GREENVILLE, S.C. — Nield Gordon, who starred for Furman’s basketball program in the early 1950s and was a charter member of the university’s athletics hall of fame, passed away Monday evening. He was 91 years old.
Gordon, a Brunswick, Md., native who in 2002 had his Furman jersey (No. 27) retired, graduated from then Wingate (N.C.) Junior College in 1951 before coming to Furman. In two years as a member of the basketball program, he helped the Paladins go 18-6 and 21-6, respectively, and, as a senior in 1953, earned second team All-Southern Conference honors when the league still included schools such as Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland, Clemson, and South Carolina. He averaged 22.6 points per game over 51 games, including 24.3 ppg as a senior while playing alongside future Paladin All-American Frank Selvy.
After graduating from Furman in 1953, he served in the United States Army before beginning his coaching career at Belmont Abbey (N.C.) College in 1956. Following a one-year stint there, he returned to Furman as an assistant coach until accepting the head coaching position at Newberry (S.C.) College in 1962. Following a highly successful 15-year coaching tenure at Newberry, he moved on to Winthrop (S.C.) College, where in a nine-year tenure as head basketball coach and director of athletics he helped establish and direct the men’s athletic program at the previously all-female school.
In addition to his membership in Furman’s Athletic Hall of Fame (1981 charter member), he also holds membership in South Carolina, Wingate College, NAIA, and Frederick (Md.) County Sports Halls of Fame.
Gordon’s jersey is among six retired by Paladin Basketball, joining Selvy (No. 28), Darrell Floyd (No. 33), Clyde Mayes (No. 34), and Jonathan Moore (No. 25), along with Paladin head coach, Lyles Alley, who recruited Gordon to Furman.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.