An NFL veteran, accomplished basketball coach and former members of baseball and golf teams are among the nine people that make up the 2018 induction class for the Coastal Carolina George F. “Buddy” Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame.
They will be officially inducted at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, and will also be publicly honored at halftime of the football game against Arkansas State at Brooks Stadium on Nov. 10.
Seven of the nine inductees were student-athletes: Mike Tolbert in football, Jose Iglesias and Cody Wheeler in baseball, Brittany Henderson in women’s golf, Sebastian Soderberg in men’s golf, Chelsy Kimes in volleyball and Erica Peake in women’s track and field.
Also being inducted are retired women’s basketball coach Alan LeForce and retired university photographer Bill Edmonds.
“Coastal will always have a special place in my heart. I love Coastal, I love that area,” LeForce said Monday. “I’m honored to be invited into the Hall of Fame. It’s something your players and your assistant coaches and your administration give you an opportunity and things went pretty well for you.”
▪ Mike Tolbert (Football 2004-07): Tolbert helped establish Coastal Carolina’s football program as a player in four of the program’s first five seasons, when the Chants won three straight Big South Conference championships from 2004-06. As a senior in 2007, he was named an All-American and was voted First Team All-Big South as he rushed for 748 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tolbert has spent the past decade in the NFL. He was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers in 2008 and later played for the Carolina Panthers (2012-16) and Buffalo Bills (2017), earning three selections to the Pro Bowl and two to the All-Pro First Team.
Tolbert, 32, is currently an unsigned free agent. His agent, Joel Turner, said Tolbert continues to stay in football shape and four teams have expressed interest, including one in the past week.
▪ Alan LeForce (Women’s Basketball Head Coach 1997-2013): LeForce, who recently moved from the Myrtle Beach area to Charleston, is the winningest head coach in the history of CCU’s women’s basketball, amassing a record of 228-227 in 16 years. His best season was 1999-2000 when he led the Chants to a 20-10 record and one of their three berths under him in the Big South Conference championship game.
LeForce was a coach for 50 years, beginning his career in 1958 at his alma mater, Williamsburg High School in Williamsburg, Ky. He was a collegiate head coach for 30 years and accumulated a 467-406 record. He was the first person to record 200 wins as both a Division I men’s and women’s head coach, and led East Tennessee State’s men to an NCAA Tournament victory over Arizona in 1992.
Under LeForce’s tutelage at CCU, Brooke Weisbrod (2000-01) and Alisha Dill (2006-07) were named Big South Conference Players of the Year, and a total of 25 players were named All-Big South. LeForce also coached five of the top-10 scorers in program history, Nikki Reddick (1st – 2,026 points), AJ Jordan (6th – 1,441 points), Weisbrod (7th – 1,401 points), Dill (8th – 1,342 points) and Sydnei Moss (9th – 1,329 points).
LeForce had retired from coaching in his early 60s to become assistant athletic director at ETSU and was a volunteer coach at Tusculum for a year when Sasser, who was CCU’s AD, called and asked if he had any interest in coaching women.
“I had never thought of it,” said LeForce, who regularly hears from many of his former players. “It was one of the more fun jobs I ever had because it was a challenge for me in many ways. I enjoyed it. I loved every one of my players.”
▪ Jose Iglesias (Baseball 2008-10): Iglesias was a key member of CCU baseball teams that reached NCAA Super Regionals in the 2008 and ’10 seasons and won three consecutive Big South regular season and tournament titles from 2008-10. Iglesias played 160 career games as a catcher, recording 29 home runs and 141 RBI to rank ninth and 13th in Coastal history, respectively.
He was one of three finalists for the National Player of the Year award in 2010, and also nabbed All-America, All-Region and All-Big South honors that season. In the 2009 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, be batted .444 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI in three games.
▪ Cody Wheeler (Baseball 2008-10): Wheeler was also on the 2008 and ’10 Super Regional teams. The pitcher was a two-time All-American and two-time First Team All-Big South selection as a sophomore and junior.
Wheeler was voted to the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional All-Tournament Team in 2010, when he was fifth in the NCAA in wins (12) and led the Big South in strikeouts (113). He was the 2009 Big South Pitcher of the Year and was drafted in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
▪ Brittany Henderson (Women’s Golf 2009-13): Henderson was a four-time All-Big South selection and the 2013 Big South Golfer and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, competing in four NCAA Regionals and one NCAA Championship. In 2012, she set the Coastal record for the lowest individual score at a Big South Championship (214).
She finished her career ranked third in program history in career scoring average (75.94), which now ranks seventh. She led Coastal to a pair of Big South championships in 2011 and 2013, and she was the back-to-back Individual medalist in 2012-13. For the past two years, Henderson has been caddying on the LPGA Tour for her sister, Brooke, who is ranked eighth in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking.
▪ Sebastian Soderberg (Men’s Golf 2009-13): Soderberg had CCU’s third-best career scoring average (73.45) and is tied for third in wins, rounds of par or better, birdies and eagles among Coastal’s all-time leaders. As a senior in 2013, he was named All-American and Big South Golfer of the Year.
He led Coastal to Big South championships and NCAA Regional appearances in both 2010 and ’13. Soderberg advanced to the 2011 NCAA Championship and participated in the 2012 NCAA Athens Regional, both as an individual, and is one of three Chants in program history to be a three-time All-Big South selection. He is currently second on the European Challenge Tour’s 2018 Order of Merit.
▪ Chelsy Kimes (Volleyball 2007-11): Kimes held Coastal Carolina all-time records in kills, points and points per set from 2010-17, and is now currently second in all three categories. She was a three-time All-Big South performer and made the conference’s All-Freshman team in 2007.
In 2010, Kimes was named CosIDA Academic All-District and was voted the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. As a junior, she led CCU to the Big South Conference championship as the tournament MVP and led the conference in total kills with 483.
▪ Erica Peake (Track & Field 2011-13): Peake holds CCU records in six different events – the 400-meter, 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay and 4x400m relay in outdoor track, and the 60m and 200m in indoor track. As a senior in 2013, Peake qualified for the NCAA Championships in both indoor and outdoor track, and ended both seasons with All-America honors in each.
Peake was a three-time Big South Track Athlete of the Year. She was named All-Big South a total of 21 times, and captured Big South titles in 14 different events.
▪ William D. “Bill” Edmonds (CCU photographer 1977-2017): Edmonds was instrumental in establishing the photography department at CCU and served as the university’s official photographer for four decades, creating a priceless photographic archive for the university and athletic department. He served in the U.S. Army, earned a bachelor’s degree from Coastal in 1978 and a master’s in media arts from South Carolina in 1983.