Dec. 16, 2005
University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has hired former Duke assistant coach Fred Chatham as the tight ends coach and has promoted Robert Gillespie to running backs coach, it was announced Friday afternoon.
Chatham, 52, has spent the past 17 years in Durham, including the last 16 on the offensive side of the ball. He spent the last nine seasons guiding the running backs after leading the tight ends the previous seven seasons. Chatham also oversaw the development of Duke’s placekickers and coordinated the school’s special teams efforts.
Under Chatham’s guidance, Chris Douglas became Duke’s all-time rushing leader thanks to an outstanding 2003 campaign that saw the Sherrills Ford, N.C., product rush for 1,138 yards and receive first team All-ACC accolades. Douglas, one of just four players in ACC history to rush for 500 or more yards and catch at least 20 passes in four straight seasons, finished his tenure in Durham as Duke’s career leader in both rushing yards (3,122) and all-purpose yards (5,748).
In 1994, Chatham directed honorable mention All-America and All-ACC tight end Bill Khayat. Tight end John Farquhar, who played with the New Orleans Saints from 1997-99, was another of Chatham’s products from 1990-94.
In addition, Chatham helped develop former Blue Devil placekicker Sims Lenhardt into one of the top kickers in the country. Lenhardt, who graduated in 2000 after becoming Duke’s all-time leader in both total points and field goals, was a three-time All-ACC selection and was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award given to the nation’s top kicker in 1997.
A native of Elkin, N.C., Chatham came to Duke in 1989 under Steve Spurrier after spending a year at Dartmouth. He started his collegiate coaching career as a part-time assistant at North Carolina in 1981 before becoming a full-time assistant there from 1983-87.
Also at Duke, he held the position of assistant head coach from 1992-93 under head coach Barry Wilson. Chatham has been a member of the Duke program for one ACC championship (1989) and a pair of bowl games (1989 All American Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., & 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla.)
Chatham was a Dean’s List student at North Carolina, graduating in 1974. He and his wife, Pam, have two sons, Thurmond and Hugh Grantham.
Gillespie came to South Carolina as a graduate assistant for video in the summer of 2005.
A former running back and team captain at the University of Florida, Gillespie played for Steve Spurrier from 1998-2001, earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team and SEC Player of the Week recognition during his time with the Gators.
Gillespie finished his college career ranking second all-time at Florida in receiving yards by a back. A two-time selection to the SEC Fall Sports Academic Honor Roll in 2000 and 2001, Gillespie returned to Gainesville to earn a degree in sports management from Florida in 2005.
Gillespie played for the NFL’s Washington Redskins in 2002 and 2003 and played for the Frankfort Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2003 before taking a teaching job at his alma mater, Hattiesburg HS in Hattiesburg, Miss., in 2004. He stayed on at Hattiesburg HS for an internship in the athletic department in 2005 before coming to South Carolina.