Year 2021 – Dr. Joe Lesesne

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SCFHOF Names Former Wofford College President and Assistant Football Coach Dr. Joab Lesesne the 2021 Humanitarian of the Year presented by Curry PA.

Greenville, SC: The South Carolina Football Hall of Fame (SCFHOF) announced today that former Wofford College President and long-time volunteer Terrier football coach and administrator, Dr. Joab Lesesne, is named the 2021 Humanitarian of the Year presented by Curry PA (Go to for your accounting needs!).  Dr. Lesesne will be honored at the SCFHOF’s 9th Annual Enshrinement Ceremony & Benefit on April 29th alongside the Class of 2021 (Jeff Bostic, Peter Boulware, Dwayne Harper, Chester McGlockton, and Rick Sanford), and 2021 Blanchard-Rogers Trophy (SC Heisman) recipient Grayson McCall of Coastal Carolina. Limited space is available, and seats can be purchased at while seat are still available, they are going fast!

Dr. Joab “Joe” Mauldin Lesesne, Jr. was born on June 21, 1937, in Greenville, SC.  He graduated from Dixie High School (but played football at Abbeville High School), where he played basketball and baseball there and at Erskine College. His father was the President at Erskine College in Due West, where Dr. Lesesne earned his B.A. in 1959.  He earned his master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in 1961 and then his Ph.D. in history in 1967.  Dr. Lesesne quickly made a name for himself in the academic world with a brief stint at what is now Coastal Carolina University and then at Wofford College between 1964-1972 before being named Wofford’s ninth President in 1972.  A leadership role he held until his “retirement” in 2000. 

While President of Wofford, he led Wofford through some of its most pivotal growth as an institution academically, athletically, and physically on campus as he ushered in the coeducation of Wofford (the school allowing women to attend) and many of the modern athletic facilities for which Wofford is known, such as Gibbs Stadium and the Richardson Physical Activities Building.  He led Wofford College as a D1 athletic program into the Southern Conference and home to the Carolina Panthers Training Camp.

Dr. Lesesne’s leadership and educational acumen established him as a state and national leader in education. He served on the SC Tuition Grants Commission, SC Human Affairs Commission, SC Research Authority, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Independent Colleges, and Universities and was a member of the board of the American Council of Education.  Dr. Lesesne also served as the director of the Spartanburg County Foundation and of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, Dr. Lesesne was an active enlisted or officer member of the South Carolina Army National Guard for 36 years, in which he now holds the rank of major general, retired.

After his “retirement” as President of Wofford, Dr. Lesesne continued to teach history classes and serve as a volunteer assistant football coach.  As a football coach, he served as a Wofford assistant between 1965-1968, and then returned to coaching after his time as President to work with the tight ends (2001-2004).  He became the director of football operations for the legendary Coach Mike Ayers where he served in that capacity until 2016.  At that time, Dr. Lesesne took a step back in his role to become an advisor to Coach Ayers and the athletic department, which he still does to this day.  He and wife of nearly 64 years, Ruth, have four children, eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

SCFHOF Chairman and President David S. Wyatt says, “Dr. Joab Lesesne has invested his considerable talents as a leader in academics, athletics, business, and the military.  His leadership in building bridges among all these groups epitomizes the spirit behind the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame Humanitarian of the Year.  We are honoring those in the state leading our students and communities to excellence through football!”

Join the SCFHOF, Dr. Lesesne and a great group of honorees April 28th and 29th to support the #SCTop10N2030 Campaign by attending their Enshrinement Events. On the evening of April 28th at Zen the SCFHOF will honor their Bridge Builder Excellence Award Finalists and winner and then on April 29th, Dr. Lesesne, the Class of 2021, and the Blanchard-Rogers Trophy recipient will be honored at the Hilton Greenville off Haywood Road. Limited space is available for both events and are on sale now HERE while seats are still available. Don’t delay!

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