The football field at Sumter Memorial Stadium, the very field where the late Freddie Solomon introduced the world to his talents during the first season of Sumter High School football in 1970, will be formally unveiled as Freddie Solomon Field on Friday during a ceremony prior to SHS’ game against Carolina Forest.
The ceremony, which will include the naming of the field and the unveiling of a monument, will begin at 6:30 p.m. next to the stadium press box before concluding on the field.
The field was officially named Freddie Solomon Field in February following a unanimous vote by the Sumter School District Board of Trustees.
Solomon was part of the first senior class at Sumter High when desegregation brought the student bodies of all-black Lincoln and predominantly white Edmunds together for the ‘70-71 school year.
All he did that year was rush for 1,969 yards and 28 touchdowns on 208 carries while passing for 10 touchdowns. He led the state in rushing and also in scoring with 182 points.
He followed that with a record-setting performance in the Shrine Bowl, rushing for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Then, when the North-South All-Star Game was played the following fall, he rushed for 274 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
He took his talents to the University of Tampa, where he rushed for 3,299 yards and 39 touchdowns on 557 carries, holding the NCAA record for career rushing yards by a quarterback for several years.
Solomon was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the ‘75 National Football League draft as a wide receiver. He played for the Dolphins for three years before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers prior to the ‘78 season. He ended up starting for Super Bowl-winning teams in ‘81 and ‘84.
Solomon retired following the 1985 season. He had 371 catches for 5,846 yards and 48 touchdowns in his 11-year career.
He’s a charter member of both the Sumter High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Sumter Sports Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.