Casey Manning, trailblazer, inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame

Casey Manning – USC Athletics photo.

Despite a leaning to attend school out of state, Casey Manning opted to become a trailblazer in his home state of South Carolina.

Following 50 years of involvement with the University of South Carolina, Manning is part of the 2018 Class inducted to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.

The first African-American to play basketball for USC, Manning has parlayed that experience into much more. A long time Circuit Court Judge, the Dillon native has also served as the Gamecocks basketball radio color analysts for the last 25 years.

If he stuck to his earliest instincts, none of that might have happened.

“I was one of the first African-Americans to attend Dillon High School in 1965,” said Manning. “My cousin and I were in the accelerated AA class so, for four years we were in class with the smartest and brightest kids and I was an honor roll student.

“So many things I experienced at Dillon High, by the time I got to the University of South Carolina, it was old hat. I had to deal with a few situations, but I had pretty much already dealt with most.”

Rated the best high school basketball player in the state his senior season, Manning had many college options. That had him thinking continuing his career out of state.

“I wanted to go to Davidson,” said Manning. “I didn’t particularly want to be the first African-American anywhere. There is an old saying that it’s tough on pioneers and it’s true. The saying is most pioneers end up in a shallow grave alongside some path far off the main drag.

“That’s what happens to a lot of pioneers, not all of them. It’s tough, but it was universal. It was across the board whether it was the University of South Carolina, the University of Tennessee or anywhere in 1969 it would have been the same thing.”

Manning understands his situation was the same for many in his day, pointing out Charley Scott at North Carolina and Mike Malloy at Davidson as two examples.

While there were trials and tribulations, Manning was happy with his time at USC, so much so that he opted to extend his relationship through the radio.

Manning ran into a different scenario on the basketball court. There is was less about race and more about competition.

“A lot of guys didn’t want to see you do well because they didn’t want you to take their playing time,” said Manning. “It was more of an athletic competition than a racial thing.

“I remember Terry Holland, who recruited me at Davidson, telling me ‘it’s not what you do during four years of college, but what you do for 40 years.’ That hit home with me because I’m not sitting here today because of the four years I spent at South Carolina, to me it’s a lifetime achievement thing.”

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