Robert Howell Brooks

Robert Howell Brooks

2014 University Medallion

Robert Howell Robert Howell "Bob" Brooks (1937-2006) was a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and sports enthusiast. Brooks grew up on a farm in Loris, S.C., and went on to earn a degree in dairy science from Clemson University in 1960. He pioneered a process for non-dairy vegetable creamers that enabled him to start Eastern Foods Inc., a food distribution company that serviced airlines and restaurant/grocery chains throughout the U.S. The company name was changed in 2002 to Naturally Fresh Inc.

Brooks founded Hooters of America Inc. in 1984 after purchasing the expansion and franchise rights for Hooters Restaurants. He also created Hooters Air Charter Airline, the National Golf Association Hooters Tour, and the Hooters ProCup Series, which was a $4-million-a-year operation that included 30 short-track races in small towns throughout the Southeast and Midwest.

The Coastal Carolina University football stadium officially opened as Brooks Stadium on Sept. 6, 2003, for the inaugural home game of the Chanticleer football program. The stadium is named in honor of Brooks' children Coby Garrett and Boni Belle. At the time, the $2 million gift was among the largest ever made to the university.

In 2011 the new state-of-the-art baseball/softball hitting facility opens and is named the Boni Belle Hitting/Practice Facility.