Head Football Coach
South Carolina State
2002 - Present
Oliver “Buddy” Pough is in his 15th season as head football coach at South Carolina State, his alma mater. During a 14-year tenure at the school where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s, as well as All-MEAC honors as an offensive lineman, Pough has compiled an overall record of 112-51 and an 87-24 MEAC worksheet. His teams have also captured two MEAC titles (2008 & 2009) outright, shared four others (2004, 2010, 2013 and 2014), and made four trips to the prestigious FCS playoffs (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013). His overall and conference records at SC State trail only Jeffries.
SC State had its best turnaround in 2013 with a 9-4 overall, 7-1 MEAC record after suffering their first losing season under Pough at 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the MEAC in 2012. In 2011, the Bulldogs compiled a 7-4 overall worksheet and were 6-2 in the MEAC. During the 2010 season, Pough’s team finished 9-3 and was 7-1 in the MEAC to tie for the championship after winning the title outright in both 2009 and 2008. His squad also earned its third straight berth to the FCS playoffs and finished the 2010 campaign ranked high in all of the HBCU and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) polls.
In 2009, SC State was 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’s 2009 squad finished 10-3 overall, captured its second consecutive MEAC crown with an unblemished 8-0 record and made back-to-back appearances in the FCS playoffs. The Orangeburg native reaped Coach of the Year honors in the MEAC -- his second in as many seasons – and also earned the accolade from The (Columbia, SC) State newspaper, the Washington Pigskin Club, the 100 Percent Wrong Club of Atlanta and the Orangeburg Touchdown Club.
His 2008 squad was just as impressive, finishing 10-2 and winning the MEAC title with an 8-0 mark, the team’s first outright title in 14 seasons, and returning to the FCS playoffs for the first time since the 1982 campaign.
Pough became the 14th head football coach at South Carolina State, while posting a 7-5 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the MEAC in his inaugural season in 2002. 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 last three campaigns (2008-10), the 2004 season can be considered another one of the team’s best under Pough, as the Bulldogs produced the first-of-two consecutive 9-2 seasons. 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.
Following a couple of 7-4 records in 2006 and 2007, the Bulldogs had 10 win seasons in each of the next two campaigns -- 2008 (10-3) and 2009 (10-2). SC State was also a perfect 8-0 in the MEAC both years.
Pough has coached a number of players who have gone on to play in the National Football League, including six who are currently on NFL rosters – Joe Thomas (Green Bay Packers), Raphael Bush (New Orleans Saints), Phillip Adams (Seattle Seahawks), Marshall McFadden (Oakland Raiders) , Kimario McFadden (Atlanta Falcons) and Jakar Hamilton (Dallas Cowboys).
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 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.
In his final two seasons (1973 and 1974) as a player for SC State, the Orangeburg native and former offensive lineman helped the Bulldogs to a 15-7-1 record, a league crown and back-to-back postseason appearances seasons. 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 “Bud” IV and Lee Judson and a daughter-in-law, Dr. Natalie Odom Pough.
Pough has one granddaughter Taylor Michelle.