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Published on October 21st, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Benedict College Inducts Nine Into Athletic Hall Of Fame

Pictured; Front row from left; Johnny LaVerne Bines, Fred Jones Sr., Bob McCullough, accepting for Robert Sorrell. Back row, from left: James Chandler, Harold Johnson, Winston Thomas, Valerie Brown-Locklin, G. Wesley Palmore.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A football great, two basketball standouts, a golfer, a tennis player, a track athlete, and three multi -sport stars were inducted into the Benedict College Athletic Hall of Fame recently.

The honorees were: Johnny LaVerne Bines, a football standout from the 1960s; John R. Brown, Benedict’s first tennis standout; Valerie Brown-Locklin, an MVP player in basketball, volleyball, softball and track & field; James “Jet” Chandler, a three-sport standout in football, baseball and track; Harold Johnson, an All-Conference basketball player in the 1960s; Frederick C. Jones Sr., a standout on Benedict’s first men’s golf team; G. Wesley Palmore, a highly-decorated track star and law enforcement officer; Robert Sorrell, a high-scoring guard on Benedict’s record-setting basketball teams in the mid 1960s; and Winston Thomas, a three-sport star in football, baseball and track.

Johnny LaVerne Bines

Johnny LaVerne Bines was a member of the Benedict College football team from 1962-65.

He received a degree in Physical Education in 1965, and spent the summer as a member of the Baltimore Colts football team. He also was a member of the Virginia Rebels in Richmond and the Charleston Sports and Low Country Raiders in Charleston, S.C.

He began a long and successful career as a teacher and coach at C.A. Brown High School, serving as a football and track coach. He later coached at Lincoln High School as the varsity girls basketball coach. He returned to C.A. Brown as athletic director. He then served as head football coach at Burke High School. He then went to Mitchell Elementary School as a P.E. teacher, then spent 18 years as a sports supervisor at St. Andrews Parks & Playground.

John R. Brown

John Brown played on Benedict’s inaugural tennis team in 1968 and was the team captain for two years.
He placed third in the conference championship tournament in 1969 and was named All-Conference and was considered Benedict’s top tennis player from that era.

He graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics. He served as a high school teacher and tennis coach in the Laurens County School District before embarking on a career in the business world.

Brown also received a Masters in Administrative Science from John Hopkins University and completed the Executive Leadership Program from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

He served in various capacities with Westinghouse Electric, then spent 16 years with Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems in Linthieum, Maryland, where he served as a program manager, mission director and director. He is now president and CEO of JR Brown & Associates, a business consulting firm.

Valerie Brown-Locklin

Valerie Brown-Locklin was a four-sport standout during her career at Benedict.

She was a four-year All-Conference selection in basketball, averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and five steals per game as a senior. She also earned All-Conference honors in track, finishing second in the long jump. She also earned MVP honors in volleyball and softball. She was named Outstanding Volleyball Player in 1982 and 1983 and MVP in 1985. She was named MVP in softball in 1985 and 1986 as a utility player, playing pitcher, as well as the infield and outfield.

After graduating with a degree in therapeutic recreation, she worked as a recreation specialist in the Department of Corrections at Walden Corrections.

After marrying Antonio Locklin, who was in the Air Force, they moved to Japan, where she played volleyball and basketball on Japanese teams. Her twin sons, Antonio Jr. and Antoine, now attend Benedict on academic and track scholarships.

James Chandler

James Chandler participated in three sports at Benedict – football, baseball and track and earned the nickname “Jet” with his tremendous speed. In track, Chandler anchored the record setting 4×200 relay team composed of Charles Benson, Samuel Cromer and Winston Thomas. In baseball, Chandler played centerfield and helped Benedict win the state baseball championship in 1962.

In football, Chandler played running back and defensive back. In a game against Bethune Cookman, the six foot three, two hundred and ten pound Chandler pounded their defense for over 190 yards rushing. Chandler was drafted by the NFL champion Green Bay Packers.

Harold Johnson

Harold Johnson was a member of the basketball team and earned All-SIAC honors in 1961. He was also named to the All-NAIA District Six All-Star Team. During the Colleges of South Carolina Tournament, he averaged more than 44 points per game in three games and was named MVP.

After graduating, he was drafted by the Orlando Floridians of the American Professional Basketball League.

Following basketball, he started his career at the New York City Housing Authority Louis H. Pink Houses as a teenage afterschool program director. He also served as a substitute teacher, and later was hired as Dean of Students in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1976, he was hired as a disciplinarian dean at Englewood Middle School in New Jersey. In 1981, he became an assistant principal in Dwight Morrow High School, where he also coached basketball, softball and volleyball. He also directed the Urban League teenage afterschool program for six years.

He retired in 2002 after 39 years in education, and moved to Atlanta, Ga.

Frederick C. Jones Sr.

Frederick Jones was a member of Benedict’s first golf team, competing during his senior year. He was voted the most improved player by his renowned late coach, Ralph King.

After graduation, he was employed by Richland County School District One in its Special Services Department. After receiving his Masters of Education degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Carolina, he worked with the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for 31 years.

He helped coordinate the first Palmetto Classic and has helped with Benedict’s annual Homecoming weekend golf tournament.

Since 1973, Mr. Jones has managed and been the lead vocalist for several bands and had the privilege of performing for inaugural events hosted by Congressman James E. Clyburn in Washington, D.C., during the 2008 and 2013 inaugurations of President Barack Obama.

Fred and his wife, Bunny, served as foster parents for eight years. They have been married for 47 years and have one son, Fred Jr.

G. Wesley Palmore

George Wesley Palmore was a four-year standout on the Benedict track team from 1989-1992, helping the Tigers to win three EIAC championships and one second-place finish.

He was named All-Conference in multiple events, including the mile relay, 200-meter dash, 400 meter dash, 110-meter high hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and sprint medley relay.

After graduating with a degree in criminal justice, he joined the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. He also competed in the South Carolina Police Olympics, winning a total of 18 medals and four trophies. He joined the City of Columbia Police Department in 1995, where he earned a Commendation Award for stopping a robbery.

He returned to Newberry in 1997 as a school resource officer. He coached track and field, started a Law Enforcement Explorer’s Cadet Post, was named Explorer Advisor of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America, and received the Deacon Livingston Award for community service to the citizens of Newberry County.

Robert Sorrell

Robert Sorrell was a starting guard for four years on the Benedict basketball team.

He was the third-leading scorer on the 1964 team that led the NAIA in scoring at 101.2 points per game. His honors included being named Best Freshman, Most Improved, and the 1965 Most Outstanding Player. He was named to the All-Tournament team for the 1964 Colleges of South Carolina Basketball Tournament. In 1965, he was the first African-American to play on a championship team in the Southern Textile Basketball Tournament in Greenville.

After graduation, he became a math teacher and assistant principal in the Cleveland public schools. He coached three Cleveland city championship teams. He then served as an assistant executive director of the Pittsburgh Urban League and was President and CEO of the Philadelphia Urban League for 34 years, serving as an advisor to two Philadelphia mayors and three Pennsylvania governors.

He is the founder of the Robert W. Sorrell Scholarship Foundation, which will award scholarships to students to attend Benedict College.

Winston Thomas

Winston Thomas was responsible for creating the Benedict College Athletic Hall of Fame.

As a student, he participated in three sports – football, baseball and track. In football, he played running back, quarterback and defensive back. In track, he competed in multiple events, including the 4×200 relay team that set a school record in 1962.

He also served as the basketball team statistician, the editor of the school newspaper and yearbook, as well as being elected vice-president of the student council.

After graduating from Benedict with a degree in chemistry, he taught high school science and coached football, basketball, track and tennis. He served as Director of Alumni Affairs at Benedict and later served as an assistant basketball coach and developed Benedict’s first swimming team and alumni golf tournament.

He joined the staff of Gov. Richard W. Riley as a Program Information Coordinator and also served under Gov. Caroll Campbell. He became executive director of the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte.

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