Hall of Fame
The Dutch Fork Wrestling Hall of Fame is a lifetime dedication to outstanding services for our Dutch Fork Wrestling Program. Each member has contributed significant time and work into benefiting our Wrestlers and Program.
Hall of Fame Inducteees
It is with great honor that we welcome back and honor a longtime Dutch Fork coach and administrator Dr. Sean Alford.
Each year the Dutch Fork wrestling program recognizes an individual that has given great service and has been instrumental to the continued growth of the sport in our school and around the state. Dr. Alford began his career as a teacher in Wisconsin after earning a degree from The Citadel. He later moved to South Carolina and worked as a coach and administrator in Richland District 2 before coming to Dutch Fork. Here at Dutch Fork Dr. Alford took over our grappler program in addition to performing his administrator duties at the school and eventually district office. Numerous state placers, qualifiers, and champions came to learn about the sport of wrestling under his tutelage including current 3 time state qualifier Parker Grizzle. This year's high school group is the last of his group to make its way through our program and in their time here have set a school record for wins in a season.
After leaving District 5, Dr. Alford took over as the principal of Columbia High School. In his first year Dr. Alford over saw the creation of Columbia High's wrestling team and the hiring of current head coach and Dutch Fork alum Joe Lovier. Dr. Alford's continued support of that program has led to multiple state champions and placers leading Columbia High's program to place the phrase "The house that Sean built". Dr. Alford now resides in the lowcountry and has had 2 sons that began wrestling for him go on to earn state honors in their respective high schools.
We honor the contributions Jason Valek has made not only to Dutch Fork but to wrestling on all levels both state and nationwide. Jason began his career as a wrestler for Irmo and Dutch Fork High School wrestling for Coach BD Laprad. In 1993 Jason won the 140 pound state title becoming the first state champion in any sport at Dutch Fork. After high school, Jason went on to Clemson University graduating in 1998 with a degree in Sports Management and minors in Business Administration and Law. He has since completed academic work gaining a Masters of Teaching through the South Carolina Department of Education and he is a graduate of the Sports Leadership Academy at Michigan State University. In 2005 Valek was named the first wrestling coach in Newberry College history where he started the program from scratch.
In eight years, Valek has accumulated a career record of 151-29-2 (.810) with highlight victories over Division I foes: the University of North Carolina, Duke University, NC State University and Gardner Webb. He is currently ranked # 31 all time in career wins and # 9 in active career wins. In addition, Valek’s teams currently have the longest active streak of NCAA Super Region Championships as well as NCAA Top 8 National Finishes. He has won Coach of the Year honors on 5 occasions, twice at Newberry College and 3 times in NCAA Super Region I. He has been elected for National Coach of the Year Honors on 5 occasions finishing as national runner up in 2009 & 2010 and earned a distinguished South Carolina House of Representatives Resolution for his contributions in 2009.
His teams have compiled the following accolades under his tenure:
4 x NCAA National Championship Runner Ups: 2009-2010-2011-2012
6 x NCAA Super Region I Championships: 2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013
55 NCAA National Qualifiers
30 NCAA All Americans
4 NCAA National Champions
2 NCAA National Runner Ups
2 USA Wrestling All Americans both of whom have qualified and made the Olympic Ladder in their respective weight classes with the United Stated Olympic Wrestling Committee
4 x Takedown Report Top Team in “THE CAROLINAS” regardless of Division 2010-2011-2012-2013
10 NCAA Division II Academic All Americans
1 First Team CoSida Academic All American for Highest GPA in the Nation (Seiji Borja)
Throughout his coaching career Jason began to branch out and contribute in other ways. Starting in 2006 Jason was appointed as the Vice President of NCAA Wrestling. He was elected by his peers to serve as the President of that same organization from 2008-2012. Today he serves as the NCAA Championships Liaison to NCAA Wrestling and is in charge of all NCAA Championships, where he works with ESPN and other media outlets to publicize the events. Jason is the Division II representative on the Executive Committee for the National Wrestling Coaches Association where he serves all levels of wrestling in this capacity with his primary role being creating and implementing of new collegiate wrestling programs. Valek serves on the Executive Committee for the NCAA Division I Championships and is South Carolina Superintendent of Educations appointee on the Executive Committee of the South Carolina High School League. Valek has served as a key note speaker at both the NCAA and NWCA National Convention covering topics such as “How to build a sustainable program from the ground up” and “NCAA Wrestling Programs: The cash cow for private enrollment driven colleges”. He is also the Chair for NCAA Regional Realignment and NCAA National Rankings. Outside of Newberry Valek is a partner with Sorinex Exercise Equipment producing wrestling specific training aids and also owns of Jason Valek’s Newberry Wrestling Camps which serves approximately 1000 student athletes per summer all over the southeastern United States.
At this time we will honor the contributions Mark Buford has made not only to Dutch Fork but to high school wrestling all over South Carolina. Mark began his career as a wrestler for Irmo High School where his teams won a state championship in 1979 and were runnersup in 1980. After high school, Mark went on to UNC-Chapel Hill as a walk-on wrestler until a knee injury that required surgery sidelined his career. At this point, Mark began his coaching career. Over the years, he has coached as a volunteer at Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, then at Irmo from 1986-1992, and most recently at Dutch Fork from 1992-2003. During his time coaching at Dutch Fork, he helped produce the following:
Team State Runners-up 5 times; in ’96, ’97, ’99, ’01, and ’02
a Team State Championship in 2003
60 state placers
22 Individual State Champions
2 S.C. Senior Wrestlers of the Year
3 4A Senior Wrestlers of the Year
3 Wrestling USA Magazine High School All-Americans
1 future NCAA D2 College National Champion
During his time coaching Mark began to branch out and contribute in other ways. Starting in 1989 Mark became the USA Wrestling Magazine’s state editor. Over the next 20 years he also ran the computers for various wrestling tournaments including lower state, upperstate as well as the SC state individuals. He started scmat.com in 1997 which has compiled state wide rankings in combination with the SC Coaches Asssociation for the past 16 years as well as been a resource for historical records in South Carolina. Mark also began photographing wrestling which has been featured by various media outlets including SCMAT, FOX sports, ESPN, and the Sporting News Magazine. Wrestling USA magazine has used Mark’s photos as cover shots 13 times. Two separate cover photos used by the magazine were from the schools represented here tonight – Dutch Fork wrestler TJ Selke in 2003 and Irmo wrestler Derek Strobel in 1992. In 1993 Mark started and continued the Wall of Fame at Dutch Fork with picture posters of every top 3 placer in Dutch Fork history up to today. Mark later created or contributed to the Wall of Fame at Irmo, Lexington, Columbia, Chapin, White Knoll and Fort Dorchester.