Evans "Buck" George Jr., who served as assistant chief of the Catawba Indian Nation for more than three decades after a career as one of Clemson University's greatest football stars, died Sunday, tribal leaders said. He was in his early 80s.
For more than 50 years, George held records at Clemson, where he was a running back from 1951 to 1954. He held Clemson's single-game rushing record - 204 yards against Presbyterian College in 1951 - that was not topped until last year. His 90-yard run against Furman in 1951 is one of the longest plays from scrimmage in team history.
George was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1955 but a knee injury kept him from playing in the NFL. George, a Clemson graduate in textiles, worked at the Rock Hill Celanese plant for years before retiring.
Born and raised in Rock Hill, George was instrumental in the tribe's gaining state and federal recognition during his time as a tribal leader, said former Catawba Chief Gilbert Blue, chief for more than 35 years when George was assistant chief.
"Buck George was his whole life an advocate for native Americans," Blue said. "I will miss him as a friend and the Catawba people will miss him."
George spent decades trying to improve the lives of the Catawba people, said Bill Harris, current chief of the Catawba tribe.
"Buck George stayed involved in the affairs of his people his entire adult life," Harris said.