Head Football Coach
South Carolina State
2002 - Present
Since taking over the reigns at his alma mater in 2002, Pough has turned the Bulldogs into perennial contenders for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference crown and a national power in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Div. I-AA).
The SC State alumnus has compiled an eight-year 67-26 overall record and a 51-12 mark in the MEAC, with a league title in 2009, 2008 and a co-championship in 2004.
In 2009, SC State was 10-2 overall and finished a perfect 8-0 in the MEAC, while in 2008 the Bulldogs had a similar finish with a 10-3 overall and 8-0 league finish, and a trip to the FCS playoffs.
After guiding the Bulldogs to their second MEAC title in the decade and the school’s first playoff appearance in 26 years, Pough received many postseason honors, among them MEAC Coach of the Year, Washington Pigskin and 100 Percent Wrong Club MEAC Coach of the Year accolades, and Palmetto State Coach of the Year as selected The State newspaper, and the Orangeburg Touchdown Club. Pough was also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is given to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Pough became the 14th head football coach at South Carolina State in the fall of 2002, taking over the reins from legendary Bulldog coach Willie Jeffries, who retired after 19 years at the helm. He posted a 7-5 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the MEAC in his inaugural season in 2002 and has had a winning campaign in each of his seventh seasons. In 2003, he guided the Bulldogs to an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in MEAC play, losing only to Hampton and Bethune- Cookman.
Along with the 2008 season, the 2004 campaign can be considered another one of the team’s best under Pough, as the Bulldogs produced the first-of-two consecutive 9-2 campaigns. SC State was 6-2 in MEAC play that season, tying the Hampton Pirates for the 2004 championship. In 2005, Pough’s team duplicated the 9-2 record of the previous year and improved to 7-1 in the MEAC, with the lone league loss coming at the hands of eventual champion and nationally-ranked Hampton.
Prior to taking the reins at South Carolina State, 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 SEC. USC made back-to-back appearances in the Outback Bowl in 2000 and 2001.
Before going to USC, Pough was on 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.
An Orangeburg native and former offensive lineman for SC State, Pough helped the Bulldogs amass a 16-6-1 record during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, a span in which SC State suffered just two MEAC losses and captured a pair of league titles.
After graduating in 1975, he joined the staff at nearby Orangeburg-Wilkinson High (1976-79), before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1979. The Bulldogs made consecutive trips to the Div. 1-AA playoffs (1981 & 1982) during his tenure as an assistant.
Pough and his wife, Josie, are the parents of two sons—Oliver, IV (Bud), a former wide receiver at The Citadel, and Lee Judson, a student at SC State.