Tolley Enters SAC Hall Of Fame
May 12, 2010
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Jerry Tolley, an East Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame member, three-year Pirate football letterman and two-time national championship coach at Elon University, has been inducted into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame according to an announcement by league commissioner Patrick Britz Wednesday.
Tolley is one of four inductees and is joined by former Tusculum College standout football player Ricardo Colclough, former Wingate University men's basketball player Lorinza "Junior" Harrington and former Lenoir-Rhyne University men's basketball player Daniel Willis. They will be inducted as part of the South Atlantic Conference Annual Meeting in Asheville, N.C., on June 3.
The 1964 winner of the E.E. Rawl Award for the senior athlete who best exemplified academic excellence and outstanding character, Tolley is still remembered in the Pirate record books for one of the top 15 longest kickoff returns, a 92-yarder against Western Carolina in 1963.
Tolley carried over his athletic excellence to Elon College as a head football coach. During his coaching tenure at Elon, Tolley's teams won back-to-back national championships in 1980 and '81 and finished as the national runner-up in 1978.
For his efforts, Tolley collected many accolades including South Atlantic Conference, district, state, regional, area and national coach-of-the year-honors. He also received the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Eastman Kodak National Collegiate Football Championship Awards. During Tolley's entire football career as a high school and college player and as an assistant and head coach, teams he was a part of complied an overall record of 201-63-6 (.756).
In a private ceremony held in the Governor's office in 2002, Governor Mike Easley, presented him with the Laurel Wreath Award, the highest award given for athletic excellence by the State of North Carolina. In 2003, the AFCA honored Tolley with its Lifetime Membership Award. A year later, The All-American Football Foundation honored him for his long and outstanding contribution to the game with its coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Service in Sports Award presented by the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce. Tolley was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame as part of that group's 2008-09 class.
Since the conclusion of his coaching career, Tolley has gone on to author five football drill books and currently serves as the Mayor of the Town of Elon.