Finis Horne, Lander University - Founding Father

Finis Horne, Lander University - Founding Father

The father of Lander athletics, Finis Horne (1936-2013) brought immediate respect and relevancy to the fledgling Peach Belt Athletic Conference.  A strong advocate of creating a Division II league, he is credited with creating the name 'Peach Belt.'

Horne started the first Lander men's basketball team in 1968, then, after becoming athletic director in 1971, he began adding other sports to the upstart intercollegiate program. Under his guidance, the program grew to 11 teams.

After earning 491 victories in 29 seasons, Horne retired as coach and athletic director on June 30, 1997.

Horne, who was inducted into the Lander Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 9, 1999 and the S.C. Athletics Hall of Fame in June 2011, established himself as the winningest active coach in South Carolina and recorded a 15-12 record during his final year.

Following a 21-9 record in the 1993-94 season, Horne was named the Peach Belt Athletic Conference Coach of the Year when the then-Senators won the PBAC Tournament and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

In 1994-95 the Senators did it again. Lander finished the season 21-9, won the PBAC tournament and advanced to the national tournament.

While a member of the NAIA, Lander won District 6 regular season titles in 1977-78, 1978-79 and 1979-80, and reached the District 6 tournament championship game in 1976-77, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1987-88 and 1988-89.

Horne was voted the NAIA District 6 Coach of the Year in 1972-73, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1987-88 and 1989-90; and the NAIA District 6 Administrator of the Year in 1986. He served as vice chairman of District 6 from 1974-80 and chair from 1981-86.

Horne was voted the NAIA Palmetto State Conference Coach of the Year in 1989-90; the NAIA Area 7 Coach of the Year in 1980; and the PBAC Coach of the Year in 1993-94.

Following his retirement, he served a four-year term on the Lander Board of Trustees.  He was also granted the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor a citizen of South Carolina can receive.  Inducted into the Lander University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999, the Bearcats volleyball and basketball teams still play all their home games in Finis Horne Arena.

Coach Horne was married to Dr. Bettie Horne and they have twin daughters. Nina Horne Peterson lives in Oakland, Calif., with her husband, David, and daughter, Emma. Sabra Keefe lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband John. Horne was a veteran of the US Navy, and a member of VFW, Kiwanis Club and the Greenwood First Baptist Church.

Born April 26, 1936, in Kentucky, Horne earned an associate of arts degree from Bethel (Ky.) College in 1963, a bachelor's degree in physical education from Campbellsville (Ky.) College in 1966 and a master's in physical education from Western Kentucky University in 1968. He had done postgraduate work in counseling at the University of South Carolina.

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