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Oliver "Buddy" Pough
Buddy Pough

AthleticsFormer Head Football CoachStaley Hall

Oliver "Buddy" Pough

Buddy Pough is the former head coach of the SC State Bulldogs football team. He also served as interim athletics director shortly before his retirement in 2023.


BS and Masters SCSU.


Buddy Pough is a highly accomplished and respected figure in the realm of college football, having served as the head football coach for 22 years. His remarkable tenure led the team to victory as three-time National MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Champions.

Pough ranks among the top coaches in the 53-year history of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, as well as in the HBCU family:

  • His record includes 15 winning campaigns, three MEAC Coach of the Year honors, two National Coach of the Year awards, and two national HBCU titles.
  • His teams have also captured three MEAC titles (2008, 2009 & 2021) outright, shared five others (2004, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2019), and made four trips to the prestigious FCS playoffs (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013).
  • His 2021 MEAC Championship team went on to defeat Jackson State and Coach Deion “Prime” Sanders 31-10 in the prestigious Celebration Bowl, earning his team the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Championship, the second of his college coaching career.
  • His 2009 team, which finished 10-3 overall and 8-0 in the MEAC, was also named National Black Champion by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network, the 100 Percent Wrong Club of Atlanta, the Washington (DC) Pigskin Club and the Box-to-Row /BASN. In addition, the Bulldogs finished number seven in all three major FCS polls – The Sports Network, the FCS Coaches Poll and Any Given Saturday.
  • Pough has coached several players who have gone on to play in the National Football League (NFL), including two who are currently among the highest-paid at their position – LB Shaquille Darius Leonard (Indianapolis Colts) and NT Javon Hargrave (San Francisco Forty-Niners).
  • Prior to taking the reins at South Carolina State in 2002, Pough spent five seasons as an assistant at the University Of South Carolina (USC), the last three as a running backs coach under Lou Holtz. During his stint at USC, he helped build the Gamecocks into one of the top offensive teams in the Southeastern Conference. USC made back-to-back appearances in the Outback Bowl in 2000 and 2001.
  • Before going to USC, Pough was one of the top high school coaches in the Palmetto State, leading Fairfield-Central to a perfect 15-0 record in 1996 and claiming the Class AAA state title. He earned South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) Coach-of-the-Year honors for his efforts, the first of such three honors. Pough also had coaching stints at Keenan High in Columbia, where he built the Raiders into one of the top-Class AAA teams in the state.
  • Pough and his wife, Josie are the parents of two sons--Oliver “Bud” IV and Lee Judson and a daughter-in-law, Dr. Natalie Odom Pough. He also has two granddaughters, Taylor Michelle and Olivia Grace.