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Getting to know...Terrell Ball

Associate director of admissions Terrell Ball grew up in Spartanburg, S.C., but he didn’t attend Wofford.

teball150“My dad was a Baptist minister and I knew he would hear about everything I did,” he laughs.

Not that Ball was a troublemaker. Far from it, in fact. The church was a huge part of his life and remains so to this day.

But still he yearned to get away, and so he chose to attend Wake Forest University. His first career upon graduation was helping people with developmental disabilities. It was a labor of love…his younger brother Joe is retarded and caring for Joe has always been near and dear to Terrell’s heart.

After 15 years, though, he wanted to try something different.

“I had thought about college admissions ever since leaving college, really,” says Ball. “A lot of schools started doing alumni in admissions programs. I said to myself, ‘This is something I would really enjoy doing.’ So I went up there for the training and started doing college programs in the Spartanburg area. I found that I really enjoyed talking with the students.

“Through my church, I had developed a friendship with Charlie Gray, who was the director of admissions here for 20-plus years. We got to talking and I began to think it might be something I’d really love to do.”

So next he did something unheard of.

“I went back to graduate school in my late 30s,” he says. “Went to school full time, much to the chagrin of my wife Terrie. I did an internship here at Wofford as part of that program and fell in love with the place. I always knew about Wofford and appreciated it before. A lot of the people that I grew up with went here. But I didn’t know about it first hand until I spent a semester here.”

He also got to travel a good bit.

“Charlie sent me all over the place,” Ball says. “I went to Maryland, Washington, D.C., Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia…I got a really good feel for different areas of the country. It was a learning experience. I learned that once you get outside of South Carolina, Wofford is not a household name.”

With Ball’s help, it’s getting there. He took over his current position in 1990 when (now Dean of Students) Roberta Bigger left it to become an assistant to then president Joe Lesesne.

So Terrell, the second of four brothers, is back in Spartanburg, with feet planted firmly on Wofford soil. Oldest brother Will, a former Secretary of the Navy during the Ronald Reagan years, has moved away. So has younger brother David, who had a number one country song called ‘Thinking Problem’ and lives near Nashville.

Terrell and his wife are still here, raising 17-year old son Alex. He says Alex is a typical 17-year old, too.

“Both of his parents have been fired for a while,” laughs Ball. “I know we’ll get rehired again sometime, though. Right now the things he’s mostly concerned about have either four wheels or much longer hair than he has.”

Father and son do play golf a lot, although “he can kick daddy’s tail now pretty good.”

Now in the 11th grade, Alex will be relying on his father’s expertise soon enough. The two plan on taking college tours in the near future.