Berson, Brooks and Ellerbe Highlight the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame’s Induction Class of 2023
University of South Carolina men’s soccer coach Mark Berson, wide receiver Robert Brooks and track & field star Dawn Ellerbe highlight the eight-member South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame’s (SCAHOF) induction class of 2023, it was announced today. Others elected include Clemson University quarterback Woody Dantzler, late Negro League baseball legend Chino Smith, Georgia Tech and Macedonia High School quarterback Joe Hamilton, Columbia native and NBA standout Jermaine O’Neal and Clemson University men’s golf coach Larry Penley.
“We have another impressive class that will be enshrined in our state’s hall of fame in May,” said Executive Director Andy Solomon. “Our nominating committee has a most difficult challenge annually, and this year was no exception. They created a competitive ballot from more than 200 names and the best rose to the top. We are thrilled with the tremendous names that create the Class of ’23.”
The South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame’s Induction Banquet honoring the class of 2023 is set for Monday, May 15, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The eight-individuals will be forever enshrined with the Palmetto State’s highest athletic honor.
The SCAHOF Banquet is the largest annual celebration of Palmetto State sports stars under one roof. The traditional introduction of past inductees, the “Walk of Legends”, is one of the event’s highlights. The affair, which includes a reception and dinner, begins at 5:30 p.m. Table sponsorships may be purchased online here.
Mark Berson (Men’s Soccer; University of South Carolina, The Citadel)
Mark Berson retired in 2020 as the winningest active soccer coach in the country with a record of 511-261-76. Berson came to Columbia to start the varsity program in 1978 and promptly posted a 13-3-1 mark in his inaugural season with the Gamecocks. In 43 seasons, he guided the Gamecocks to 22 NCAA Tournaments (second amongst active NCAA Division I coaches), 34 winning records, one NCAA Championship game, two College Cups, four national quarterfinals and 11 rounds of 16 appearances. In his second season, he led USC to a 14-5-0 record and reached the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Hartford, CT native and University of North Carolina graduate, began his coaching career at The Citadel in 1976 and served as an assistant under Eddie Teague. He took over the Bulldogs the next season and led The Citadel to an 11-5-0 mark and a second-place finish in the Southern Conference.
Robert Brooks (Football; University of South Carolina, Greenwood, SC)
A Greenwood native, Robert Brooks starred at South Carolina and remains their seventh-leading receiver with 156 career catches for 2,211 yards from 1988-91. He was a freshman All-America selection by The Sporting News in 1988 and is tied for fourth all-time with 19 career touchdown receptions.
A third-round pick (62nd overall) in the 1992 NFL draft, Brooks played for the Green Bay Packers (1992-98) and was part of Super Bowl XXXI championship team and is credited with the invention of the “Lambeau Leap” in Green Bay.
For his pro career, which included playing for the Denver Broncos in 2000, he caught 309 passes for 4,276 yards and 32 touchdowns. In 1997, he was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and holds the record for longest pass reception in NFL history (99 yards).
Dawn Ellerbe (Track & Field; University of South Carolina)
A native of Central Islip, NY, Dawn Ellerbe is a former track and field athlete who specialized in the hammer throw. She is a member of the University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame and is on the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Midlands in Columbia. As a USC student-athlete, Ellerbe was a four-time NCAA champion, six-time All-American and five-time SEC champion. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1996.
Ellerbe is a five-time USA Indoor champion (1996, 1998–2001) and six-time USA Outdoor champion in the hammer throw (1995–2001). Ellerbe also claimed the gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada.
Ellerbe represented the USA in the 2000 Summer Olympics and finished in 7th place in the women’s hammer competition with 66.80 meters. As a member of USA National team, she participated in the 1997 Universiade Games in Catania, Italy, the 1998 Goodwill Games in Uniondale, NY, the Universiade Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, the World Championships in Seville, Spain; the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and the World Championships in Paris, France.
Ellerbe, who is in her 10th year with California State University Northridge Athletics as the Associate Athletics Director for Marketing, Branding and Fan Development, received a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis on advertising and public relations from the University of South Carolina in 1996. She completed her master’s degree in communication at the University of Wyoming in 2001.