COLUMBIA, S.C. — Herman Belton, who guided Benedict College to a national championship in 2004, is returning to Benedict as head men’s and women’s golf coach, the school announced Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to bring back one of the finest coaches in Benedict history,” Willie Washington, Benedict director of athletics, said. “He has a proven track record and we are excited about the future of the golf program with Coach Belton.
Belton, a native of Camden, South Carolina, entered the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school. Shortly after completion of his military tour of duty, which included stops in France, Spain, Italy, South America and Great Britain, Belton entered Benedict College as a non-traditional student and was a standout member of the men’s golf team. He graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in criminal justice with dual minors in religion and philosophy. While at Benedict, he was a three-time recipient of the Bill Dickey Scholarship.
His first coaching job was at his alma mater, coaching the men’s and women’s golf teams and earning the distinction of being the youngest African-American golf coach in the country. He guided the men’s golf team to the Division II National Minority Collegiate Championship in 2004 and was named Benedict Men’s Coach of the Year in ’05.
“I’m excited to be back home,” Belton said. “It’s all about education. Our teams will participate to the best of our ability in the game of golf and hopefully get back into the circle of being champions. My philosophy is education is primary and golf is secondary. I’m an educator first, and a coach second.”
From 2006-09, Belton served as the men’s and women’s golf coach at South Carolina State. In just one year, he led the women’s golf team to its first first-place win and facilitated its nvitation to participate in the National Minority Collegiate Championship tournament. The South Carolina State’s men’s team won the Hall of Fame Golf Tournament in Atlanta. He went on to have a player win the Division I individual title at the PGA Minority tournament in 2009, nearly breaking the course record.
Belton recently served as head men’s golf coach at Paine College, where he helped guide the Lions to the 2012 SIAC championship. He was named SIAC Coach of the Year, and had a player named SIAC Player of the Year.
Belton has served on the prestigious South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel.
Determined to serve as a role model to youth — especially the at-risk and disenfranchised — Belton volunteers in communities and sponsors golf clinics that serve to offset anti-social behaviors of the target population. His community service includes being a former board member at Palmetto Place, a shelter for foster children.