'); } -->
In celebration of the 100-year rivalry between York and Clover high school football, the York School District Athletic Hall of Fame honored longtime supporters Gene Graham and Kenny Hartsoe as inductees.
Graham, a local sports writer since 1968, and Hartsoe, who has served on the York football chain crew for 43 years, were inducted into the Hall of Fame at halftime Friday at the York Comprehensive High School stadium, when the Western York County rivals met for their 100th match.
“Together, they were very special to the 100-year anniversary for the York-Clover football game because they’ve seen half of them,” York Athletic Director Steve Boyd said of Graham and Hartsoe.
Boyd said about 75 athletes have been inducted into the York Hall of Fame since it was created in 2000. He said it was established to honor athletes from Hickory Grove, Sharon, Jefferson and York high schools, which merged in the 1970s to form existing York Comprehensive High School.
“Every two years, we induct somebody into the Hall of Fame from these high schools, and people can write in and nominate them,” Boyd said. “We try to get one or two from each high school.”
However, Boyd said that organizers wanted this year to honor someone who had been closely associated with the York and Clover football rivalry game this year, in honor of the 100th meeting of the Cougars and Blue Eagles.
He said selection is based on athletic background, community service and civic involvement.
Graham began covering high school sports for the Yorkville Enquirer in 1968, having previously written about the Green Dragons as a student at York High School. His sports column, “Graham Crackers,” has won three first-place awards from the South Carolina Press Association.
He later became editor of the Enquirer, and has covered York and Clover sports since the York and Clover papers merged in the late 1990s. He played on the York High School baseball and basketball teams in 1961, and has devoted his life to the York community in many ways.
“He has always been very positive in his coverage of all sports,” the athletic department said in announcing his selection. “We cannot think of anyone who has positively influenced more young people in York than Gene Graham.”
Hartsoe, who graduated from York High School in 1956, has devoted 43 years to York football by serving on the chain crew. In that time, Boyd said, Hartsoe has only missed four varsity football games.
He also has served as a Little League baseball coach and baseball umpire for many years in York County. His children were outstanding high school athletes, and his wife, Freda, attends almost every football and baseball game, and was recognized in 2005 as YCHS Fan of the Year.
“Kenny loves York High School athletics — especially football,” the athletic department said in announcing Hartsoe’s selection. “He finds nothing more enjoyable than watching York football on Friday nights.”
Graham’s other community contributions include serving two terms on the York City Council and one on the Catawba Regional Planning Council, and working as sports director for WYCL (York) and WCMJ (Chester) radio stations.
He is a charter member of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, where he chaired the construction, served on the York school district bond referendum committee and has been a member of the Floyd D. Johnson advisory board. He worked as publicity chair for the S.C. Grape Festival, which preceded York’s Summerfest, and was named “Duke of York” for the 1991 Summerfest.
Graham has two children, Rusty and Jenny, and four grandchildren.
Hartsoe played baseball for the York Green Dragons during his high school athletic career, and was coached during that time by Coach Gene Knight.
Hartsoe’s son, Timmy, was inducted into the York Hall of Fame in 2002. Another son, Dwayne, is athletic director and head basketball coach at Fort Mill High School, and his daughter, Renee, was a three-sport athlete at York.
Hartsoe also has four grandchildren, one step grandchild and two step great grandchildren.