It was meant to be the apex of Finis Horne's career.
There he stood in front of a crowded room just more than two years ago at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center ready to make his speech on being inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
The spotlight was on him. His focus, meanwhile, was on others.
You know, the ones who made his induction possible.
He asked everyone else associated with him to also stand up at the banquet. Then, he asked his family to stand up. He asked former Lander players and coaches to stand up. And last, but not least, Horne even asked the "Lander Family" - close to 100 attendees - to stand up, as well as the members of the district his team used to compete in.
"I didn't get here alone," was a phrase Horne used often that night.
Horne did not have to say that, mind you. Not someone who, by himself, jump-started a college athletics program from scratch while also coaching a men's basketball team. Not someone who won almost 500 games (491, to be exact) and took his team to back-to-back conference championship wins and appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament.On a night when it would have been OK for Horne to soak in a little of the glory, he preferred everyone else be involved in the celebration, too.
It was what made him different. It was what made him endearing to Lander.
Horne, an Order of the Palmetto recipient who died Sunday morning at age 77, will be remembered as much for his selflessness as his vision. His vision was what propelled Lander from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. His vision to lure then-basketball players like Jeff May helped the program blossom even more.
In fact, the complex which hosts most of the fall and spring Lander sports is named after none other than May, who now is the school's athletic director
That's what Horne preferred to talk about: his co-workers, his players, his fellow coaches, anyone associated with Lander. Just as long as Horne did not have to talk about himself.
That's not how Horne was wired.
And, that's why he will be missed.
Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 223-1813; e-mail email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY . Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.