that was broadcast during last Winter’s Olympics and later reading Baker’s autobiography, Lasting Valor. Baker, has “endured decades of some of the worst this country offered to 20th century black America,” Dunlap said. Baker served in the Army as a lieutenant with the 370th Regiment. On April 5th and 6th, 1945, he destroyed four German machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, at Castle Aghinolfi, a German mountain strong point on the high ground. He killed nine enemy soldiers with a gun and hand grenades.

For his service, Baker also earned the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and the Distinguished Service Cross in addition to the Medal of Honor. However, It took 52 years before those heroics were recognized. Baker, because he was an African-American, was not officially honored for his bravery until 1997 when he and six of his comrades finally received the Medal of Honor from then-President Bill Clinton. Of the group honored by Clinton, Vernon has the only honoree still living.

The Sandor Teszler Award, which was also given to Baker, carries with it a $10,000 gift and honors the late Sandor Teszler, a Jewish immigrant who came to the Carolinas after he and his family were nearly killed by the Nazis during World War II. Teszler, for whom Wofford’s college library is named, was a friend of the college and a textile businessman who was one of the first to desegregate textile mills in the Carolinas. Previous recipients of the Teszler Award have been Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2006, and Paul Farmer, Founding Director of the international charity organization Partners in Health, last year.

Wofford College Honors WWII Hero Vernon Baker

Interview with Vernon Baker: WWII Medal of Honor Winner

NBC Documentary: Vernon Baker Honored after 52 Years

Wofford College’s Sandor Teszler Award

Wofford College, in Spartanburg (SC), honored Joseph Vernon Baker, the only living African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor during World War II. Wofford presented Baker with The Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Humankind during the college’s opening convocation ceremonies on September 11, 2008.

The Sandor Teszler Award represents the highest ideals that the Wofford community embraces, and it carries with it a $10,000 award. Sandor Teszler was born in the old Austro-Hungarian empire, and during World War II Teszler, his wife and two sons were taken to a death camp on the Danube River, where the Nazi victims were systematically beaten to death. They were prepared for imminent death, but then they unexpectedly were rescued by an official from the Swiss Embassy. Immigrating to America and coming to the Carolinas, Sandor Teszler became a leader in the textile industry, soon becoming one of the very first to desegregate the textile mills. During the last decade of his life, Teszler graced the Wofford campus, “attending so many classes that the faculty, acknowledging a wisdom and experience greater than their own, honored themselves by making him a professor.”

Historical Notes on Wofford College’s Tribute to Joseph Vernon Baker

Wofford College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford campus has been designated a National Historic District, and five of its six original college buildings are still in use today. Wofford has become known in the wider academic world as a true “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” The college was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford College alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

The commemoration of Joseph Vernon Baker and the courage exemplified in his life carries a special confluence with a certain aspect of Wofford’s own history. Founded in 1854, for over a century Wofford was a small private liberal arts college that was segregated, attracting almost all of its white students from the Old South. In 1962 and 1963, public colleges and universities throughout the region had begun to desegregate, almost always forced to do so at the direction of federal court orders and accompanied by significant resistance and often violence. In the face of strong and heated public sentiments against desegregation, as well as by anticipated bitterness concerning the college’s plans for integration and withdrawal of financial support for the college on the part of some of its alumni, supporters and friends, Wofford’s officers were undaunted and forged ahead, quietly beginning to make plans for desegregation. In the fall semester of 1964, the college opened its doors with an admissions policy that was equally applicable and nondiscriminatory to all students who might wish to apply, regardless of their race or creed. Steadfastly committed to its decision to make a stand for human equality, Wofford thus became one of the very first private colleges in the Old South to peacefully integrate.

Vernon Baker is now 89 years-old and lives in St. Maries, Idaho. Mr. Baker had earned the Medal of Honor 52 years before he and six of his military comrades actually received the award in 1997 from then-President Bill Clinton at a special White House ceremony. Mr. Baker was the only one who was still living to accept the Medal of Honor in person, the military’s highest award for bravery in battle. “They helped America to become more worthy of them and more true to its ideals,” Clinton said at the White House observance.

Vernon Baker, who had served as a lieutenant with the 370th Infantry Regiment, was cited for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life” for his actions on April 5 and 6th, 1945, when he destroyed four German machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, at Castle Aghinolfi, a critical German high-ground mountain defense post. He killed nine enemy soldiers with a gun and hand grenades. Mr. Baker also was awarded the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions in Italy.

Lt. Joseph Vernon Baker: An Honor Long Deferred

In the January 14th, 1997 edition of The New York Times, James Bennett wrote a moving article about the White House ceremony, which came a half-century after most of them had died in combat. On January 13th, 1997, seven soldiers finally were awarded the Medals of Honor that they deserved, but which had been denied after World War II because they were African-Americans. Of the seven men, Joseph Vernon Baker was the only one of the decorated soldiers who was still alive.

Their abilities and courageous actions in combat had been routinely derided by white officers. The very soldiers who were finally honored on that day had been forced to fight in segregated units, protecting the very freedoms that they did not fully share.

History has been made whole today,” Mr. Clinton declared, while standing in the East Room of the White House in front of Gilbert Stuart’s full-length portrait of George Washington, ”and our nation is bestowing honor on those who have long deserved it.”

Lt. Vernon Baker: An Honor Long Deferred

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Vernon Baker Honored: Only Living African-American Awarded WWII Medal of Honor

Vernon Baker Honored: Only Living Black Awarded WWII Medal of Honor

Wofford College Presents Vernon Baker with The Sandor Teszler Award

Wofford College, in Spartanburg (SC), will honor Joseph Vernon Baker, the only living African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor during World War II. Wofford will present The Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Humankind to Baker and confer an honorary degree during the college’s opening convocation ceremonies on September 11, 2008. The Sandor Teszler Award represents the highest ideals that the Wofford community embraces, and it carries with it a $10,000 award as well as a citation and the honorary degree.

Sandor Teszler was born in the old Austro-Hungarian empire, and during World War II Teszler, his wife and two sons were taken to a death camp on the Danube River, where the Nazi victims were systematically beaten to death. They were prepared for imminent death, but then they unexpectedly were rescued by an official from the Swiss Embassy. Immigrating to America and coming to the Carolinas, Sandor Teszler became a leader in the textile industry, soon becoming one of the very first to desegregate the textile mills. During the last decade of his life, Teszler graced the Wofford campus, “attending so many classes that the faculty, acknowledging a wisdom and experience greater than their own, honored themselves by making him a professor.”

Wofford College and the Tribute to Joseph Vernon Baker

Wofford College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford campus has been designated a National Historic District, and five of its six original college buildings are still in use today. Wofford has become known in the wider academic world as a true “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” The college was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

The commemoration of Joseph Vernon Baker and the courage exemplified in his life carries a special confluence with a certain aspect of Wofford’s own history. Founded in 1854, for over a century Wofford was a small private liberal arts college that was segregated, attracting almost all of its students from the Old South. In 1962 and 1963, public colleges and universities throughout the region had begun to desegregate, almost always forced to do so at the direction of federal court orders and accompanied by significant resistance and often violence. In the face of strong and heated public sentiments against desegregation, as well as by anticipated bitterness concerning and rejection of the college on the part of some of its alumni, supporters and friends, Wofford’s officers were undaunted and forged ahead, quietly beginning to make plans for desegregation. In the fall semester of 1964, the college opened its doors with an admissions policy that was equally applicable and nondiscriminatory to all students who might wish to apply, regardless of their race or creed. Steadfastly committed to its decision to make a stand for human equality, Wofford thus became one of the very first private colleges in the Old South to peacefully integrate.

Vernon Baker is now 89 years-old and lives in St. Maries, Idaho. Mr. Baker had earned the Medal of Honor 52 years before he and six of his military comrades actually received the award in 1997 from then-President Bill Clinton at a special White House ceremony. Mr. Baker was the only one who was still living to accept the Medal of Honor in person, the military’s highest award for bravery in battle. “They helped America to become more worthy of them and more true to its ideals,” Clinton said at the White House observance.

Vernon Baker, who had served as a lieutenant with the 370th Infantry Regiment, was cited for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life” for his actions on April 5 and 6th, 1945, when he destroyed four German machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, at Castle Aghinolfi, a critical German high-ground mountain defense post. He killed nine enemy soldiers with a gun and hand grenades. Mr. Baker also was awarded the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions in Italy.

Lt. Joseph Vernon Baker: An Honor Long Deferred

In the January 14th, 1997 edition of The New York Times, James Bennett wrote a moving article about the White House ceremony, which came a half-century after most of them had died in combat. On January 13th, 1997, seven soldiers finally were awarded the Medals of Honor that they deserved, but which had been denied after World War II because they were African-Americans. Of the seven men, Joseph Vernon Baker was the only one of the decorated soldiers who was still alive.

Their abilities and courageous actions in combat had been routinely derided by white officers. The very soldiers who were finally honored on that day had been forced to fight in segregated units, protecting the very freedoms that they did not fully share.

History has been made whole today,” Mr. Clinton declared, while standing in the East Room of the White House in front of Gilbert Stuart’s full-length portrait of George Washington, ”and our nation is bestowing honor on those who have long deserved it.”

Lt. Vernon Baker: An Honor Long Overdue

Wofford College Honors Vernon Baker:  WWII Medal of Honor Winner

Interview with Vernon Baker: WWII Medal of Honor Winner

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