Ben and Dalton Freeman inducted into Pelion High School Hall of Fame
Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) Coach Ben Freeman and his son Dalton, were both inducted into the Pelion High School Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night. The induction ceremony was held during the half time of the Pelion, Brookland-Cayce game.
According to Lexington School District One, Coach Ben Freeman, who has 33 years of experience in public education, began his career in 1982 as a social studies teacher and assistant football coach. He was also the head boys’ varsity basketball coach and head golf coach at Brevard High School in Brevard, N.C. He played football during college at Wake Forest University.
In 1985, he came back to South Carolina as head football coach and athletic director at Denmark-Olar High School in Bamberg School District 2. He joined the Fairfield County School District as head football coach at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro in 1986.
In 1990, Freeman joined Lexington County School District One as head football coach and athletic director at Pelion High School. In his 25 years at PHS, Freeman coached the Panthers during their undefeated regular season of 2000 and also coached the South Team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in December of 2014.
Freeman also had the honor of coaching his son, Dalton, who played in the NFL for the New York Jets. Dalton was the first player from Pelion High School to sign a Division 1 football scholarship and earn All American status and many other accolades when he played at Clemson University.
Coach Freeman was region coach of the year five times, region athletic director nine times, WLTX Coach of the Year, the S.C. Athletic Administrators Association Coach of the Year and statewide Athletic Director of the Year, S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Charles Arthur Stewart Athletic Administrator Award recipient, National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association State Award of Merit Award recipient (only S.C. coach to win two times).
He also served as past president of the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association, S.C. Athletic Administrators Association and the S.C. Football Coaches Association. Freeman holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from Wake Forest University and is certified in middle and secondary social studies.
Dalton Freeman, the second inductee Friday night, is a true legend in regard to Pelion athletics. He won multiple athletic, and scholastic awards at PHS before being recruited to play at Clemson.
While in high school, Dalton was rated as the #13 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com, the #16 offensive guard in the nation by ESPN.com, the #9 prospect in South Carolina and #13 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com, and was a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina. He was also an Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Offensive Lineman-of-the-Year, a Shrine Bowl pick, recipient of the Wendy’s High School Heisman in South Carolina, #8 prospect in South Carolina by SuperPrep, All-American at offensive tackle, three-time all-area, all-region, and all-state selection on offense, two-time all-area and all-region pick on defense, two-time region lineman-of-the-year, offensive lineman-of-the-year by High School Sports Report and the South Carolina Football Coaches Association. Beside the accolade and many others, Dalton was recruited by, and chose Clemson over Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
After college, Dalton signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in the NFL.. He played in all 16 games during the 2014 season for the Jets, starting one. He also played for a time with the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans, and later re-signed to play with the Bills' practice squad.
Both men are outstanding leaders, and have excelled in many phases of their careers, as well as athletically. They were presented with plaques as a part of the induction ceremony.