Bob Prevatte Statue Unveiling To Highlight June 6 Dedication Ceremony At Limestone
The third and final dedication at Limestone College this spring will take place on Thursday, June 6, at 10 a.m. with a ceremony to officially open the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex.
The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of the Bob Prevatte statue that will be located near the Saints’ football practice facility off Leadmine Street in Gaffney.
The legacy of the renowned Gaffney High School coach and educator has a permanent home at Limestone thanks to a $4.1 million gift from Jerry Richardson. Prevatte was Richardson’s high school football coach in Fayetteville, NC and the two have remained life-long friends.
Limestone recently dedicated Shannon Hamrick Park and the Cunning Victory Bell Tower. Both facilities are located inside the Prevatte Complex.
The public is invited to attend the upcoming ceremony. Parking will be available in a nearby lot on Hetty Hill Street. Overflow parking will be available in a lot behind Montgomery Hall on the main campus. From there, using the new campus connector that is part of the Prevatte project, visitors can take the short walk to the dedication site at the statue location.
Speakers at the event will include Prevatte, Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker, and the College’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino.
Sculpted by artist Todd Andrews of Grass Valley, CA, the bronze statue of a kneeling Prevatte measures nearly nine-foot tall. To develop a model for the statue, Andrews used historical photos of the coach and memorabilia owned by Prevatte.
Andrews, whose career spans over 30 years, produced six monumental panthers to grace the entrances to the NFL stadium in Charlotte. His many works also include the development of two separate statues of Richardson that stand at Bank of America Stadium and at Wofford College.
“The statue of Coach Prevatte at Limestone is the true centerpiece of the project, so it seems only fitting that we hold the dedication ceremony were it will be unveiled,” Parker said. “Bob Prevatte was not only a legendary coach, but he was a dedicated educator he remains a mentor to so many. We are excited about celebrating his legacy on June 6 and having this complex tell his story to generations to follow.”
The founder and former owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Richardson has called Prevatte a significant influence upon his character and his eventual success. Richardson and his wife, Rosalind, attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the complex in April of last year.
In addition to the statue and new entrances and signage, the Prevatte Complex is providing aesthetic enhancements and many new elements to the campus. Some of those include a new artificial turf practice field, permanent seating at Saints Field (which hosts lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey), community gathering spots, decorative fencing, and more. The campus connector walkways and a bridge physically connect the academic portion of Limestone’s property to the athletics complex.
Through a gift by Richardson at the time, Limestone’s baseball field was named after Prevatte in 1988, and following extensive renovations, the field was re-dedicated to Prevatte in 2015.
After graduating high school, Prevatte joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II. He then entered Wofford College where he played blocking back for the Terrier football team. He was named a Small College All-American at Wofford and won the Jacob’s Blocking Trophy, given to the best blocker in South Carolina college football. His Wofford team of 1949 went undefeated and earned a trip to the Cigar Bowl in Tampa. Prevatte was inducted into the Wofford College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1980.
Before he graduated from Wofford in 1950, Prevatte met and married Marie Ostergard. They would have four children together. He later went on to earn his Master’s degree from Western Carolina University in 1966.
Richardson credits Prevatte for a recommendation that helped earn him a football scholarship to Wofford in 1954. Richardson ultimately broke several Wofford records as a wide receiver and become an Associated Press Little All American. He was drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts and was the team’s Rookie of the Year.
After six years as an assistant in North Carolina, Prevatte become the head coach at Gaffney High in 1956. Prevatte’s GHS football teams won five AAA state championships and he was named the state’s “Coach of the Year” four times. Prevatte never had a losing record during any of his 14 seasons leading the Indians’ football team, compiling a Gaffney football coaching record of 129-29-11 before retiring in 1969.
Prevatte, who also coached baseball at Gaffney, was selected as the head football coach for the North-South All-Star Game in 1959 and the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in 1965. He was tabbed as a Shrine Bowl assistant coach in 1960.
Prior to Prevatte’s arrival, the four previous head coaches at Gaffney had a combined record of 82-90-12 over an 18-year time period.
Previously serving as a teacher and assistant principal at Gaffney High, and was once recognized as “Teacher of the Year,” Prevatte was named Principal at West Junior High in 1968. It was that year that Granard High School and Gaffney High School merged as part of school integration in Cherokee County. The former Granard High School building was re-named as West Junior High, and Prevatte was named the Principal to help lead the new school’s transition through the integration process.
Prevatte was also known as a community leader who took part in numerous charity projects. He was once named “Young Man of the Year” by the Gaffney Jaycees.
Hired by Richardson in 1971, Prevatte had a successful career in management at Spartan Foods, the corporation that became the nation's largest Hardee's franchise. He was named Executive Vice President of the corporation before he retired in 1987.
Gaffney High’s original “Reservation” stadium field was named after Prevatte in 1993.
Prevatte received the Distinguished Service Award from the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association in 1996, and a year later, he was inducted into the South Carolina Athletics Coaches Hall of Fame. Prevatte was installed into the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Bob Prevatte Education Foundation was set up in 2007 after his former Gaffney High players raised over $130,000 to fund yearly scholarships in his honor.
In 2014, the Touchstone Energy North-South All-Star Football Game was dedicated to Prevatte.