College Football

Former Hilton Head resident Jim Carlen on College Football Hall of Fame ballot

After coaching West Virginia, Texas Tech and South Carolina, Carlen started program at Hilton Head Christian Academy

sports@islandpacket.comMarch 6, 2013 

Jim Carlen

Former Hilton Head Island resident Jim Carlen is among the 77 players and five coaches on the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame released Tuesday by the National Football Foundation.

Carlen, who died in June at the age of 79, led his teams -- West Virginia, Texas Tech and South Carolina -- to eight bowl games and 13 winning seasons in 16 years as a head coach.

He was the 1973 National Coach of the Year, a three-time Southwest Conference Coach of the Year and coached Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers at South Carolina.

Carlen, who spent much of his time on Hilton Head Island after his 1981 retirement, started the football program at Hilton Head Christian Academy.

Carlen also worked in banking and real estate development, and served nearly two decades on the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority board of directors, including stints as chairman, according to officials with the utility.

Carlen compiled a 45-36-1 record from 1975 to 1981 at South Carolina. Only Steve Spurrier (66) and Rex Enright (64) have won more games as USC's head coach. Carlen also was USC's athletics director during his seven years in Columbia.

Carlen's 31-13 upset of No. 3 North Carolina in 1981 stood as the Gamecocks' biggest victory until Spurrier's 2010 team knocked off No. 1 Alabama.

After playing football at Georgia Tech under coach Bobby Dodd, Carlen spent four years in the Air Force before returning to coach under Dodd.

Carlen got his first head coaching job at West Virginia and went 25-13-3 from 1966 to 1969. His final season there was his best -- the Mountaineers won 10 games and defeated South Carolina in the Peach Bowl.

When Carlen left for Texas Tech, he was replaced by one of his coordinators, Bobby Bowden.

Carlen coached the Red Raiders from 1970 to 1974 and compiled a 37-20-2 record. Overall, Carlen was 108-69-6, including a 2-5-1 record in bowls.

Carlen twice came out of coaching retirement to coach local high schools.

In 1993, he oversaw the Thomas Heyward Academy football team for a season as a favor to headmaster John Rogers.

Then, he helped Hilton Head Christian Academy start its football program, coaching the Eagles in their first year of junior-varsity competition in 2001 and their first varsity season in 2002. He then helped pick his successor, Tommy Lewis, who led the Eagles to four SCISAA 2-A state championships in 10 seasons.

Also on the ballot is former South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe.

The ballot was mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class.

The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live at a noon press conference May 7 in New York City and inducted at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

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