Replica of Limestone's Bob Prevatte Statue Presented To Cherokee County History & Arts Museum

Charles Wyatt
Prevatte Statue Replica Presentation

Limestone University recently presented a replica of its Bob Prevatte statue that will soon be on display inside the Sports Hall of Fame at a local museum.

The statue replica of the legendary Gaffney High football coach and educator will be a featured item in the Sports Zone area of the Cherokee County History & Arts Museum located on College Drive in Gaffney. It was presented recently to Cherokee Historical and Preservation Society Executive Director Pam Cazel by Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino.

The Sports Zone is in the new wing of the local museum that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2022. The Cherokee Historical and Preservation Society had originally hoped to open the new wing, located on the Montgomery Street side of the museum, this year. However, supply chain issues have pushed the grand opening back to next spring.

The Hall of Fame is part of the Sports Zone and will incorporate local sports legends and achievements into interactive experiences that both educate and entertain visitors. It is connected to the Training Room, an education area that will utilize interactive opportunities to teach about the science of sports, while exposing visitors to the area’s rich sports heritage.

“Coach Prevatte was Gaffney football in the 1950s and ’60s,” Cazel said after receiving the statue replica. “Many of his players are my friends who went on to be very successful in their respective careers. They all say that Coach Prevatte’s early leadership helped them tremendously in achieving their life goals. What an inspirational figure in sports and education.

“We are so honored and excited to have this statue as a centerpiece of the Sports Hall of Fame,” she added. “As a Limestone alumna, I am particularly proud that we keep reinforcing that bond between the museum, the University, and our community with opportunities like this.”

Prevatte’s legacy found its forever home at Limestone with the dedication of the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex in 2019. The statue, which is located on campus near the Limestone football practice facility on Leadmine Street, was unveiled during the dedication ceremony.

The Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex was made possible 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.

Richardson and Prevatte also have replicas of the statue.

Sculpted by artist Todd Andrews of Grass Valley, CA, the actual bronze statue at Limestone features a kneeling Prevatte measuring over eight-feet tall.

“One of the many goals we had for the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex was to make the statue of Coach Prevatte the focal point of the true community entrance into our athletic facilities,” Cerino explained. “We are so happy that Coach Prevatte’s story is also being told at the Cherokee County History & Arts Museum and that the statue replica will be prominently displayed as part of the telling of that amazing story.”

In addition to the statue, the Prevatte Complex includes a campus connector with walkways that physically connect the academic portion of Limestone’s property to the athletics complex. The gift from Richardson also encompassed many aesthetic enhancements and new elements to the campus. Some of those included new signage, an artificial turf practice field that Limestone named for the former Carolina Panthers owner, permanent seating at Saints Field, community gathering spots, decorative fencing, and more.

“Limestone is very grateful to be the home of the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex and his bigger-than-life statue,” Parker said. “Providing a replica of the statue for the Hall of Fame section of the local museum is another way to honor the role he played as a coach and educator, and later in life as a business man.”

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.

Gaffney High’s original “Reservation” stadium field was named after Prevatte in 1993.

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.

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.

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.

ACCOMPANYING PHOTO: Cherokee Historical and Preservation Society Executive Director Pam Cazel (far right) receives the Bob Prevatte statue replica from Limestone Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino (left) and the University’s President Dr. Darrell Parker.