Golfer Gary Bennett and Baseball Pitcher Scotty Keefe Named to FMU Athletic Hall of Fame (Induction Jan. 29)
FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University athletic officials have announced that former Patriot All-American golfer Gary Bennett and former left-handed pitcher Scotty Keefe will be the newest inductees into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place during Homecoming activities on Saturday, Jan. 29. The ceremony will occur at approximately 3:45 p.m. in the Smith University Center gymnasium, between the women’s and men's games of the FMU and Columbus State University basketball doubleheader.
Bennett, a native of Florence, attended the University of Houston and Memphis State University, before returning home to Florence and Francis Marion. In his second and final year on the Patriot golf team (1973), he and a teammate became the school’s first All-Americans.
Bennett earned a B.S. degree in psychology in 1974, and he is currently golf course superintendent at the Harbor Oaks Golf Club in Pine Bluff, Ark. He resides in White Hall, Ark., with his wife Debbie and his four children.
Prior to taking his current position two years ago, Bennett worked at the Country Club of South Carolina, Deer Track Country Club in Surfside Beach, Wildwood Country Club in Columbia, Crickentree Golf Club in Blythewood, S.C., Indian Creek Golf Club in Miami Beach, Fla., and the President Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
While at Crickentree Golf Club, he was named the South Carolina Golf Course Superintendent of the Year in 1992, and that same year won the National Golf Course Super-intendents’ Championship, a tournament held at the TPC at Sawgrass near Jacksonville, Fla.
As a collegiate player in 1971-72, Bennett led the Patriot squad with a 74.9 stroke average. He helped lead Francis Marion to a 16-3 record and a second-place finish at the Little Six Golf Tournament. Individually, he tied for second at that tournament.
The next year, the Patriots compiled a perfect 21-0 team record and finished second in both the Little Six and NAIA District Six Tournaments (behind eventual national champion Wofford College). Francis Marion went on to finish fourth in the state tournament and advanced to the NAIA National Championships, where the squad tied for seventh place.
In addition to earning All-America honors that year, he helped the Patriots place eighth overall (and first among small colleges) at the prestigious St. Andrews International Collegiate Team Championship Tournament, played on the famed Carnoustie and the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Keefe, a native of Pamplico, S.C., starred on the Patriot baseball team in 1988 and 1990-92, compiling a 26-8 career record with two saves and a 3.46 earned run average. The 5-11 southpaw struck out 243 batters in only 268 innings and recorded nine complete games, five shutouts, and two no-hitters. He helped lead the Patriots to a four-year combined record of 118-57.
He earned a B.S. degree in sociology in 1992 and is currently the director of student affairs and athletic director at Carolina Academy in Lake City, S.C. In addition to those duties, he also teaches a Bible course and coaches boys’ basketball and baseball. He is director of Region 2AA of the South Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (SCISAA).
Keefe is married to the former Stacie Evans and they are expecting their first child.
Keefe served as head coach of the 1996 Florence American Legion baseball team and was an assistant for the 1995 Dillon American Legion squad.
As a senior at FMU in 1992, he set school records for wins and best winning percentage with an 8-0 mark. He also ranked 15th in the NAIA and 16th in the NCAA Division II in earned run average with a 1.84 ERA. A year earlier, he broke the team record for strikeouts with 81 in only 73.2 innings. That figure ranked him 20th in the nation (NAIA) in strikeouts per game.
He was twice named to the NAIA District Six All-District Team, including being selected as the district’s “Player of the Year” in 1992, and three times he was voted to the Palmetto State Conference All-Conference Team, also earning “Player of the Year” honors in 1992. He was Francis Marion’s most valuable player in 1991 and 1992.
As a freshman, he had the oddity of becoming only the second player in school history to strike out four batters in one inning during the ninth inning of an April 11 win over Morris College.
Bennett and Keefe join 16 current members in the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame, which was formed in 1991. Past inductees include Cindy Alford (softball), Jeannette Alston (women’s basketball, volleyball), Kristi Anderson (women’s softball), Maria Costas (women’s basketball, tennis, volleyball), LaRue Fields (women’s basketball, volleyball), Allen Floyd (men’s basketball), Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell (women’s basketball coach), Wayne Huggins (baseball), Pearl Moore (women’s basketball), Robert Moore (men’s basketball), Mitch Powell (track and field, cross country), Tommy Randall (golf), Garth Thomson (men’s tennis player and coach), Randy White (track and field, cross country), Mike Wilson (baseball), and Rendy Yates (women’s softball player and coach).