Mayor Doug Echols is a 1967 graduate of Mars Hill College with a B.S. in Biology and Physical Education, a 1970 graduate of Western Carolina University with a Masters Degree in Education Administration and a 1976 graduate of Winthrop University with an Education Specialist Degree in Administration. In December, 2012 Doug received an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Winthrop University.
Echols played football at Mars Hill and in 1967 was named to the Knoxville News Sentinel All-Area Team. He was inducted into the Mars Hill College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Doug has taught and coached in the public school system, coached freshmen football at Western Carolina University, and was the Director of Athletics and Head Football Coach at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill from 1971-1976. Echols was inducted into the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
From 1976-1982, Doug worked in the Clover and Fort Mill, South Carolina school districts as the administrator of several curriculum development projects sponsored by the S.C. State Department of Education. Echols conducted over one thousand hours of teacher training programs during these assignments.
From 1982-1989, he was the Associate Director of Athletics and Coliseum Manager at Winthrop University, and in April 1989 Doug became the first Commissioner of the South Atlantic Conference and retired from that position in July, 2008 after nineteen years with the league.
The nine-member athletic conference included NCAA DII colleges in three states. The conference offered competition in fourteen championship sports for three thousand student-athletes. Echols was responsible for all athletic administrative functions associated with the relationship of the nine member institutions. He was inducted into the SAC Hall of Fame in 2009.
Doug previously served as a member of the NCAA Division II Restructuring Task Force, which helped to reorganize the one thousand NCAA schools into a more federated model for Divisions I, II, and III. As an outgrowth of his work on the restructuring task force, Doug was appointed a member of the first NCAA Division II Management Council that guided the administration of athletics for almost three hundred Division II institutions throughout the country. While on the Management Council, Doug served on several national committees that included Nominations (chair), Diversity, NCAA Honors and helped develop a Blueprint Compliance Model for Division II. Doug is also past president of the NCAA Division II Commissioners Association. In 2010 he was given the Award of Merit for NCAA Division II in recognition of his leadership and service to the mission of the Association.
In 1998, Doug was elected to serve a four-year term as mayor of Rock Hill, South Carolina. He has been reelected mayor four times since then and is presently serving in his fifth term. Doug served two four-year terms on the City Council before being elected mayor. During Doug’s terms in elected office, the City of Rock Hill has seen tremendous growth and these challenges are being met with sound fiscal practices, long-range citizen based planning efforts and the formation of numerous partnerships. Successful efforts are underway to revitalize the urban core of the City with commercial and residential development. Additionally, the City has undertaken a bold initiative for the reuse of old textile mills resulting in a senior housing complex and a corporate center for the headquarters of two companies.
Mayor Echols is a past president of the Municipal Association of South Carolina. This Association represents the state’s 270 cities and towns. Doug has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities, an association of America’s cities and towns. He has served as chair of the National League of Cities’ Leadership Training Council. Echols has also served as chair of the Southern Municipal Conference which is comprised of state municipal league representatives and executive directors of the fourteen southern states. He presently serves on the National League of Cities Advisory Council. In 2012 Echols served as President of the Association of South Carolina Mayors.
During his years of public service, Doug initiated Rock Hill’s Commission for Children and Youth, and the Mayor’s Task Force for Greenways, Trails and Sidewalks. The City has numerous projects underway or in the beginning stages that will continue to enrich the community. At the present time Rock Hill is partnering on a redevelopment project on 1000 acres of land that will represent a $600 million private investment at full build out. This site will include the construction of various public recreation and sports venues on 250 acres and is being called the Rock Hill Outdoor Center. Additionally, the community is fortunate to have recently completed a project to convert a downtown parking lot into a park which will be surrounded by new commercial and retail development. This project has future plans that could include a hotel and new civic/performance center. All of these accomplishments have been possible because of an excellent City Council, staff, and an engaged and progressive citizenry, along with private partnerships.
Doug has an evolving interest in photography and has had pictures exhibited in several local studios. Additionally, he enjoys reading and travel.
Doug and his wife, Sylvia, a children’s advocate, have both been involved in community affairs for many years and reside in Rock Hill. Their son, Chad is a graduate of Clemson University, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and is the owner of The Echols Firm, LLC in Rock Hill. Their daughter, Sara graduated from Clemson and completed a masters degree in social work at the University of South Carolina, and is associated with Novant Health Systems in the area of palliative care. Doug and Sylvia have four grandchildren.
P.O. Box 11706
Rock Hill, SC 29731-1706