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Fisher DeBerry Foundation

Mike Ayers
Head Football Coach
Wofford
1988 - Present

For the past twenty-one seasons, the leader of the Wofford football program has been head coach Mike Ayers. In those twenty-one seasons, Ayers has guided the Terriers from the NCAA Division II ranks to Division I and the Southern Conference. Along the way, the team made appearances in the Division II Playoffs in 1990 and 1991, the Division I Playoffs in 2003, 2007 and 2008, and claimed Southern Conference titles in 2003 and 2007.

The story of Mike Ayers as head coach at Wofford began in 1988. The Terrier football program had fallen on desperate times. A program that had a proud history, with bowl game appearances and wins over Southeastern Conference teams on its resume, had fallen on hard times. The 1987 team had gone 1-10, been shutout twice and scored just 87 points in 11 games while surrendering more than 26 points per game.

Enter Mike Ayers. The young, energetic coach had built East Tennessee State into a Southern Conference contender and had knocked off Atlantic Coast Conference opponent North Carolina State in 1987. Over milkshakes at the Biltmore Dairy Bar in Asheville, N.C., Wofford Athletic Director Danny Morrison and President Joe Lesesne discussed the opportunity with Ayers. A few days later, he was introduced as head coach.

Ayers’ impact on the Terriers was immediate. He magically transformed that 1-10 Wofford team into a .500 squad in 1988 and then led the Terriers to an NCAA Division II playoff berth in 1990.

Now, over 20 years later, Ayers is the head coach of a Terrier team that, over the last six years, has been the epitome of success within the Southern Conference. Since the start of the 2002 season, Wofford has posted a 60-24 overall record, a winning percentage of .714 that only three-time national champion Appalachian State has bettered.

In 2007, Ayers marked his 20th season at the helm of Wofford football. He is the longest-serving head coach of any sport in school history. Gene Alexander coached Terrier basketball for 19 seasons from 1958-77.

For 21 seasons, Ayers has instilled his own intensity, character and pride into his teams. He has recruited the type of student-athletes that fit the academic profile of Wofford (the college has an average SAT score of 1237). With 35 victories, the 2005 seniors graduated as the winningest class in school history while the 2006 seniors were the second-winningest class. Wofford’s winning percentage of .670 in the 2000s makes this the winningest decade in the school’s long football history.