Presented by the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce, the Cornerstone of Easley Award is not presented each year, and in fact, has been presented only three times during the last 10 years. It’s a special award reserved for a company or individual whose leadership and vision are considered to be a “foundational cornerstone” for our Easley community. On March 21 at its Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon, the Greater Easley Chamber was honored to present this award posthumously to Mayor Larry D. Bagwell.
Born in Pickens County, Larry Bagwell was a 1955 graduate of Easley High School where he excelled in football as both quarterback and lineman. He earned a master’s degree from Clemson University and was a member of the Tigers baseball program that reached two consecutive College Baseball World Series.
But most people don’t think of baseball when it comes to Larry Bagwell — they think football. As head coach for 25 seasons, he led the Easley Green Wave to two State Championships in 1967 and 1972. He was inducted into the Easley High School Hall of Fame, as well as the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame. In addition, both the gymnasium at the J.B. Red Owens Sports Complex and the Gettys Middle School football stadium are dedicated in his honor.
But it’s not all sports. In 1979, he was elected to Easley City Council where he continued to serve for 28 years before being elected as Mayor in 2007. After completing his first term as Mayor, he was re-elected for two additional terms in 2011 and 2015. In his last term as Mayor, he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto for his service and leadership to Easley, the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina.
During his 40 years as an elected official, Mayor Bagwell helped lead the transformation of the City of Easley as evidenced with downtown revitalization, the development of Old Market Square and Christopherson Park, tremendous business & economic development with the development of Easley Town Center, and a commitment to sports & recreation with the development of the JB Red Owens Sports Complex and the Doodle Trail.
As an educator, coach, city councilman, and mayor, he truly left a lasting mark on Easley. He was a passionate leader whose love for his community was overshadowed only by his deep love for his family. Mayor Bagwell loved his family and took advantage of every opportunity to share stories about his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. He left behind a life-long legacy of servant leadership and community service, which will continue to serve as a cornerstone for his family and for the City of Easley. His wife, Lunita (Lu) Bagwell, accepted the award in his honor and memory.