The Southern Conference office announced the 2018 Hall of Fame class Wednesday afternoon and The Citadel is represented by its first-ever two inductees as former baseball head coach Chalmers “Chal” Port and former head basketball coach and athletic director Les Robinson will be inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame. Also included in the class, the eighth class of inductees, are Mike Ayers (ETSU/Wofford), Ron Carter (VMI), Susan Gardner Mayhorn (Western Carolina) and Debbie Southern (Furman).
"I am delighted the Southern Conference has chosen to recognize these two outstanding representatives of The Citadel, both of whom helped shape our athletics history,” said interim director of athletics Rob Acunto. “Coach Port and Coach Robinson represented the college’s core values of Honor, Duty and Respect throughout their illustrious careers and are very deserving inductees for the Southern Conference Hall of Fame.”
Port spent 27 years (1965-91) as the head baseball coach at The Citadel, compiling a 641-386-2 (.624) overall record. To this day, he remains the winningest coach in the school’s history for any sport and he finished his career as the SoCon’s leader in overall and league wins (253). He posted a winning record in 24 of his 27 seasons at the helm of the program and he led the Bulldogs to seven SoCon championships.
He led The Citadel to five postseason NCAA Regional Tournaments and his 1990 team advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. That squad was the first and is still the only military school ever to reach the College World Series. He coached the 1990 team to a school record 26-consecutive wins and the 1990 team finished the campaign with a No. 6 ranking by Collegiate Baseball.
Port was named the Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1990 and was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year six times. He was voted the Coach of the Year for the state of South Carolina three times and was honored by The Sporting News as the National Coach of the Year in 1990.
In his 27 years of coaching, all but three of Port’s players graduated and he coached 12 future professional players. He was voted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame in 1995, The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Robinson spent a combined 20 years at The Citadel, first as the head basketball coach from 1974-85 and then as the athletic director from 2000-08 and he was recognized by The Citadel Alumni Association in 2006 as a Lifetime Honorary Alumnus. He is the only individual in NCAA history to serve as basketball coach and director of athletics at three Division I institutions (The Citadel, NC State and East Tennessee State).
As the coach of the Bulldogs’ basketball program, Robinson led the 1978-79 squad to the first-ever 20-win season in program history, earning recognition by the NCAA as the second-most improved team in America. He also directed teams that won a record 23-consecutive games in McAlister Field House and was voted Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
Robinson returned to The Citadel in 2000 as the director of athletics and served in that capacity until 2008. He was recognized as the 2007 Southeast Region’s AstroTurf Athletics Director of the Year. Under his watch, facility improvements included the revitalization of Johnson Hagood Stadium and Willson Field. Also during his tenure, the Altman Athletic Center and Inouye Marksmanship Center were constructed and opened. He spent six years as a member of the prestigious NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee. He was inducted into The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
2018 Induction Class
Mike Ayers, Football
Ron Carter, Men's Basketball
Susan Gardner Mayhorn, Women's Track & Field/Cross Country
Chal Port, Baseball
*Les Robinson, Men's Basketball/Administration
Debbie Southern, Women's Tennis
* Special Contributor