March 13, 2003


GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman University wide receiver Bear Rinehart has been named South Carolina Player-of-the-Year by the Greenville Touchdown Club, it was announced today.

Rinehart, a senior from Seneca, S.C., will be presented the Banks McFadden Trophy as the state's top player for the 2002 season at the club's annual banquet, scheduled for Monday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. at Greenville's Embassy Suites Hotel. Former Clemson head coach Danny Ford is the featured speaker. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members and may be purchased by calling Joel Shaw at (864) 292-3366 or Dick Stanton at 292-5811.

A two-time All-Southern Conference selection, Rinehart caught a school season record 70 passes for 892 yards and three touchdowns in 2002 in helping Furman to an 8-4 record, NCAA I-AA playoff appearance, and No. 9 final national ranking. He completed his career as the Paladins' all-time leading receiver with 126 catches for 1,834 yards, and 11 touchdowns. In addition, he averaged a school record 12.8 yards on 28 punt career punt returns during his tenure as a Paladin.

"We couldn't be more pleased for Bear," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "He was an outstanding performer who possessed all the intangibles that great receivers have, from physical ability and great hands to mental toughness, consistency, and versatility. He played a huge role in the success we've enjoyed the last four years."

Furman went 38-13 and claimed two conference championships during Rinehart's career, including a 12-3 mark in 2001 that included an NCAA I-AA national runnerup finish.

Rinehart is the fourth Furman player to capture the Greenville Touchdown Club's Banks McFadden South Carolina Player-of-the-Year Trophy. Tailback Carl Tremble won the inaugural award in 1992 followed by linebacker Orlando Ruff (1998) and tailback Louis Ivory (2000).

A political science major who will graduate from Furman in May, he is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and lead guitarist for the band "NeedToBreathe".