Melton Clark has long been recognized with portraits on church walls and in parochial history references. He was a professor and acting president at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He was a prominent pastor at Charleston’s Second Presbyterian Church from 1916-1920.
But his 1892 contribution as the University of South Carolina’s first football captain has been overlooked in school record books and the Gamecocks’ Hall of Captains inside Williams-Brice Stadium.
After reviewing a Dec. 24 Post and Courier story on the 125th anniversary of the Gamecocks’ first-ever football game and Clark’s role, school officials have decided to recognize Clark as captain in the 2018 media guide.
“We are currently looking at alternatives for the presentation of the Hall of Captains,” USC Executive Associate Athletic Director Charles Bloom said. “Following the determination of how we will proceed with the Hall of Captains, Melton Clark will be a part of it.”
Clark played quarterback for South Carolina College (the school’s former title) in a game played in Charleston on a sunny, chilly Christmas Eve afternoon. It wasn’t much — a 44-0 loss in a contest that looked more like rugby than present-day football.
That 1892 season lasted all of one game.
But it was the start of football fever at the state’s largest university and an 1892 Charleston News and Courier story about the game says Clark was “elected captain” at a players’ meeting.
In his 1992 book about the Gamecocks’ football history — “The First Hundred Years” — John Chandler Griffin mentioned Clark as a captain, but official records have continued to list “No captain” for 1892.
Clark graduated from South Carolina in 1895 and soon after enrolled at Columbia Theological Seminary, which later moved to Decatur, Ga. In 1896, Clark married Mary Charlotte Woodrow, first cousin of Woodrow Wilson (the 28th U.S. president spent part of his youth in Columbia). The couple had four children.
Clark died in 1946 in Jacksonville, Fla.
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