Presbyterian College mourns South Carolina’s winningest girls’ basketball coach

Presbyterian College mourns South Carolina’s winningest girls’ basketball coach

Coach John Thames Photo credit: ManningLive

Coach John Thames Photo credit:

On Nov. 18, John Franklin Thames, a 1957 alumnus of Presbyterian College passed away in his home.

Thames was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and a ROTC graduate. He served as a tank platoon leader as a part of the U.S. Army in Korea from 1958-1959.

After serving, Thames returned to his hometown where he became a U.S. history teacher and girls’ basketball coach at Manning High School for the next 55 years. He is best known for having the most wins in girls’ basketball in the state’s history, with 828 wins of the 1,200 games he coached.

“Coach John Thames was the dean of women’s basketball coaches in the South Carolina High School League,” said Randy Randall, a 1975 alumnus of the college and commissioner for South Carolina’s Third Congressional District. “He was a great coach, a gentleman, a wonderful influence on the young ladies he coached, and one of the best Blue Hose. He brought honor to Presbyterian College through his career and the way he lived his life.”

In 2000, Thames was added to the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame. The following year, PC named him the recipient of the Bob Waters Award as a distinguished alumnus who provided outstanding leadership to society in the profession of athletic coaching and who personified the values of excellence and integrity held dear to the College.

In addition, in 1993, the Clarendon school District 2 school board named the Manning High School gymnasium the John Franklin Thames Arena in his honor. On his 70th birthday, Thames received the Order of the Crescent from former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

Thames retired in 2014 and was honored by the South Carolina General Assembly for his service.



Presbyterian College is located on a striking 240-acre campus in Clinton, between Columbia and Greenville, S.C. Offering challenging academics and a culture of honor, ethics, and service that prepares students to be leaders in communities, PC offers its students the benefit of engaging with an exceptional faculty who take individual interest in their students’ well-being, both personally and in the classroom. The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy opened in 2010, and is dedicated to the ideals of leadership, honor to the profession, and service to the community. For more information about Presbyterian College, visit