Huggins Athletic Scholarship Established at FMU; Coaches Recognized by Board of Trustees
Two scholarship donors were recognized by FMU at a recent gathering of the school's Board of Trustees, including the announcement of the largest one-time gift by an individual to the Patriot athletic department.
FLORENCE, S.C. – Two scholarship donors were recognized by Francis Marion University at a recent gathering of the school’s Board of Trustees, including the announcement of the largest one-time gift by an individual to the Patriot athletic department.
The $100,000 donation by alumnus and Florence native Wayne Huggins will endow an athletic scholarship that will rotate on a yearly basis between baseball, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball. The yearly award will be named in honor of Huggins.
The gift is also the largest single gift of any type by an individual alumnus in the history of the university.
The university also recognized Pepsi Cola Bottling Company (of Florence) and its CEO Fred Avent for that organization’s long-time support of Patriot athletics. Pepsi has been a supporter of many university functions and projects, and has been a scholarship donor since 1977.
Huggins was a four-year letterwinner on the first four Patriot baseball teams (1973-76), and graduated with a B.S. degree in mathematics in 1976. The former owner and operator of Carolina Medical Corp., Lease Associates, Inc., and Greenville Dialysis Center, he now resides in Myrtle Beach.
A right-handed hitting catcher, he appeared in 125 career games and recorded a .320 career batting average with 61 runs scored, 32 doubles, four home runs, and 74 runs batted in. He was a three-time NAIA District Six All-District selection, and as a senior was named an NAIA honorable mention All-American. He was inducted into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.
Listed as the first-ever baseball scholarship recipient at Francis Marion, Huggins said, “This gift is a way for me to give back to the university in thanks for the opportunities Francis Marion gave to me.”
“Wayne has been a loyal supporter of Francis Marion athletics for as long as I can remember,” said FMU athletic director Murray Hartzler. “It is very rare that you find an individual who has a genuine fan interest and the financial resources to support a program like Wayne is able to do. He attends Patriot sporting events, and is interested in helping the program in whatever way possible. We are very appreciative for all he does for Francis Marion.”
The Board of Trustees also honored the FMU coaching staff at the evening event. This past year, six different Patriot athletic teams appeared in national poll rankings.