A host of Newberry College student athletes packed Eleazer Arena on Thursday for the welcome back dinner and to induct three alumni into the Newberry Athletics Hall of Fame.
Newberry College alumni Katey Satcher Felts, Dennis Swygert and Tom Williamson were inducted into the Newberry Athletics Hall of Fame and will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s football game verses Elizabeth City State.
KATEY SATCHER FELTS
Katey Satcher Felts was one of the most successful female athletes at Newberry College in her time playing basketball and softball for the Lady Indians from 1997 to 2002.
Felts says that 10 years ago when she graduated that she did not believe she would receive the honor.
“This is the best achievement an athlete can receive,” said Felts, adding she knew that Newberry College was the right school for her to be at.
She added she came in with a great teammates and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
“My four years at Newberry College were amazing,” she said.
She played basketball for her freshman year and part of her sophomore year before a knee injury limited her to one sport.
Katey played 205 consecutive games at shortstop for the Lady Indians’ softball team, only missing the first eight games of her freshman season because of basketball season.
She was First Team All-South Atlantic Conference in 2001 and 2002 and Second Team All-South Atlantic Conference in 2000.
In her senior season she led the conference with a .430 batting average, six triples and 16 walks.
She finished her career with a .380 batting average, 84 RBIs, 45 walks and 21 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
Katey was also a standout in the classroom, becoming the first Newberry student-athlete to be named a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. She was also an eight-time honoree on the South Atlantic Conference Honor Roll and was a 2002 nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.
She was a four-year dean’s list member and received both the W.L. Laval and Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards in 2002.
After graduating summa cum laude in 2002 with a degree in psychology, Katey went on to receive her master’s in speech language pathology from the University of South Carolina, graduating with the most outstanding student award in 2004.
She now lives in Georgetown with her husband Jase Felts and daughters Satcher and Mary Miller.
Dennis Swygert came to Newberry College in 1964 and played four years of football for the Indians, with a two-year stint as a sergeant in the United States Army in between.
Swygert got the biggest cheers during the evening as the players he volunteer coaches on the football team rallied around him.
He was also presented with a helmet from the 1969 team.
Swygert was both player and coach for the school and says it he sees the photos of those who were named to the hall of fame hanging up each day.
“I am proud to have my plaque on the wall and humbled,” said Swygert, adding he he loves, respects and played the game with passion and at times without respect to his body and reckless abandonment. “I enjoyed knocking people down.”
He adds he is living a dream by coaching with his son, Todd Knight and the other coaches and players.
“I was not Newberry born; my wife was. She is a good woman. I was Newberry bred and will die Newberry dead,” said Swygert.
The player and coach was a formidable force at end, playing both ways. Swygert was named All-Carolinas Conference in 1965, 1966 and 1969. He was an all-NAIA District Six selection in 1966, and also made the All-State and Honorable Mention Lutheran All-American team that season as the team’s leading receiver.
After Newberry, Swygert entered the coaching ranks starting with assistant coaching positions at Chester, Northwestern, Berkeley, Cainhoy, St. Stephens, Summerville and Fort Dorchester High Schools.
He earned his first head coaching position at Stratford High School in 1983. He was also head coach at Berkeley High School from 1989 to 1992.
Swygert is most recently known for his work as volunteer assistant for the Wolves’ football team since 2009. He has become known as a great motivator and teacher of young men.
He has been married to Jan Bennett since 1979 and is the proud father of Bennett, Amanda and Christian.
Tom Williamson came to Newberry in 1970 after a stellar high school career at Thomson High School in Georgia, where he was all-state in football and baseball and helped lead the football team to two state championships and a 34-1 record in his time there.
Williamson said his talent was God given and through playing ball was the only way he could attend Newberry College and get an excellent education.
“I love football and the life lessons it has,” said Williamson, adding those life lessons transferred into the game of life,
He then encouraged the gym full of student athletes and supporters to enjoy their life at Newberry College, to “soak it up” and to support other teams.
“These were the best years of my life,” he said of his time at Newberry College.
He was the all-around player on the football field for the Indians starting four years at quarterback and doing all of the placekicking and punting as well.
At the time of his graduation, Williamson was the career record holder in every passing category with 203 completions on 466 attempts for 2,723 yards and 17 touchdowns, all while directing a triple option offense. He was just the fourth person in Newberry football history to have over 1,000 yards of total offense in one season.
In his senior season he was a team captain, all-NAIA District 6, all-state and honorable mention Lutheran All-American.
He was also a relief pitcher for the Indians’ baseball team for two seasons.
Tom met his wife, Debbie, at Newberry College and the couple has three children - Blake, Eric and Jenny. He now owns his own insurance agency in Anderson and enjoys golf, running, gardening and spending time with his grandchildren.