PELION, S.C. — Two well-accomplished members of Pelion High’s athletic history entered the school’s hall of fame this season. And they just happen to be father and son.
PHS honored Ben and Dalton Freeman during the September 29, 2017 home football game. As coach and player, they both bring a lengthy list of accomplishments to the PHS Hall of Fame.
Ben Freeman worked as head football coach and athletic director at PHS for 25 years, in addition to serving as president of the South Carolina Football Coaches Association, South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association, and South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association.
As head football coach at PHS, Freeman won 120 games and two region championships in 2000 and 2006. His 2013 team reached the Upper State finals, a PHS best. His 2000 region championship team boasted a perfect 10–0 regular season record. Aside from the win-loss record, Coach Freeman had a profound impact on thousands of PHS student-athletes. Approximately 15 of his players have played at the collegiate level, including the only Division I college football players in PHS history.
Freeman’s career awards include Region Coach of the Year six times, Region Athletic Director of the Year 11 times, the State Athletic Director of the Year in 2002 and 2A Athletic Director of the Year in 2006. He’s also the only two-time recipient of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association State Award of Merit. In 2015, he joined the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, then was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame in 2016.
During his years at PHS, Dalton Freeman earned All-Conference in football, golf, and track, becoming the first Panther football player to receive a full Division I football scholarship. He played in the Shrine Bowl, won statewide lineman of the year, and was named to the All-State football team several times as both an offensive and defensive lineman. He graduated in 2008 with honors.
Freeman continued playing at Clemson University, where he was a 4-year starter and team captain, first-team All-American, two-time Remington Trophy finalist, and National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award winner.
Freeman earned the chance to play in the NFL upon graduation from Clemson. He played two years with the New York Jets, where he started more than 20 games, before playing for the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills, receiving three game balls for outstanding performances.