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Strength and Conditioning Coach Leaves South Carolina State
There are at least two weeks remaining for the second annual “Lift-A-Bulldog” campaign to cover expenses for the football team to enroll in summer school and work out on campus.
Should head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough reach his goal of $50,000 which would be matched by the athletics department to make it possible for the team to remain this summer in Orangeburg, the players will be working with a new strength and conditioning coach.
The T& has confirmed that Torre Becton has left the program to accept a new job with the University of Washington. Becton will serve as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Huskies’ football team.
“The University of Washington is in a major conference,” Becton said in a telephone interview. “It’s an up-and-coming program under head coach Steve Sarkisian and it was just an opportunity that was too much to turn down.”
Washington posted a 7-6 record last season, which included a bowl victory over Nebraska. It was a two-win improvement from Sarkisian’s first season when he took over an 0-12 program.
A graduate and former defensive tackle at North Carolina A&T, Becton spent two seasons with the Bulldogs after serving as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL’s Houston Texans. He was also a strength and conditioning coach at Baylor, where he worked with his predecessor at S.C. State, John Williams.
Becton said the two seasons he spent at S.C. State were “instrumental” in his development as a strength and conditioning coach. He was thankful to both Pough and athletics director Charlene Johnson for the opportunity and hoped he created a “fun while working hard” environment for the players to thrive in.
Former players Markus James and David Erby are currently assisting the current players in their strength and conditioning. Pough indicated he is currently in the process of interviewing candidates to replace Becton prior to the start of the Summer II session June 22 and would prefer to hire someone similar to Williams or Becton in order to maintain the continuity which has worked with success for the defending three-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions.
Fans can still donate to the “Lift-A-Bulldog” program. All contributions can be made by mail at: South Carolina State Foundation Inc.; 300 College St.; Orangeburg, SC 29117-0001 or by calling (803) 536-7242 or (803) 536-8900.
Bulldogs 18th in preseason poll
South Carolina State is ranked 18th in the year’s first 2011 preseason Top 25 football poll as chosen by SouthernPigskin.Com.
The Bulldogs, who shared the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and made their third straight appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs last season, were ranked 16th in the 2010 final The Sports Network FCS poll. They finished 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the MEAC.
S.C. State was the only historically black college from either the MEAC or Southwestern Athletic Conference ranked by Southernpigskin.com.
Eastern Washington, which captured the 2010 FCS title and was 13-2 last season, leads the 2011 poll. Georgia Southern, who defeated the Bulldogs 41-16 in last year’s playoffs, is second. Rounding out the top five are William & Mary, Appalachian State and Delaware.
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish,” Pough quipped Wednesday.
S.C. State opens the 2011 campaign Thursday, Sept. 1, at Central Michigan, one of two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams on the Bulldog schedule. The other matchup is Sept. 17 at the University of Indiana.
By THOMAS GRANT JR., The Times and Democrat