By Stan Welch – One of Pelzer’s most famous citizens was honored Tuesday night by the Anderson County Council. Evelyn “Eckie” Jordan was recognized for an extraordinary athletic career that included three national championships in amateur women’s basketball.
Jordan graduated from Pelzer High School in 1942, after leading the Pelzer Bears to an undefeated season and the state championship. Six years later, she moved to Winston Salem, NC where she worked for Hanes Mills. She also began playing for their team in the textile league.
In a remarkable stretch of excellence and dominance, Jordan and her teammates won an incredible 102 straight victories in American Athletic Union (AAU) competition, capturing three straight national championships in the process (1951, 1952, 1953). For perspective, the legendary UCLA teams coached by John Wooden had their longest win streak ended at 88 games.
In 1953, Eckie Jordan received the Teague Award, given to the best athlete in the Carolinas. In 1955, Jordan led the U.S. team to a gold medal in the Pan Am Games. She also excelled at tennis and softball while living in North Carolina.
She was a five time AAU All-American. She is a member of the National AAU Hall of Fame, the NC Sports Hall of Fame, and the NC Softball Hall of Fame. Her jersey rotates on display at the Smithsonian Institute with those of George Mikan and Bob Cousy, two legendary figures in basketball.
She returned to the Pelzer area to live several years ago. She is now 86 years old and is still a spirited person, who joked and laughed with the Council as they presented her resolution of acknowledgement.