NEWBERRY - The late R. Leon Maxwell, a 1952 graduate of Newberry College, will be inducted into the South Carolina High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in December, as announced by the S.C. Football Coaches Association on Tuesday.
Riley Leon Maxwell was born on August 29, 1930, in Athens, Ga., and grew up in North Charleston. He attended Newberry College on an athletic scholarship where he played basketball and baseball. The 1952 Newberry baseball team went undefeated, defeating teams such as Furman, Duke, Georgia, the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Prior to beginning his coaching career, he played in the Pittsburgh Pirates Farm System.
Leon coached high school football at Latta High School (1952 to 1960), St. Stephen High School (1960 to 1970) and Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School (1970 to 1992). Over his 40-year head-coaching career, he won two state championships, eight lower state championships, nine state quarterfinals and 27 conference or region championships. He was inducted into the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995 with a compiled record of 297-121-4.
The football stadium at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School is named "Leon Maxwell Stadium" in his honor.
He was selected to coach as an assistant and head coach for the Pee Dee Tobacco Bowl, the SCHSL North-South All-Star Game and the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. His individual honors include National Coach of the Year, third place; S.C. Coach of the Year; and numerous region coach of the year awards. He won state championships in football, baseball and golf. He also coached track and basketball teams to state runner-up finishes. He was a lifetime member, deacon and Sunday school teacher at the Baptist churches in Latta, St. Stephen and Bamberg.
He passed away in 2012 and was married to Betty Lou Weatherly Maxwell for 62 years. The couple had three sons and a daughter.
Maxwell, along with Shell Dula, Doug Bennett, Bettis Herlong,Johnny Roscoe, Billy Seigler, Bill Tate, Jimmy “Moose” Wallace, Virgil Wells and Cecil Woolbright will be inducted into the South Carolina High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame during a banquet at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 11, at The Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach.