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November 30, 2016 • Volume 38 • Issue 16 • $1.50

High-Level Start Frank Martin: ‘We’ve made unbelievable progress in the last two weeks’ Postmaster: Time sensitive material. Please expedite

Suffocating defense, potent offense leads South Carolina men’s basketball to wins over two top-25 teams last week Publication mailed from Columbia on Monday, November 28


2 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.

Contact Us: 326 Rutland Drive N.W. PO Box 456 Aiken, SC, 29801 To subscribe/questions: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Brian Hand Executive Editor bhand@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Kyle Heck Reporter kheck@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 kboyette@spursandfeathers.com Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 brooks@spursandfeathers.com Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive ed@spursandfeathers.com (803) 646-9807 Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Cover Design Brian Hand (Photo by Jenny Dilworth) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 20 times annually. The frequency is monthly in January, April and July. The publication is weekly from September-November. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes two slick-paper magazine issues — one in August and one in December. The annual subscription price is $50 for non Gamecock Club members. Members of the Gamecock Club receive a discounted subscription as a member benefit. Spurs & Feathers is published by Aiken Communications, Inc., 326 Rutland Drive NW, Aiken, SC, 29801-4010. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC Postmaster: Send changes to SPURS & FEATHERS, PO Box 456, Aiken, SC, 29802.

NEED MORE GAMECOCK UPDATES? Get more news and daily coverage at

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Spurs & Feathers • 3

November 30, 2016

Thank you from Brian Hand

BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor

I’ve been at a loss for words. Those that know me know that is usually not the case. I could not do what I do for a living if that was normally the case. Nevertheless, I have been overwhelmed. In a good way. Hearing so many people recognize my efforts at Spurs & Feathers since I announced that I was leaving has been something I will never forget. For those that have not heard, I just recently accepted a position as the Assistant Athletics Director for External Relations at UNC Asheville. I am incredibly excited for the new opportunity for myself along with my wife, my 8-year-old son and my 2-year-old daughter. At the same time though, the outpouring of support for our efforts during my time as the Spurs & Feathers Executive Editor has made all of this bittersweet. It’s been as emotional a week for me as I can remember. This job was not something I ever dreamed about. It was not in my plan, but I will forever be thankful that I took the opportunity. Some of you may have heard the story before, but I will never forget the lunch that made all of this happen. To be honest, I have no idea what day it actually was as I had so much going on around me that all I remember is it was in May. Nevertheless, during that day in May of 2013 at what was once The Bowery restaurant in downtown Aiken, South Carolina and is now a Mellow Mushroom, my life changed. I remember current Spurs & Feathers contributing editor Ed Girardeau asking me to lunch the weekend before not having any idea about why. I thought we were just having a talk about doing some more things with USC Aiken athletics through my then position as Assistant Athletics Director for Communications and Promotions. I also had no idea that Tim O’Briant of Aiken Communications would be joining us for the lunch. I was so busy trying to get everything ready to head to Mount Olive, North Carolina for USC Aiken’s NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament appearance there that I was not really thinking about anything but that. Once we arrived at The Bowery, Tim was quick to relay to me that our lunch was much more than I expected. “Do you read Spurs & Feathers,” Tim asked. “Of course, I have been reading it my en-

tire life pretty much,” I remember responding. “How would you like to be the editor?” The words came as a complete shock. I had worked in newspaper and on campus at different athletic institutions after finishing up my college soccer playing days forward, but I had never really thought about working with Spurs & Feathers. It just never crossed my mind. All I could say back in fact was, “that is intriguing for sure.” I met with Tim and then Aiken Communications publisher Scott Hunter shortly after getting back from the NCAA Division II Baseball Regionals and I guess now the rest is history as this lifelong Gamecock fan got an opportunity that I know so many would relish. I will forever be thankful to Tim for giving me this opportunity. It was a gift. It’s been a wild ride, but I feel like we have taken Spurs & Feathers to the level requested of us when we were given the opportunity to bring it to Aiken Communications by the Gamecock Club. The biggest things asked of us were to provide daily coverage through the firstever Spurs & Feathers website, incorporate social media into our daily coverage and still continue the quality work done over the years with the newspaper, while also changing the overall look and feel of the newspaper, but keeping with its strong tradition. In addition, we have incorporated quarterly magazines that have been a welcomed addition by Gamecock Club members and our subscribers. SpursandFeathers.com has become a huge hit over the last couple of years particularly as our numbers right now are more than we ever could have imagined in year No. 4. In regards to social media, we are consistently overwhelmed by where we are as right now our Twitter handle @SpursFeathers has over 19,000 followers. On Facebook, we have over 22,000 likes. We are incredibly blessed to say the least. One of the things that Tim and I made sure to set as a priority when we first took over Spurs & Feathers was to visit with as many Gamecock Club chapters as we could, while also writing stories of all of the great things happening with the chapters. This was obviously done on top of the daily coverage of all things Gamecock on campus. That’s why receiving congratulations like “if @SpursFeathers finds someone with 50 percent of your passion, we’ll be in great hands” from the Charlotte Gamecock Club twitter handle @CLTGamecocks upon my announcement means so much.

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

That is just a small sample as so many have reached out to me over the course of the past few days, but it’s been special to say the least. It is one thing for us to feel like we have continued to grow in these four years, but it’s another to hear individuals at Gamecock Club events thank us. For example, a couple of summers ago when I was speaking at a Gamecock Club event in Darlington, chapter president Curtis Tyner made it a point in front of everyone to thank us in the best way we consider possible. Tyner in front of the close to a hundred individuals in attendance said what we hear all the time, which is that they did not know if we would be able to get the job done because it was so beloved before our arrival. Hearing Tyner then say that we have is incredibly special to us. Recently, we received a compliment that most would consider maybe not all that nice, but it is all we want to hear. It’s not about us. It’s about the product. “I expected you guys (Spurs & Feathers) to fail when you took over,” the individual said. “You didn’t. Keep up the good work.” To be honest, I am just a small part of Spurs & Feathers though as so many like O’Briant made the publication possible. For example, Spurs & Feathers would be nothing without the phenomenal photography of Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth. Without the efforts of Kathy Boyette, Ed Girardeau, Dee Taylor, Brooks Rogers, DiAnn Bell and so many others over the years, the publications could not happen as their hard work with advertising and everything that surrounds that makes each edition a possibility. In addition, without the hard work behind the scenes of Sharon Taylor, Kim Cain, Rebecca Barfield and so many others at Aiken Communications the publication could not even be sent out. There are so many that have contributed to Spurs & Feathers over the last four years, but without Mike Kucharski during the first

year as reporter and now Kyle Heck we definitely would not be able to provide our unique content. I tell them thank you after each edition, but I can never say thank you enough to our contributors over the years in Bart Wright, Phil Kornblut, Andy Demetra, Girardeau, Glenn Snyder, Juan Blas, Bill Gunter, Collyn Taylor, Willie Smith and Langston Moore. Matt Socha and Mary Watson have also each helped to shape the look of Spurs & Feathers through their graphic expertise. Tami Burke’s expertise with web design and so much more helped us get the first-ever Spurs & Feathers website off the ground as well. I am sure I am leaving somebody out that has contributed at some point to Spurs & Feathers, but that’s just how blessed we have been as so many have stepped up to make what we do a reality. The same goes for Patrick McFarland and the Gamecock Club. We could not ask for better partners to make Spurs & Feathers happen. The South Carolina athletics development office under the guidance of Jeff Crane is filled with unbelievable people and they treat us like family, and that’s all we can ask. The same can be said for Ray Tanner and South Carolina athletics, particularly Charles Bloom, Eric Nichols, Steve Fink and everyone in charge of the external efforts of South Carolina athletics. They work with us daily to make sure we can be successful for which we are incredibly thankful. Fink and the South Carolina Athletics Media Relations staff are an especially important piece to helping us do what we do here at Spurs & Feathers. Spurs & Feathers will thrive without me at the helm that is for sure, but I am forever thankful that O’Briant took me to lunch that May day in 2013. It’s been a surreal experience in so many ways. I never would have ever thought in my wildest dreams that I would co-host a YouTube show with Steve Spurrier or make regular TV appearances with Corey Miller or have the unique opportunity to be the analyst for South Carolina men’s soccer home matches. Thank you for your support of Spurs & Feathers over the last four years. This issue was the 91st under my supervision, and my only hope and wish is that during my time at Spurs & Feathers you have noticed how much we cared. We all love the Gamecocks, and I hope it showed. If you ever need anything from Brian Hand, you can email him at bhand05@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @BHAND05. #ForevertoThee


4 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

‘We’ll sit on this for a while’: Gamecocks plan to use rivalry game loss as motivation BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor CLEMSON, S.C. - AJ Turner stood surrounded by media after South Carolina’s rivalry game loss to Clemson somewhat befuddled. He had never been in the situation that he was, and he was fully intent on never being in a situation like losing to your rival 56-7 ever again. A redshirt freshman running back out of Clifton, Virginia, Turner had spent a great deal of his life before heading to Virginia in Florida where he was very versed in another great rivalry in Florida-Florida State. In his first appearance in the Palmetto Bowl, Turner said it did not take long for him to feel completely vested in the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry, particularly since his first experience went the way that it did. “Honestly, I’ve never been beaten like that before in my entire life,” Turner said. “Just seeing the scoreboard as I’m looking at it now, I never want that to happen again. I really do believe that we have the coaches, the right players, the right schemes, but we’ve just got to put it all together.” Turner’s feelings are completely shared by his head coach. In fact, first-year South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp wants this experience to stick with his players for some time. “We’ll sit on this for a while,” Muschamp said. Junior defensive back DJ Smith and the Gamecocks were especially not pleased with the way Clemson closed things out in the game in the final minutes. “I feel like they disrespected us at the end, holding the ball and doing all that showboating,” Smith said. Muschamp said the ending of the game was an “it is what it is” sequence of events, but sophomore tight end Hayden Hurst like Smith said the score plus the way things played out in the final minutes of the Tiger win will motivate them in the days, weeks and months ahead. “They beat our butts on the field tonight, but that last couple of minutes there was pretty disrespectful,” Hurst said. “We’ve got a year to think about that, let it sink in.”

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH


Spurs & Feathers • 5

November 30, 2016

              

            

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6 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Gamecocks close out regular-season with loss to Tigers BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor CLEMSON, S.C. - South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp was quick to point out after the 56-7 loss to Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Memorial Stadium what his staff would be doing on Sunday, Nov. 27. “On the road recruiting tomorrow,” Muschamp said. Muschamp’s thoughts came after a rivalry game performance in which the Tigers controlled things from start-to-finish. “Give them credit,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got a good football team in all three phases.” South Carolina (6-6) would not be able to get anything going on its first offensive possession with Clemson (11-1) then putting itself in position for the inaugural score of the game on its first offensive series of the game. The Gamecocks would thwart Clemson’s advances though, blocking a 39-yard field goal by Greg Huegel to get the football back. Ulric Jones blocked the field goal attempt. It was his second field goal block of the season. The Gamecocks would turn the football back over to the Tigers on their next possession with a Jake Bentley interception at

the Gamecock 47-yard line. The interception turned into a Deshaun Watson 34-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. The Tiger touchdown capped off a three-play scoring drive that garnered Clemson a 7-0 lead with 11:08 left in the first quarter. The Tigers would make it 14-0 on another Williams touchdown reception with 5:52 left in the opening quarter. Shortly thereafter South Carolina was unable to convert on a fake punt that the Tigers would take advantage of and extend their lead to 21-0 on a 11-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Leggett The Clemson lead would be 28-0 with 3:06 left in the first half when Wayne Gallman rushed in from eight yards out. Clemson would add one more touchdown before halftime on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Williams. The touchdown would set the score at 35-0 in favor of Clemson at the halftime break. The second half would commence with Clemson scoring quickly once again to take a 42-0 lead. South Carolina would start its first offensive possession of the second half with Brandon McIlwain taking over for Bentley at the quarterback position. McIlwain would take advantage by taking the

Gamecocks with 622 yards of total offense to South Carolina’s 218. Watson led the Tigers in their win, passing for 347 yards and six touchdowns. He was 26-for-32 with one interception. Gallman ended his day for Clemson rushing for 112 yards and one touchdown, while Williams had 100 yards receiving on six catches to go with his three touchdown receptions. Bentley was 7-of-17 with the one interception in the first half. He passed for 41 yards before turning things over to McIlPHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE wain in the second half. McIlwain passed Gamecocks five plays in 75 yards in 1:20 for 33 yards and was 6-for-11 overall. He for their first touchdown of the day. The ran for 13 more yards. Gamecocks’ first touchdown of the day Rod Talley was the Gamecocks’ top rushcame on a trick play with wide receiver er with 50 yards rushing on six attempts. Deebo Samuel connecting with fellow DJ Smith had 12 tackles and Bryson wide receiver Bryan Edwards through the Allen-Williams had 11 stops to lead the air for a 33-yard touchdown. Gamecock defense. Clemson would respond to the touchThe Gamecocks will now wait to see down with one of their own to take a 49-7 where they are headed for the bowl game. lead after a Watson three-yard touchdown The bowl game is obviously proof once pass to Artavis Scott. The Scott touchdown again that the Gamecocks are trending in catch finished off a 14-play, 80-yard drive the right direction, but after the loss to the that took 6:29 off the clock. Tigers Muschamp knows that they still Clemson would add one more touchdown have things to shore up, but he believes in the final minutes of the game to set the there is “no doubt” they are on their way. final score at 56-7. “We got beat by a better team,” MusThe Tigers closed out their win over the champ said. “This year.”

View from the Clemson locker room

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

CLEMSON, S.C. - On Saturday, Nov. 26, Clemson was able to defeat rival South Carolina at Memorial Stadium to claim its third straight win over the Gamecocks in the rivalry series. On the surface, that’s good news for the Tigers, but head coach Dabo Swinney still remembers the long winning streak South Carolina had just a few short years ago. “We lost five in a row, so we still have some work to do,” Swinney said. “I’m still in the negative category.” While the Tigers still have some catching up to do in that regard, it was all Clemson in this year’s installment of the Palmetto Bowl. The Tigers led from start to finish, and Swinney was happy that his team was able to send the seniors out with a win after Clemson lost on its official Senior Day against Pittsburgh. “Very happy for our seniors to have another home game,” Swinney said. “The last home game, we obviously didn’t get it done, and then to have another opportunity to play tonight is special for them. Those guys just played awesome.”

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH

After the game was over, Swinney also had praise for South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp. “I know it didn’t go the way they wanted it to tonight, but I definitely think Will has done a heck of a job for them this year,” Swinney said. “From where they were last year to where they

are this year and getting to a bowl and having an opportunity to continue to develop their team, those guys have done a good job.” The Gamecocks picked up their sixth win of the season against Western Carolina, and after a three-win season last year, Swinney knows things are looking up for the rival instate Uni-

versity. “That’s going to be important for Will and them,” Swinney said. “They have some young guys.” Clemson was able to shut down South Carolina’s offense for the majority of the game on Saturday, thanks to an excellent pass rush and good coverage in the secondary. The result of that was an overall poor performance from freshman quarterback Jake Bentley. After slightly injuring his knee, Muschamp opted to go with fellow freshman Brandon McIlwain for the majority of the remaining minutes in the game. Swinney had high praise for Bentley prior to the rivalry game, and remained impressed after the contest was over. “He’s going to be a good player,” Swinney said. “He really is. That’s tough sledding for a young guy to come in. We’ve got a good defense. Our plan was to bring a lot of pressure, different types of pressure, and give him a lot of different looks. But Bentley is going to be a good player, there’s no question about it. He’s tough. Get thrown in there in the middle part of the season, but he rallied him and they have a chance to go to a bowl game.”


Spurs & Feathers • 7

November 30, 2016

South Carolina Gamecocks

2016

FOOTBALL SCHEDULE 09/01/16...........at Vanderbilt# ....................... Nashville, Tenn....................W, 13-10

STANDINGS

SEC East

SEC

W-L

HOME

ROAD

NEU PF PA STRK

09/10/16...........at Mississippi State#............ Starkville, Miss...................... L, 27-14

Florida

6-2

8-3

5-0

2-3

1-0

265

161

L1

09/17/16........ East Carolina....................Columbia, S.C............... W, 20-15

Tennessee

4-4

8-4

6-1

1-3

1-0

435

351

L1

Georgia

4-4

7-5

3-3

3-1

1-1

288

289

L1

Kentucky

4-4

7-5

5-2

2-3

0-0

372

374

W2

10/01/16........ Texas A&M#.....................Columbia, S.C................ L, 24-13

South Carolina 3-5

6-6

5-2

1-4

0-0

231

298

L1

10/09/16........ Georgia#..........................Columbia, S.C................ L, 28-14

Vanderbilt

3-5

6-6

4-2

2-4

0-0

282

271

W2

Missouri

2-6

4-8

4-3

0-5

0-0

377

378

W1

10/29/16........ Tennessee#......................Columbia, S.C............... W, 24-21

SEC West

SEC

11/05/16........ Missouri#.........................Columbia, S.C............... W, 31-21

Alabama

09/24/16...........at Kentucky#.......................... Lexington, Ky........................ L, 17-10

10/22/16........ Massachusetts.................Columbia, S.C............... W, 34-28

11/12/16...........at Florida#............................... Gainesville, Fla........................L, 20-7 11/19/16........ Western Carolina.............Columbia, S.C............... W, 44-31 11/26/16...........at Clemson.............................. Clemson, S.C............................L, 56-7 Bold=Home Game #=SEC

             

W-L PF

PA W-L PF PA STRK

8-0

12-0

7-0

4-0

1-0

473

137

W12

Auburn

5-3

8-4

6-2

2-2

0-0

387

187

L1

LSU

5-3

7-4 5-2 2-1 0-1 311 180 W1

Texas A&M

4-4

8-4

5-2

2-2

1-0

425

286

L1

Arkansas

3-5

7-5

5-2

2-2

0-1

370

369

L1

Mississippi State 3-5

5-7

3-3

2-4

0-0

378

397

W1

Ole Miss

5-7

4-3

1-3

0-1

391

408

L2

2-6

                           



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8 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Former cheerleader has dream come true over Williams-Brice Stadium

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

emotions were sky-high. “It’s kind of a full circle being able to go out there and be there for the students, be Long before he was even able to attend there for the faculty and the alma mater as college, Lucien Lapierre knew he wanted a cheerleader, being a part of that game,” to join the military. He applied to several Lapierre said. “Being able to come back military institutions, including the United five years later and contribute again to the States Naval Academy, United States University, it’s awesome. It really is. It’s Coast Guard Academy, United States Merhard to put into words how blessed I feel to chant Marine Academy and The Citadel. be able to do it.” As almost an afterthought, Lapierre also Lapierre has been able to do a lot of speapplied to the University of South Carocial things with his job as a pilot, but one lina, in case he wanted to take a different of the most rewarding benefits is being route. Originally from New Hampshire, able to help the people of South Carolina. Lapierre and his family moved down to During the recent floods, and now the Florence in 1999. In high school, Lapierre wildfires, Lapierre and the rest of our nastarted going to Carolina football games, tion’s heroes at McEntire have stepped up and really enjoyed it. In fact, Lapierre was big time, dropping water on the wildfires a big football fan in general, and wanted and rescuing people off rooftops during to play in college. However, a broken foot the floods, and in Lapierre’s case, coorin his senior year ended those hopes, and dinating the efforts between law enforceLapierre was forced to make a decision. ment and emergency personnel and the Lapierre had a friend at his high school military. who brought up an idea that would allow “It’s awesome to have a job that every him to still be heavily involved with colday I can see how we’re helping the people PHOTO BY KYLE HECK of South Carolina, helping the nation and legiate athletics if that was the route he wanted to take. The friend told Lapierre contributing something,” Lapierre said. that if he cheered and was good at it, he cocks were getting ready to storm the field, the story of everything they do, and then Lapierre still tries to attend as many could get a scholarship to do it in college. two AH-64 Apache helicopters flew over come out here to McEntire and start meet- Carolina football games as he can, and it’s So during the second half of his senior the stadium, drawing yells and cheers from ing other pilots that really led me down the clear to him why South Carolina is the best year, Lapierre went with his friend to a many in the crowd. road to want to be a pilot. Everyone thinks school in the country. In his opinion, the gym in Myrtle Beach and started doing a U.S. Army First Lt. Lapierre was one of that flying a jet is cool, (but) I had never passionate fan support in both the good few competitions. the pilots in the military helicopters. thought about helicopters, but it’s very dif- and the bad times are unmatched. The sudden aspiration in cheering also See, while still in college, Lapierre joined ferent and very cool.” One of Lapierre’s duties while a cheerhelped Lapierre make the decision on the National Guard, and after graduating When Lapierre got wind that there leader at South Carolina was running with where to attend college. If he went to and staying on a waiting list for about a was a request for a helicopter flyover at a flag ahead of the football team during the South Carolina, Lapierre could cheer at a year, he attended flight school and became Williams-Brice Stadium, it was safe to say famous “2001” entrance, something that, large, SEC school that had plenty of sports one of the elite attack helicopter pilots in that he was hoping it received approval. even with a job like his, remains one of the and also still take the military route by the South Carolina Army National Guard. “I’ll be honest, whenever I came in and biggest thrills of his life. joining the school’s ROTC program. Lapierre periodically goes on training started flying and had seen flyovers, it was “There’s not a better entrance in col“I started going to Carolina games and missions, where he practices with fullykind of a dream to be able to fly over a lege football than that, especially when getting to see the campus, and I visited all equipped Apache helicopters. There aren’t Carolina game,” Lapierre said. “I always they first start playing it, we’re out there the campuses,” Lapierre said. “Carolina many other people in the world who can thought that was so cool watching the Fon the 50-yard line in the middle of the just felt right. Beautiful campus, great handle a helicopter like Lapierre and the 16s fly over when I was in school and all field trying to get people fired up for the people, and with the ROTC program here I other Apache pilots. that. It’s an honor to be able to go back to game,” Lapierre said. “Then just waiting could still accomplish my ultimate goal of Lapierre is now stationed at McEntire my alma mater and be able to do a flyover to hear that last stanza in “2001” when being in the military, but still get a really Joint National Guard Base, where he was for everyone to enjoy.” you start running out, it goes from normal good college experience, especially one in recently named a “Top Gun,” an award that After flying over more than 75,000 fans cheering to you can’t hear anything. SEC football, being a football guy.” goes to the pilot(s) who do the best on a va- people clad in Garnet and Black, Lapierre It is absolutely insane out there at the end. Lapierre enrolled at South Carolina in riety of test scores and training missions. and the other Apache pilots were honored You’re on the field and it’s everybody yell2007, and enjoyed a long career of cheer“When I was little, I looked at different on the field during the third quarter of the ing down at once. If there’s one thing that ing at all kind of sporting events, including things,” Lapierre said. “Wasn’t sure about game against the Catamounts. It was a can compare pretty close to flying one of many in Williams-Brice Stadium. what branch, I just knew I wanted to be in surreal experience for Lapierre to say the these helicopters, it’s that.” Five years after graduating, Lapierre was the military. And actually I looked a lot at least. Now Lapierre has the distinct honor of back at the stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19, the Navy and the Marines and everything Just a few years after being part of one of being able to say he’s run out ahead of the as the Gamecocks took on Western Carobefore I went to USC. It kind of took me the main cogs that get South Carolina fans football team during “2001” as well as flylina. However, it was not in the way you getting to South Carolina and meeting up and going and ready for games, Lapiing one of the most famous and recognizmight be thinking. some guys who were in the South Carolina erre was back doing the same thing, but able military helicopters during it. As “2001” was blaring and the GameNational Guard and having them tell me in a much different way. Let’s just say his It’s been a heck of a journey.


Spurs & Feathers • 9

November 30, 2016

Moore: Teams better get all they can now, because the future is bright for the Gamecocks

Look, I know it stinks. Before the kickoff there was tons of optimism surrounding this 114th meeting. Our rivals have been an inspired program since the “5 in the row” era. After going through that, it forced Clempson to reevaluate everything they did as a program. After Langston Moore losing to the Contributing Gamecocks for Writer all those consecutive years it forced the Tigers to change. They Changed how they recruited, how they trained and how they approached the rivalry. Ultimately that once negative for Clemson became the alarm clock to wake up! I’m not saying we needed a similar wake up call, but Saturday night will serve as that for the Gamecock program. The distance between our foe who will more than likely be one of the finalists in the college football playoffs again was widening. This loss will sting and nothing but time can help heal the angst and disappointment associated with this loss. But as time passes and we move forward we need to keep these “5 things” in our mind. This will help us get back to not only “5 in a row” over our rival but to help us “Win the East.” Enough is enough - as a player you have to remember this feeling. The reason you dislike that team from Pickens County can vary (insert Clemson joke or farming fact here) but don’t forget the exact feeling of frustration and level of “pissed-off” you felt in the fourth quarter. I’m from the school of thought that “it’s your job to stop the opposing team from scoring.” But when you call a timeout and make a QB change on the goal line to better attack 11 reserves, to run up the score of a game that was already out of hand it speaks volumes. It should burn in your gut and be etched in our memories. Enough is enough.

isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.

Think big - “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” Ain’t no going back ... We’ve had our minds stretched during the consecutive 11-win seasons, winning the SEC East in 2010 and dominating the “Purple Pickens Pets” for five straight. Becoming bowl eligible two out of the three years from 2014-2016 is “OK,” but we all want more. We’ve tasted winning and winning consistently, now we want to gorge ourselves on it. Have a vision for this program so big that it makes you a little edgy, then you know you’re thinking big enough. It takes just as much effort to think small as it does grand. So forget beating the Tigers for “five straight” years, go for 10 or 15 wins in a row over them. Push the limits of what could be, our “vision will pull us” toward that reality.

extra tutoring time you’re doing it to “Win the East, Win the State.” When it’s 100-plus degrees in the summer and you’re on your 15th hundred-yard gasser, you’re doing it “to Win the East, Win the State.” Every decision you make from here on out is to either take you and the program towards that goal or further away from it.

Make a decision - that everything you do as a player, as a coach, as a program from here on out is to set yourself apart from this group. That means in February at 5 am during winter workouts, you’re not only working Take action towards your ideal - it’s easy “to win the East,” but to win and dominate to follow the plan laid out by the coaches. the state. When you’re in study hall getting You’ll be pushed by the demands set forth

Be grateful - The worst day as a Gamecock is still better than the best day as a Tiger! Be grateful you don’t have to wear candy stripe purple and orange clothing and get excited with people running down a hill. Ok this last point maybe more of a jab, but so what 4 out of 5 points are still relevant... What players have to understand is everything they do from here on is driving the program in one of two ways: it’s either bringing you closer to “Winning the East, Winning the State” or it’s taking you further away from it. If you look at everything you do throughout the day, week, year with that filter we won’t have to worry about this group from the Upstate or anyone for that matter! Even when you’re far away from the football field or the weight room what you do is of vital importance. Programs that rank in the upper echelon of college football see everything as an opportunity to get closer to a championship or not. Every thought, intention, action leads them to winning. Our program and players have to live this in everything they do. PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH We began the process last winter when we hired Coach Muschamp. We are well on the from them,but no one will push “you” like way with having gone through the process you. The players have to actively seek out of this coaching staff laying the foundation more ways to propel them and their teamand weeding out those who want to buymates towards winning and dominating. The in. We have even taken our licks with this great equalizer in life is time. We all get the young group of starters and have the scars same 24 hours in a day. The NCAA limits of losses to show for it. After enduring all of that time even further so the emphasis on this in year one we are bowl eligible, when it the individual to maximize his time away looked almost impossible at 2-4. Now we set from the coaches is vital in accelerating the our minds on these ideals and principles and program progression. Eliminate wasted time, live them. In the words of Coach Muschamp “sharpen your saw” aka work your craft earlier this season: “teams better get all they outside of the demands already given to you can now, because we’re coming…”


10 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Gamecock fans in Costa Rica leave lasting impression with Frank Martin BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor It’s a moment that Frank Martin will never forget because it is not something he ever expected. The fifth-year South Carolina men’s basketball head coach always talks about how special it is to see Gamecocks everywhere, but in Costa Rica? Obviously, Martin and the Gamecocks knew that they would bring a strong contingent of Gamecocks as part of their entourage when they decided to undertake a six-day foreign tour in Costa Rica in August of 2016, but Martin did not expect to have Gamecock fans from the area in the building for their games against the Costa Rica National Team. That’s why when Martin and the South Carolina bus pulled up to a facility in San Ramón, Costa Rica and he looked out and saw a couple with Gamecock attire on he simply said, “you’ve got to be kidding me.” The couple that Martin and the Gamecocks met when they got off the bus in San Ramón, Costa Rica was the Elders with Karen Elder even greeting Martin in Spanish. Mike and Karen Elder made their way over to San Ramón, Costa Rica from their a 1979 graduate of the University of South home in Atenas, which is the capital city Carolina, Mike Elder has lived outside of of the canton of Atenas in the province of the Palmetto State ever since his graduAlajuela in Costa Rica. It was a 30-minute ation. He first moved to Atlanta and then drive to catch up with the Gamecocks in to Miami in 1985 before retiring to Costa San Ramón. Rica. “We got to the gym early and chatted with During all of this time, Mike Elder has the coach of the Costa Rica National team done whatever it takes to still keep up with while waiting on the bus to arrive,” Mike the Gamecocks. Elder said. “It was almost surreal seeing “Of course, I had season tickets for footour players and Frank get off a bus in our ball in the Atlanta days, but to listen to the adopted country. We had corresponded with away games I had to drive up I-85 until I (Gamecock Director of Basketball Operacould pick up the Greenville station,” Mike tions) Andy (Assaley), so we introduced Elder said. “There was very little TV in ourselves to him and he made the introduc- those days. I would sit in a grocery parktions. Frank’s Miami friends were there as ing lot, usually around Commerce, Georgia well so it was nice to chat with and listen to the games. them as well. It is always nice After I relocated to Miami, to hear the ‘Miami Cuban acI kept my season tickets for cent’ that Frank and his friends about 10 years. My wife have.” and I would drive up all day That nice “Miami Cuban acFriday, go to the game on cent” to which Mike Elder is Saturday, and drive back all referring is of importance to day Sunday. We would make him in the fact that the Elders most of the games, somemade their way down to Costa All Gamecock basketball times vacationing at Hilton Rica from Miami. coverage sponsored by Head during the week to go A native of the Upstate and Yesterdays to consecutive home games.

SUBMITTED PHOTO OF MIKE ELDER (CENTER) WITH FRANK AND ANYA MARTIN

It was 610 miles from our house in Fort Lauderdale to Williams Brice.” The fact that Martin would be bringing his Gamecock team to the area where he lived meant a ton to Mike Elder. “I was thrilled to hear about coach Martin bringing the team to Costa Rica,” Mike Elder said. “It was almost unbelievable. I have not been able to sleep in my own bed after watching the Gamecocks since the 1995 Carquest Bowl, which was played in South Florida.” Before deciding to relocate to Costa Rica, Mike Elder heavily researched if he would be able to watch the Gamecocks. “We are fortunate to live in these times,” Mike Elder said. “Technology allows us to watch every minute of most all Carolina events. Here in Costa Rica you need two 10-foot dishes to tune in by TV. What TV does not show we have high-speed internet and put the games up on the big screen. Of course, we must synchronize the Carolina announcers with the picture and the Tune-In app works great. We do our best to simulate Williams-Brice, CLA and ‘The Ray’ up here on the hill. I love my adopted country and try and blend in as much as possible,

but I will forever hold on to the University that gave me a chance years ago and made all that I have today possible.” In addition to the Elders wearing their Gamecock material, Martin was also shocked to see one of the fans in attendance wearing another familiar shirt. “To sit in the arena and kind of look across the gym and see a couple wearing Gamecock shirts and then a gentleman wearing a Clemson shirt in San Ramón, Costa Rica, I thought was pretty unique,” Martin said. According to Mike Elder, there was more to the Clemson shirt though. “Turns out, (the local) works for an American Company and his Clemson boss put him up to it,” Mike Elder said. “It was all in good fun.” Martin is just thankful that Forever to Thee will always mean so much to Gamecock fans even in Costa Rica. “They’re die-hard Gamecocks and just like the fan base that get to see our guys on a regular basis they just love their school,” Martin said. “It was a powerful moment to be so far away from home in a foreign land and know that Gamecocks love their school as much there as they do here.”


Spurs & Feathers • 11

November 30, 2016

Union County Gamecock Club Tiger Burn a special evening BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor

This time of year sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that the Upstate only has Clemson fans. That is definitely not the case, and on the evening of Monday, Nov. 21, on the campus of USC Union it was obvious that Union is definitely Gamecock Country. This year’s annual Union County Gamecock Club Tiger Burn was another tremendous event with both Gamecock Club Executive Director Patrick McFarland and “Voice of the Gamecocks” for men’s basketball and baseball Derek Scott featured as the speakers. The evening included a buffet dinner and a raffle of Gamecock trivia by Union County Gamecock Club President and emcee for the evening Tyler Shugart. After both McFarland and Scott spoke

PHOTO BY BRIAN HAND

to the crowd the evening obviously concluded with a stuffed Tiger burning to the enjoyment of all. The Union County Gamecock Club Tiger Burn is something McFarland looks forward to each and every year. “This is a tradition here with the Union Gamecock Club to have this event,” McFarland said. ‘They’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been doing this for 18 years. It’s a great family atmosphere here. I think it is exciting for them to have Cocky and the cheerleaders and representatives from the University here in their town during rivalry week.” Shugart overall just appreciates the support of the great Gamecocks in the area. “It’s just special to have a bunch of great Gamecock fans here in Union County that support us and support the Gamecocks,” Shugart said.

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12 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Chad Holbrook makes special appearance at Horry County meeting

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

While planning the Horry County Gamecock Club social with South Carolina All Gamecock baseball baseball head coverage sponsored by coach Chad DiPrato’s Holbrook, chapter President Kellah Webster wanted every person in attendance to have an autographed baseball. However, she wasn’t sure if anyone would be willing to sit down and sign nearly 100 baseballs. However, when she asked Holbrook about it, his answer was immediate - yes. “He signed about 90 baseballs, so it was amazing,” Webster said. “We appreciate it so much. We are blessed.” The event on Monday, Nov. 21, was held at Thoroughbreds Restaurant in Myrtle Beach, and

featured a crowd of nearly 100 people. When she found out that Holbrook was going to be in attendance, Webster knew that people would snatch up the available tickets. “In Horry County, our people are baseball people,” Webster said. “Obviously everyone follows football and (other sports), but Horry County is a huge baseball community. These people have been following coach (Ray) Tanner, coach Holbrook since the old stadium at ‘The Sarge.’ These people here are dedicated, and they’ve been doing it long before College World

coaching at South Carolina is the passionate fan base that’s around the entire state. Coming down to Myrtle Beach is a great thrill for me, and we certainly know baseball is right around the corner and these people are excited about it.” Along with talking about his team, Holbrook also made sure to point out how important the fans are to the South Carolina baseball program. He spoke about how recruits want to come play at a baseball stadium that’s got a “football stadium feel,” as he put it. Overall, it was a special evening for the GamePHOTO BY KYLE HECK cock fans in the area to gather together and Series championships.” prepare for the upcoming season, and they were The event featured a social hour before dineven able to get a couple of entertaining stories ner was served while Holbrook talked about his from Holbrook. team. He spoke about how excited he was for “We’re always impressed when we come out this year’s group of Gamecocks, and took ques- to the Horry/Georgetown area and see so many tions from the large crowd. passionate Gamecocks, especially when it For Holbrook, it didn’t take much to convince comes to Gamecock baseball,” Assistant Direchim to come out and talk with the Horry County tor of the Gamecock Club Hayden Lipham said. Gamecock Club. “They were able to see Holbrook talk about his “It’s neat to see so many people down at team, and even throw in a couple Ray Tanner the coast excited about Gamecock baseball,” stories. We thank them for their tremendous Holbrook said. “One of the great things about support.”

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November 30, 2016

Spurs & Feathers • 13

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

BURN TIGER BURN! The University of South Carolina held its annual Tiger Burn on Monday, Nov. 21, at the Greene Street Intramural Fields with a 30-foot tall Tiger burning to the ground.


14 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

South Carolina Gamecocks

RECRUITING ROUND-UP By Phil Kornblut

DB Keisean Nixon of Arizona Western JC made his first trip to USC last weekend for an official visit and the Gamecocks remain in a good place with him though he did not commit. He is still considering other schools for visits though none have been scheduled. He will not announce a decision until the mid-year signing period begins December 17th. “It went cool,” Nixon said of his visit. “The game atmosphere and the city (stood out). They need help in their secondary and feel like I can come in and make it happen so we’ll see how it goes with my recruitment. Come in and play right away. I’m high on them but I’m high on other schools, too.” Nixon, who is a native of Compton, CA was joined on the visit by his mother. He also has offers from Mississippi State, Missouri, Oregon and Arizona Phil Kornblut State, Oregon State, Contributing UCLA and others. He Writer will visit Oregon State this weekend. DL William Green of Albany, GA made an official visit to USC over the weekend and he could eventually sign with the Gamecocks. But he made the visit knowing he will first have to attend junior college and part of his visit with Will Muschamp was about those plans. “Had a good time, I enjoyed myself with my family and just went up there and had fun,” Green said. “I like how their fans support their team. I talked with Coach Thompson and we talked about a plan they have for me. I have to do one year of junior college and then I’ll make my decision. I won’t make my decision until after I get done with junior college.” Green said the plan laid out for him by Thompson and Muschamp is for him to enroll in January at Jones JC, MS. He would play the 2017 season there and graduate the next summer. Green said he did not commit to the Gamecocks on the visit and will still go thru the recruiting process at the junior college. “I’m still going to be open for recruiting but they are number one right now,” he said. “They like how I can change the line of scrimmage and penetrate and mess up the plays.” Green said he had 32 tackles and 3 sacks this season. He had 56 tackles with 2 sacks as a junior. Green said he’s also hearing from Mississippi State, Louisville, Georgia and Georgia Southern. For most of the recruiting campaign it has appeared USC has held a firm upper hand with DE Brad Johnson of Pendleton. And the Gamecocks do remain in a strong place with

him. But they have company from Virginia Tech. The Hokies have made a concerted recruiting effort for Johnson and according to Pendleton coach Paul Sutherland, the Hokies are right there with the Gamecocks in the competition for his Shrine Bowl defensive end. “Its 1A and 1B in no particular order,” Sutherland said. “I see it going either way there. He hasn’t told me that, I’m just telling you who has shown him the most interest and who he has talked to the most. And he’s very interested in Tennessee.” Johnson’s last visit to USC was for the Gamecocks biggest moment of the season to date, the win over Tennessee on a Saturday night in Columbia. Johnson has not yet scheduled his official visits, and because he’s been to USC several times unofficially, Sutherland said he may opt to not take one with the Gamecocks. However, other official visits are in the works with Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. DE Matthew Butler of Garner, NC took an official visit to Texas A&M recently, his fourth official trip of the season. He’s also been to Penn State, Duke and NC State. For his final visit, Butler plans to set a date with Tennessee. USC remains in the mix for Butler. He’s visited the Gamecocks multiple times unofficially and feels knowledgeable enough and comfortable enough with them to where he doesn’t feel the need for an official visit. “I’ve already let the South Carolina staff know that,” Butler said. “They’re still in it. I’ve seen what I need to see from South Carolina, the players, the coaches and the academics and all of that on my summer visits.” If he had to make the call today, Butler said he could do it. “I’m not putting that out there,” Butler said of his favorite. “If I was to commit today and to the school in my mind I would be comfortable doing that but I’m being very meticulous and being sure that I’m on top of things.” OL Jerry Drake Jr. of Palm Beach Gardens, FL has not yet scheduled his three remaining official visits. He’s taken officials to USC and Tennessee so far and is waiting to see how his season plays out before scheduling any more visits. Along with USC, Drake said he consistently hears from Mississippi State, Tennessee, Pitt, North Carolina and Oklahoma. He said he has no leader at this point and is planning to announce his decision by December. 2018 prospects: 2018 DL Josh Belk of Lewisville was at USC last Saturday and said he got the usual treatment, talking with Will Muschamp, Lance Thompson and some of the players, having access to the postgame locker room activities and checking out the facilities. “The coaches showed love,” Belk said. “I talked to coach

Thompson and he told me to keep up the good work and coach Muschamp said they are rising up and rebuilding right now. They are a young team and didn’t give up, just kept playing.” Belk said he’s befriended Gamecock defensive linemen Ulric Jones and Dante Sawyer and talked with them as well while on the visit. For the rivalry game, he was a guest of Clemson’s. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be pulling for the Tigers over the Gamecocks. “I hope both of them do good,” he said. “I want to see them both do good.” Belk said he won’t make his decision until after his official visits next year and he is planning to graduate early. And right now the two locals are making the most noise with him. “Clemson and USC (are recruiting the hardest),” Belk said. “They are coming at me pretty hard.” Belk said there is no overall favorite and he likes all the schools recruiting him. And he doesn’t feel the in-state schools have any advantage over the out-of-state schools. “That’s why I say I want to take my official visits because I can go to Clemson and USC but I really want to take my other official visits and see really what’s going on.” Belk estimated he has around 60 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 blocked field goals and 2 quarterback hurries this season. He also plays offensive tackle. RB Master Teague of Murfreesboro, TN visited USC last Saturday and the Gamecocks are one of his top schools at this point. USC offered DB Kyler McMichael of Duluth, GA. The Gamecocks join the likes of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, LSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, North Carolina and Michigan as offers for McMichael. He visited USC for the Tennessee game last month. Spring Valley LB Channing Tindall was offered by Auburn and Appalachian State. He visited Appalachian Saturday. DE Xavier Thomas of Wilson was back at USC last Saturday for another unofficial visit. He also saw the Gamecocks the previous weekend at Florida. He’s also been to Clemson, Georgia and Alabama this season. DB Jairus Brents of Louisville picked up a USC offer last week. Brents has not yet been to USC but he plans to get there at some point. The offer list for Brents also includes Alabama, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, NC State, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Wisconsin and others. RB Lynn-J Dixon of Butler, GA is having a monster season with 1700 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. His offers include USC, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Florida. USC offered LB Palaie Gaoteote of Las Vegas. He’s a heavily recruited prospect with a

national list of offers. 2019 OL Michael Tarquin of Ocala, FL was at USC Saturday for the Western Carolina game. USC offered 2020 ATH Avantae Williams of Deland, FL. Basketball News: USC signed 6-3 guard David Beatty of Philadelphia to close out the four man early recruiting class for Frank Martin. Beatty picked the Gamecocks over Indiana, Georgetown and Maryland. “It’s just an amazing feeling knowing I can be part of something special,” Beatty said. “Frank Martin is a great guy and he’s planning big things for Columbia. When I got on that plane back home, I was just thinking like this is definitely the place for me. I was just so comfortable with the team, so comfortable with the coach and I just felt like I belong there.” Last season Beatty averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game. With the Gamecocks losing their starting backcourt after this season, Beatty also was attracted by the opportunity for early playing time. “That played a great factor for me because I want to come in and compete for starting minutes,” he said. “I just want to compete for minutes. I’m a competitor, that’s what I do, so I just want to come in, be great within the system and just play how coach Frank wants me to. I keep defenders on their toes and they never know if I’m going to pull up or I’m going to attack the rim. I’m just always throwing curve balls at my defenders.” Martin had to beat out some college basketball blue bloods to land Beatty. Georgetown, Indiana and Maryland are all nationally ranked programs and nearly annual participants in the NCAA Tournament. USC is neither at this point but the idea of helping build something won out with Beatty over joining an established power. “I love being the underdog, that’s just me,” Beatty said. “I love showing people that I can win. I love showing people that my team is great and I have a great coach. I just love proving people wrong. I don’t want people telling me I can’t do it, scouts and newspapers say that the team can’t do it, that’s what I live for.” Beatty joins 7-1 Jason Cudd, 6-10 Felipe Haase and 6-7 Ibrahim Doumbia as Martin’s early signees. Baseball News: USC landed a highly regarded catcher for the 2017 class in Luis Campusano of Augusta. He formerly was committed to Missouri. Last season Campusano hit .493 with 6 homers and 33 RBIs. The Gamecocks also picked up commitments from 2018 P Wesley Sweatt of Northwestern, 2019 SS Kameron Guidry of Snellville, GA and 2020 RHP Landon Lucas of Blythewood.


Spurs & Feathers • 15

November 30, 2016

Another strong turnout for Colleton County pep rally BY KYLE HECK Reporter Every year, the Colleton County Gamecock Club holds a pep rally prior to the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry football game. It’s always one of the biggest events of the year, and it was no different on Monday, Nov. 21, at the Walterboro Elks Lodge. “Our Gamecocks always turn out for us in Colleton County,” Colleton County Gamecock Club President Lori Bell Beard said. “Win or lose, they’re always there.” Those in attendance brought along a food dish to share, and it was an event filled with fellowship and, of course, songs that all South Carolina fans know well. “We had a DJ and the kids danced, and of course we played Sandstorm a bunch of times,” Bell Beard said. “Just had some good fellowship and getting ready for the big game.” The Gamecocks in Colleton County the trip up to the Upstate. Everyone was planned to hold a watch party for the an- obviously very much looking forward to nual rivalry game back at the Walterboro the big game. Elks Lodge for those that couldn’t make With so much excitement and great

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applications last night,” Bell Beard noted. The pep rally was obviously fun for the adults, but the event was tailored toward the youngsters who will one day soon be helping to lead the support for the University. “It was mainly for the kids,” Bell Beard said. “It wasn’t a Junior Gamecock Club function thing, (and) it’s fun for the adults too, but (we) made it about the kids because they enjoy it too. That’s the future of our Gamecock booster club.” For the present, the Colleton County Gamecock Club hopes to continue to grow support for the University of South Carolina down in the area. The annual golf tournament is a big fundraiser for the club, and they also hold watch parties all throughout the football season and do other events as well. In fact, now that the Gamecocks are bowl eligible, the Colleton County Gamecock Club plans on holding another watch party for that game. That is, of course, if the bowl game isn’t close enough to SUBMITTED PHOTO where the members can attend in person. things going on in and around Colleton “We are just trying to have a strong County, the support continues to grow for Gamecock presence in Colleton County,” the local club. Bell Beard said. “We have a great group “I got asked for a couple membership of fans that are always very supportive.”

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16 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

Legendary Fan’s family has long history of supporting Gamecocks

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

ticipation of his family,” Fortson said of his father. “That’s why I was raised, literally, from the time I could walk to right now you Bob Fortson has a quick answer when you would be a fan of Carolina. Now I don’t want ask him when he became a South Carolina you to think that I’m saying that I had to do it Gamecock fan? whether I wanted to or not because I thought “I was born a Carolina fan,” Fortson replies. it was the greatest, fun ride I’ve ever had in It’s certainly true when it comes to Fortson. my life.” Along with being a decorated war hero in That dedication from Fortson and his famthe Navy, Fortson’s father played football for ily earned him the right to be the Legendary the Gamecocks in the 1930s. South Carolina Fan of the game prior to the South Carolina was the school that offered him a full scholar- football team taking on Western Carolina. ship, but Fortson still has letters from former Fortson was honored on the field in front of Tennessee coach Robert Reese Neyland, the the crowd, and given the famous jacket that’s namesake of Tennessee’s football stadium, handed out to all Legendary Fans. that were sent to his father. However, the While Fortson said he was honored and Vols offered a scholarship that only covered humbled by the recognition, he wanted to tuition and some of the book costs. pass it on to his role model. Because South Carolina did so much for “Probably my father should be getting the him, Fortson’s father made it one of his mis- awards, not me,” Fortson noted. sions in life to give back to the University Fortson’s father was one of the original of South Carolina. It’s something he passed founders of the “BAM” club, which later down to his children, and they carried on the became what is now the Gamecock Club. His legacy of loyalty to the University. mother earned a unique master’s degree from “He felt a great debt to the University and the University as a South Carolina history he intended that it would be repaid by parmajor. She also became heavily involved in

the University by helping the alumni association and joining a presidential search committee. “It was necessary that their children become involved,” Fortson said. “I had a sister, who has passed away. I have a brother who’s still alive, and there’s me. We were all bound to go to the University of South Carolina, or you die trying.” For Fortson, the opportunity to be the Legendary Fan during the game the Gamecocks clinched bowl eligibility in the first year of the Will Muschamp era was special. Fortson has had interactions with the South Carolina football coaches for years, and understands the pressure that they sometimes face, which is why he was so happy for Muschamp. “It’s a major accomplishment, especially for Muschamp,” Fortson said. “I was very pleased for him. I’ve shaken hands or had dinner with every coach that’s ever been at Carolina since the Rex Enright days. It is important that the coaches receive the support of the fans because it can be lonesome out there on the end of that limb. I was very pleased, both for the team and for coach, that

they became bowl eligible. It’s a wonderful thing for the University, and it speaks well for where they’re going to end up.” As expected, Fortson’s children are all diehard South Carolina fans and support the University. One of his daughters, Kellah Webster, is currently the President of the Horry County Gamecock Club. While he was born and raised in Columbia, Fortson has lived in Horry County since the 1970s. Fortson was raised to be loyal to the University of South Carolina. However, it hasn’t been a job or something he feels like he has to do. It’s something that Fortson wants to do. Being involved for so long, he’s made plenty of relationships and a lot of memories by helping to support the University, and it all comes back to what the school first did for Fortson’s father long ago. “The old man said, ‘You can go anywhere you want to go as long as you want to go to the University of South Carolina,’” Fortson recalled. “He also said, ‘I’ll pay as long as you go to the University of South Carolina. But if you want to go someplace else, you have to get a scholarship or get a job.’”


Spurs & Feathers • 17

November 30, 2016

PHOTO BY TAMI BURKE

This was the first official photo of Aiken Communications S&F group in June of 2013. From left-to-right is Kathy Boyette, Tim O’Briant, Brian Hand, Mike Kucharski and Ed Girardeau.

Mike Kucharski to Brian Hand: Thanks from Gamecock Nation BY MIKE KUCHARSKI Special to S&F

ever present. Thank you for your dedication. I was lucky enough to be part of the During this season of Thanksgiving we original staff when Aiken Communicain Gamecock Nation have a lot to be thank- tions took over Spurs & Feathers which ful for, but I want to take the time to say a provided me a number of exciting opportuspecial “thank you” to one extremely dedi- nities. For a life-long Gamecock fan, it was cated Gamecock. Thank you Brian Hand! a blast. I have memories of great times that Brian has served as the Executive Editor I will never forget, from following Coach for Spurs & Feathers since June of 2013, Mo and the Gamecock beach volleyball and his tireless work has made a product program from its start, to all the memories that he should be extremely proud of. I from an amazing season of Carolina footknow that I am proud to have played my ball led by Connor Shaw, Bruce Ellington part in serving as Reporter for about 15 and Jadeveon Clowney, to watching Frank months as Aiken Communications took Martin and the upstart Gamecocks upset over the publication of Spurs & Feathers. Kentucky in the Colonial Life Arena, to Through the unprecedented coverage of so many memories were all made possible all 21 of the University of South Carolina’s by the opportunity given to me by Brian athletic teams you can see Brian’s passion and Tim O’Briant. Thank you for the opfor all things Gamecock showing through. portunity. I am lucky to have worked with someone I worked for Brian at the USC Aiken whose dedication to Gamecock Nation was Athletics Department before working for

him at Spurs & Feathers, and the lessons I learned from him and the work ethic he exemplified have carried with me now. I am thankful for those years that we worked together (because even as my boss, he was never shy of hard work or helping anytime it was needed). Brian’s impact on me helped me to know that your work ethic is something that can set you apart from others and working hard is something that anyone can do. Thank you for your teaching and mentorship. I called upon some of the lessons from Brian and my experience with him just over a year ago as I transitioned into another job at one of the facilities at the Savannah River Site. I was leaving working in a field I knew and going into a field in which I had zero experience. I took some cues from my time with Brian and began working hard and studying up on the program before I even transitioned into the new job

so that I could hit the ground running. Fast forward a few months and I got the job full time and have become successful in supporting our facility. I could not be as successful in this field without the time I spent with Brian. So thank you for showing me the value of hard work. Brian wrote an amazing column earlier this week thanking a number of people, but I wanted to take the time to say thank you to him. Your efforts have been appreciated by Gamecock Nation and I know that many would like to say thank you to you. You have always been a great worker, family man and friend. We members of Gamecock Nation know how lucky the UNC Asheville Athletics Department is to be getting a man like you. So thank you from Carolina fans across Gamecock Nation, and thank you from one Gamecock in particular who benefitted so much from your mentorship and friendship.


18 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Paul Beckwith: ‘Take advantage of every opportunity you get’

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

done deal.” But as is often the case with life, things didn’t go the way Beckwith envisioned or While in high school in Florida, Paul Beck- expected. During his senior year of high with had no intentions of going to South school, Beckwith and five other fellow reCarolina. Playing for the Gamecocks was cruits got a call from Scott saying he had something that never crossed his mind, and taken the head coaching job at South Carohe didn’t even visit the campus. lina. Beckwith’s mind was dead set on attend“He said ‘hey, I took the head job at South ing Florida State, where Brad Scott was the Carolina, and wanted to know if you’d like to offensive coordinator at the time. Beckwith come on board and come to Columbia, South and Scott had developed a great relationship Carolina,’” Beckwith recalled Scott saying. while Beckwith was being recruited. “I said ‘wow, I’ve never been to Columbia.’ “Coach Scott had been recruiting me since I didn’t take a visit there. I didn’t know anymy sophomore or junior year of high school,” thing about it.” Beckwith recently told Spurs & Feathers at That change of events threw a wrench in Langston Moore’s Eat2Win camp. “I was Beckwith’s perfectly laid out plans. Along already a FSU fan, not a Florida Gator since with already deciding to go to Florida State, we were like 45 minutes from Gainesville. Beckwith figured he was going to redshirt What sold me was his whole relationship his first year, sit out as a redshirt freshman and coaching style; it was good. My parents and play his final three years with the Semireally liked it. It was a big faith-based thing noles. for him and our parents. It was pretty much a However, after talking it over with his

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Beckwith noted. A couple of years after leaving South Carolina, Beckwith came back and was a strength and conditioning coach for Lou Holtz, and had the opportunity to be a part of two Outback Bowl victories. Weightlifting was something that always appealed to Beckwith after watching his brother get into it when he was young, and weightlifting was also a sport at Beckwith’s high school. After serving as a strength and conditioning coach PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE for a few years, Beckwith moved into sales. family, Beckwith decided to make the leap Without the chance to continually work out, and follow Scott to South Carolina in 1994. Beckwith’s weight rose to 400 pounds before Beckwith arrived on campus at around 270 he decided to take another big step. pounds, but after two-a-day practices for a Beckwith opened Carolina CrossFit after couple of months, Beckwith was closer to being introduced to the workout program 250 by the time the season started. Because by a friend, and that was the start of another of the weight loss, Beckwith was moved to special career. Beckwith traveled around and center, where he envisioned himself as an participated in CrossFit games, and built up emergency backup for the time being, espe- Carolina CrossFit into one of the best procially with fifth-year senior Vincent Dinkins grams in the state. playing in front of him. “We were first in the state of South CaroliBut once again, fate had other plans. In the na in 2006, and built it to a huge facility with first game of the season against rival Georgia 600-plus members,” Beckwith said. at Williams-Brice Stadium, Beckwith was Beckwith eventually sold Carolina Crosssitting near the end of the bench, looking Fit, and he is now currently the director of around at the crowd of more than 80,000, APEX Athletic Performance. Beckwith said and just taking in the atmosphere from his the program is a combination of Palmetto first collegiate football game. Health, Moore Orthopedic and the Universi“I hear this small, little voice come into my ty of South Carolina sports medicine group, headset saying ‘Paul, you’re in,’” Beckwith and his job is to help athletes who’ve had said. “And I’m like ‘oh my goodness.’” surgery recover and get back into shape. Just like that, Beckwith found himself It’s a rewarding job for Beckwith as he gets lining up over the ball in the middle of a to see the young athletes make their comemarquee college football game with Steve back, and a lot of times they are in even betTaneyhill leaning over to get the snap from ter shape than before the injury and surgery. him. When Beckwith looked up, there was Of course, it takes a lot of hard work, but a 300-pound defensive tackle looking to run Beckwith believes people should work hard over him on his way to the quarterback. for everything in life. “Matt Storm, I’ll never forget that name,” “Take advantage of every opportunity Beckwith said. “I was like ‘oh good gosh, you get,” Beckwith said. “You never know I’m going to get trucked and run over.’ But who’s going to show up, you never know the little guy did well.” who’s going to be out there looking at you, Dinkins came back later that year, and the so if you’re busting your butt every single two split time at center. However, the good time, every single play, you’re going to get showing by Beckwith allowed him to cenoticed.” ment himself as a starter the next year, and Beckwith knows exactly how important for the rest of his four-year career with the hard work is. His original plans fell through Gamecocks. for college football at Florida State, but after Beckwith has a lot of special memories arriving at South Carolina, his preparation from his time with the Gamecocks, includallowed him to be ready when his number ing during that freshman season, where was unexpectedly called. South Carolina picked up its first-ever bowl “Hard work gives you a chance,” Beckwith victory by defeating West Virginia in the continued. “It doesn’t guarantee you anyCarquest Bowl. thing, but lack of hard work will surely not “That was a great freshman year for me,” give you a chance.”


Spurs & Feathers • 19

November 30, 2016

PHOTO BY BRIAN HAND

Junior Gamecock Club ‘Cocoa with Cocky’ event a huge success

BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor

level of the Colonial Life Arena behind the Box Office featured the Junior Gamecocks getting the unique opportuMeredith Blackwell of the Gamecock nity to have Spurs & Feathers photograClub Executive Committee came up with pher Allen Sharpe take their picture with the idea, and on Wednesday, Nov. 23, Cocky and Santa. before the South Carolina men’s basketIn addition, the free event open to all ball team took on Michigan it became a Junior Gamecock Club members allowed reality. those in attendance the chance to have “She’s talked about it for years, and we some hot cocoa with all of the fixings were finally able to do it,” Gamecock plus receive their own free copy of the Club Executive Director Patrick McFar- world-renowned #JustaChicken coloring land said of the inaugural Junior Game- book that is part of the #JustaChicken cock Club “Cocoa with Cocky” event. children’s book series penned by former The special event held on the concourse Gamecock football captains Langston

Moore and Preston Thorne with illustrations by Kev Roche. McFarland could not have been happier with how everything turned out. “It’s neat to have our Junior Gamecock Club members here for the Michigan game the day before Thanksgiving,” McFarland said. “Everybody is getting in the holiday spirit.” “Cocoa with Cocky” is the continuation of the efforts of the Gamecock Club to add more events for the Junior Gamecocks. Earlier this year, the Junior Gamecock Club held a fall sports party before a

women’s soccer game, and as always the Junior Gamecocks were also treated to the annual Junior Gamecock Club Halloween Party at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “We want to have more events,” McFarland said. “In the past it’s really just been the Halloween Party at Riverbanks, and we want to do some more different events for the Junior Gamecocks so they feel like they are getting a lot out of their membership.” To learn more about joining the Junior Gamecock Club, please visit http://thegamecockclub.com/donate/.


20 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Washington forever grateful to Gamecocks for sticking by his side

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

Devin Washington is the perfect example of why it’s important to have a backup plan for everything in life. His original plan as a highly-touted football prospect was to go off and play college football for four years and then hopefully go into the NFL. However, things haven’t quite worked out that way so far. Washington was a four-star defensive end out of Orlando, Florida who had around 30 scholarship offers from schools all across the country. He chose South Carolina out of that group and enrolled at school in 2013. Washington was redshirted that year when he suffered a concussion before the season started that kept him out of action for the entire year. The next season as a redshirt freshman, Washington encountered some more bad luck when a lingering hamstring injury once again kept him from getting on the field. Entering his third season still trying to recover from the injuries, particularly the concussion, Washington realized that it was in his best interest to give up the sport he loved before he put himself in any more jeopardy. For some players, the disappointment of not playing college football anymore would have caused them to give up on school and return home. However, that wasn’t Washington. He took a medical hardship and stayed on scholarship to focus on completing a double major in the business field. Washington will graduate from South Carolina in December, and he will be forever grateful for the school and athletic staff standing behind him every step of the way. “I’m obviously forever indebted to them, especially the training staff, (head football athletic trainer) Clint Haggard and all of them over there,” Washington said. “They were extremely helpful with me. The front office, coach (Athletics Director Ray) Tanner, all of the compliance office. They stood by my side, so I’m forever indebted to the University for that. Them keeping me around and keeping me on scholarship to be able to finish my college education, that’s big.” Ever since arriving on campus, Washington has tried to make a positive impact wherever he goes. He plays a big role in planning the “Lift for Life” event on campus each year, which is a fundraiser that helps with the research of rare diseases through the Uplifting Athletes organization.

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

Washington is also currently interning with the Marcus Lattimore Foundation, and after he graduates he plans on staying in South Carolina rather than returning home to Florida. “I’m going to stay here, and I love it here,” Washington said. “I’ve met so many people here, I might as well enjoy it.” That attraction to the state and University was the main reason that South Carolina separated itself from the dozens of other schools that were trying to get the services

of Washington. “It was the people, the state and the fans,” Washington said. “I love the environment here, not just the campus area, but the surrounding areas. I think it encompassed everything. Not to say that other schools didn’t do that, but when I came here it felt like a home.” Washington would undoubtedly still love to be over at Williams-Brice Stadium enjoying another season of football with his teammates. He said the memories of running out

to “2001” and experiencing “Sandstorm” are things that he’ll never forget. However, Washington is making the most of his situation. After all, he knows the experience of going to college is something that is much more important than just playing football, and he believes that South Carolina has done a great job of preparing him for the life ahead. “They’re about making you a better person, so I really appreciate it for sure,” Washington said.


November 30, 2016

Spurs & Feathers • 21

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

Shields: ‘There’s a bright future ahead’ for Gamecock volleyball

goes because in college, everything is faster and you have to think a lot harder as far as what to anticipate and where to go and that On Nov. 23, the SEC volleyball awards kind of stuff,” Shields said. “In that aspect, I were announced, and for the second year think I’ve gotten better at my volleyball IQ.” in a row, the Gamecocks had a member on The five seniors on the roster have done a the All-SEC freshman team. After setter great job incorporating the newcomers into Aubrey Ezell was on the squad last season, the lineup this year, and the Gamecocks freshman outside hitter Mikayla Shields was definitely appear to be in great shape once named to the team this year. the upperclassmen graduate. South Carolina has never had freshmen Along with Ezell and Shields, Claire Edhonored in back-to-back seasons, and wards and Alicia Starr are a couple other Shields was just the fifth freshman in school freshmen who have contributed greatly to history to be recognized by the league. the team in 2016. “It meant a lot to me because coming in With that kind of talent, the future aphere and knowing that we’re trying to repears bright for South Carolina volleyball, build the program, (I’m) just fighting every and count Shields in as someone who’s very game for my team,” Shields said. “It’s meant excited. the world that somebody recognized it.” “It means there’s a bright future ahead,” Shields has had an outstanding year, lead- Shields said. “It means that the players that ing the Gamecocks in both kills and hitting are coming in are seeing what they could be, percentage. The Orlando native is just the and what we are. Hopefully that will transfourth freshman since 2001 to break the late into a great next four years.” 300-kill mark in a season for South CaroThe Gamecocks have already guaranteed lina. that they’ll at least match the most wins in a Head coach Scott Swanson has raved season since 2008, and it’s been a big turnabout Shields’ play all season long, and she around from a 2015 year that saw injuries always seems to know where to hit the ball ravage the Gamecocks’ chances en route to on the opposing side of the net. a 13-18 year. Now with almost a full season under her With several talented players returning belt, Shields is much more comfortable out next year and a solid incoming recruiting on the floor. class set to join as well, South Carolina “I feel a lot smarter as far as volleyball hopes to continue the upward trend in 2017.

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22 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Going bowling! Applications are available SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS

With its 44-31 win over Western Carolina, the University of South Carolina has reached the six-win total necessary to participate in a postseason bowl game. Bowl applications are now available on all Gamecock Club members, Faculty/Staff season ticket holders, and single-game purchasers’ online accounts. Season and single-game purchasers are asked to log into their account at GamecocksOnline.com to view the bowl application. It is important for Gamecock Club members to submit postseason ticket requests by December 9 to ensure tickets are assigned

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH

based on Gamecock Club priority points. The ticket application will have a list of all bowl games in which the Gamecocks are eligible to compete. Members are also

reminded to request tickets for all postseason games they are interested in attending. Charges are only processed for the game in which South Carolina is selected to partici-

pate. The ticket request deadline is also the deadline for additional giving to affect seat location. The priority limits for football away games apply to both regular-season away games and postseason competitions (SEC Championship and bowl games). Tickets requested outside of these limits will be filled based on availability after priority assignments, but we encourage all purchasers to request as many as they would like, as we anticipate being able to secure them. Information about ordering bowl tickets for students will be released at a later date. If there are questions, or problems logging in, please call the Athletics Ticket Office at 803-777-4274.


Spurs & Feathers • 23

November 30, 2016

Historic season ends in the Elite Eight for South Carolina women’s soccer BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor COLUMBIA - It is known as the beautiful game, but the game of soccer can also be uncommonly cruel. That is exactly the way that it was for NCAA Tournament top-seeded and nationally third-ranked South Carolina women’s soccer in its season-ending 1-0 loss to second-seeded and sixth-ranked North Carolina (17-3-4) in the Elite Eight at Stone Stadium on Friday, Nov. 25. “Our game is not fair,” North Carolina women’s soccer head coach Anson Dorrance said after the match. “It should have been a tie at worse for South Carolina. They were outstanding. They create all kinds of chances and they certainly deserved not to go out in this fashion.” But unfortunately once again it did have to end for the Gamecocks. “We had our chances, and at the end of the day we have to be proud of what we did this season,” South Carolina junior star Savannah McCaskill said after the Gamecock loss. “It may suck right now, but we have a lot to hang our hat on right now and be proud of.” From start-to-finish, South Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelley Smith has said that this year’s group was as committed of one as they have ever coached, and after the loss that was one of the things that made it so tough. “We’re all sad at this moment,” Smith said. “It hurts. But you can’t be more proud of what they’ve done all year and how they left the field tonight. They have nothing to hang their heads on. They left it all on the field. They did everything they could except find a way to win.” SEC regular-season champion South Carolina women’s soccer ended its historic 2016 season with a record of 21-2-1 overall. “It was such an amazing group,” Smith said. The Gamecocks would control the run of play for the first 20 minutes of the game with South Carolina narrowly scoring on a couple of occasions. Despite the strong start by the Gamecocks it would be North Carolina that would be able to garner the lone goal of the game when Madison Schultz floated what was supposed to be a cross according to her after the match from the top left corner of the 18-yard box into the upper right corner

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

of the net past diving South Carolina goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski. The goal that gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead in the 22ndminute was the fifth of the year for Schultz. North Carolina would control the momentum for the next few minutes, but it would be South Carolina that controlled the majority of the run of play in the final 15 minutes of the first half. In fact, in the 41st-minute South Carolina’s Kaleigh Kurtz just missed on the equalizer with her long-range effort hitting off the crossbar to leave the Tar Heels ahead 1-0 at the halftime break.

South Carolina out-shot North Carolina, 9-8, in the first half with the two teams each having two corner kicks in the opening half. In the 55th-minute it looked as if South Carolina would pick up the equalizer once again when McCaskill was taken down in the box to give a penalty kick opportunity. South Carolina’s Sophie Groff placed the ball well to the lower left on the attempt, but North Carolina goalkeeper Lindsey Harris made the save to leave the Tar Heels still ahead 1-0. In the 77th-minute, Schultz looked to put

the game out of reach for the Gamecocks with a breakaway opportunity, but Krzeczowski was up to the challenge, saving the breakaway to keep the score still 1-0 in the Tar Heels’ favor. The match would eventually end at the same score with the Tar Heels advancing to the Final Four on what would prove to be Schultz’s fifth game-winning goal in the last eight games. South Carolina out-shot North Carolina Carolina, 16-14, in the match. The Tar Heels held a slight 6-5 advantage in corner kick opportunities.


24 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Rashad Faison joined South Carolina football to start ‘something different’

BY KYLE HECK Reporter

Back in the late 1990s, Rashad Faison had a choice to make. A talented football player from Wauchula, Florida, Faison could take the easy and comfortable route and stay close to home to play at Florida. Or, he could leave the state and try and go blaze his own trail at a school that was trying to get itself back on the map. Faison chose the second option, and it brought him to South Carolina at a time when the football program was at one of the lowest points in history. Faison’s freshman season was 1999, which as all Gamecock fans know is the year the team went 0-11 and stretched its overall losing streak to 21 games. However, just a couple of short years later, Faison was finishing up a career where he was part of one of the biggest turnarounds in college football. “I have a cousin of mine, and our official visit to (South Carolina) was together,” Faison said. “He ended up choosing to go to the University of Miami, and he’s always like ‘well, I have a National Championship.’ I said ‘yeah, but I did something different.’ Not many people can go 0-11 and turn it around and win nine games. You start a legacy here, meaning you want to open the door for other Gamecocks in the future with coming and doing something special and keeping it going. That’s more important than anything.” Faison also got the opportunity to play early, and the defensive back made an immediate impact. He earned freshman All-America honors in 1999 with 52 tackles, three sacks and a blocked kick. Faison was even better as a sophomore, racking up 99 tackles, which ranked second on the team. His 13 tackles for loss were tops on the squad. Faison was named second-team AllSEC as a junior when he recorded a team-high 104 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. In the season-opener against Boise State, Faison took a blocked field goal attempt back 82 yards for his second career touchdown as the first half clock expired. He capped his career with 93 tackles as a senior, and finished his four-year run in the Garnet and Black with 348 tackles. “You think about being recruited all across the country, going to any school

SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS

you want,” Faison said. “But at the end of the day, what you want to do is you want to have an impact.” Faison did exactly that, and he played a big role in the tremendous turnaround by the Gamecocks. After the winless season in 1999, South Carolina came back in 2000 and won eight games, including a victory over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. Those numbers improved to nine wins in 2001 and another victory over the Buckeyes in the Outback Bowl. All of a sudden, that 21-game losing streak felt like ancient history, and the Gamecocks and their fans had something to be proud of. “I remember being on campus and not even wearing any apparel,” Faison said.

“But the next year, the city is on fire. That was very special to me because it was like a sense of pride.” Faison recalls a team-wide dedication to turning things around for the program. “I remember that summer in between the seasons, everyone made a commitment to stay here instead of going back home,” Faison said. “That was the biggest difference, just the commitment. Everybody bought in, everybody was willing to not feel like they felt last year, and that’s the part about learning how to win.” Despite it being more than 15 years later, Faison said he still hates the feeling he had during that first winless year. However, because he made a commit-

ment to be a part of something different, he helped complete the amazing turnaround that Gamecock fans will always remember. Faison recently moved back to Columbia from Florida, and it’s a move he’s glad he made. He’s now back around the community he witnessed rally around the football program. “We’re out there every day playing and sweating, but it’s the fans who really, really take it to heart,” Faison said. “You have to have their best interests in mind. For me, it became more personal than anything. You’re like ‘man, I don’t like seeing that little kid upset because we lost.’ And that’s what you want. You want players where that matters.”


November 30, 2016

Spurs & Feathers • 25

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Six-year-old David Jackson of Charleston, South Carolina had a blast getting the opportunity to take his picture with the Carolina Girls before a recent Gamecock football game.

#JustaChicken helping to make others the champs of their holidays BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor

fans everywhere this holiday season.” The special personalized #JustaChicken books are a deal at a price all Gamecock Gamecock football legend Langston fans can cherish at $20.01. Moore and the group behind #JustaChicken In addition, recently the group behind the want to make this holiday one that all book just released the #JustaChicken colorGamecock fans will remember. ing book. The coloring book is available for To that end, the group is offering a special just $12.00. deal so that Gamecock fans everywhere will “We’re biased because we think it is the receive a gift that they will remember for best book in the world, but truly it is just a lifetime with a personalized memorable our hope to make it a memorable experience present this holiday. that Gamecock fans can cherish,” Moore This special personalized #CarolinaMade said. gift as Will Muschamp and the Gamecock The #JustaChicken group has made it football coaching staff would call it is #Jus- extremely easy for everyone this holiday taChicken, which was written by former season by providing a link where you can Gamecock captains in Moore and Preston order the books and tell how to personalize Thorne. The book was illustrated by reat: http://tinyurl.com/justachickenholiday nowned Gamecock artist Kev Roche, who Once everything is filled out they will then presently works for ESPN. send you a digital invoice. The books will “Just imagine getting this unique gift be shipped right away, but the last day for delivered to your doorstep,” Moore said. orders to be shipped before Christmas is 12 “We just wanted to make the experience as p.m. on Dec. 19. All orders before that time memorable as possible for all Gamecock will be guaranteed to arrive by Christmas.


26 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

Gunter: ‘It is time Gamecock fans fully get behind what Martin has built by making CLA a loud environment’ Thanksgiving week is without a doubt the favorite full week of the year for me. You have basketball going on daily throughout the week, you have the hype of the South Carolina/Clemson football game being built up and, of course, you have the wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal. However, around this state, most Gamecock fans tend to lose a little focus on the basketball proBill Gunter gram given the big Contributing football game that Writer takes place. If this week you lost your focus and did not notice, Frank Martin and his ball club picked up two significant wins. These wins that the Gamecocks scored over national powers Michigan and Syracuse not only enhanced the reputation of Martin’s program but also helped the SEC showing there are other good teams besides Kentucky. What happened at Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday and then again on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. was a loud announcement. It was the type of announcement that Gamecock basketball has not made probably since knocking off Kentucky in 1997 on Senior Day at Rupp Arena. It took Martin a few years and there are still plenty of games to be played this season, but if coach pointed out just how in tune his ball club you watched the games this past week, you saw was with the game plan that assistant coach the trademark Martin pressure defense bother Matt Figger presented. big name opponents into awful offensive nights. “We had ten keys, five offensive and five deThat defense is something that according to fensive on the board,” Martin said following the sophomore guard Perry Dozier Jr, the team Michigan win. “Those guys did exactly what and coaching staff take pride in and as national they said they needed to do to win the game.” analysts have pointed out this week was a big What excited Martin the most about his team reason for the Gamecock victories. following through on the game plan was plays “Every game we come out and guard,” Dozier made by sophomore Chris Silva and freshman said following the win over Syracuse. “That is Maik Kotsar down the stretch. what our team and our coaching staff prides Both players made critical baskets down the ourselves on and makes our helping make our final minutes to secure the win and got those defense part of our offense. We points by listening during the come into each game defensiveweek. minded.” Seeing players develop in that The Gamecocks are now 6-0 type of manner has Martin exon the season, but things haven’t cited about the potential for the been perfect. Following a close season moving forward. win over Monmouth, Martin said “As a coach, when you see that his team had a big flaw in players adapt in the middle of a their listening ability. game, and it’s your young playThat must have been corrected All Gamecock basketball ers, it gets you excited about as following the victory over coverage sponsored by what your team can become,” Michigan, the Gamecock head Yesterdays Martin said.

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH

Two wins, even over ranked opponents in the Wolverines and Orange does not make a season. However, come Selection Sunday, when NCAA Tournament bids are being handed out, they can help significantly. Martin talked after the Michigan game about how this win affects his program moving forward. “Obviously, I think they are real good,” Martin said referring to Michigan. “That is the kind of win that you tuck in your back pocket and say I hope this helps us at the end of the year,” Senior wing Sindarius Thornwell had a fantastic week for the Gamecocks and he reiterated Martin’s point following the Syracuse game and mentioned keeping the younger players mindset in the right direction. “We don’t place our season on these type of games,” Thornwell said. “We take it one game at a time and treat each game the same. We had a great week but the older guys who have been through it try to keep everyone levelheaded and keep our working hats on, come to practice every day with the same mindset.” Saturday evening following the Gamecocks’

victory over the Orange, ESPN Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman weighed in with his thoughts on the Gamecocks and the SEC. “South Carolina adds Syracuse to its resume and the SEC has three or four teams that look NCAA worthy early. Kentucky, South Carolina look legit, maybe Florida and Texas A&M,” Goodman said. There are still plenty of games to go, including non-conference games against solid teams such as Seton Hall, Clemson and Memphis, but make no mistake, this Gamecock team is making its presence known. If the Gamecocks can keep Thornwell’s mentality of showing up every day with the same mindset, if they can take the floor each night with Dozier’s statement of a defensive mentality and if Martin continues to see improvement, Gamecock fans will be in for a fun winter. With that said, please show up in force on Thursday night for the Gamecocks when they host Vermont. Tipoff time is 6:30. It’s time Gamecocks fully get behind what Martin has built by making the Colonial Life Arena a loud environment.


Spurs & Feathers • 27

November 30, 2016

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Twitter: @ColaTipOffClub 2016-17 Columbia Tip-Off Club Meeting Schedule Dec. 6- Season Tip-Off Reception at Thirsty Fellow, 6PM Jan. 14- Ole Miss, Breakfast at Capital City Club, 9AM Jan. 24- Auburn, Luncheon at Capital City Club, Noon Feb. 4- Georgia, Brunch at Capital City Club, 10 AM Feb. 15- Arkansas, Luncheon at Capital City Club, Noon TBD- Women’s Basketball Event

The Columbia Tip-Off Club has supported the South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball programs since the Frank McGuire era. With the tremendous support of Gamecock men’s coach Frank Martin and women’s coach Dawn Staley, the Club seeks to develop, promote and grow fan interest in both basketball programs through Club membership.

The Tip-Off Club offers three membership levels: Individual ($125), Spur ($375/3 attendees) and Garnet and Black ($1,000/8 attendees). These membership levels permit access to all Club meetings for the season. Attendees will hear from the Gamecock head coaches, as well as from opposing team coaches, in a relaxed and intimate environment. For questions, please email the Columbia Tip-Off Club at columbiatipoffclub@gmail.com, or send us a tweet @ColaTipOffClub. We look forward to seeing you there! Go Gamecocks! The Columbia Tip-Off Club is a non-profit booster group of South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball fans. The Club works closely with the coaching staffs to provide fan support, behind the scenes access and an opportunity to further enhance collegiate basketball relationships and experiences.

Please Check: Full Name Street Address City Home Phone

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Individual ($125)

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Spur ($375) 3 attendees

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Garnet and Black ($1,000)

Zip 8 ttendees at a reserved table with company logo displaed at all meetings ** all additional attendees are $25 per meeting

Please mail bottom portion and payment to: Columbia Tip-Off Club PO Box 3616 Irmo, SC 29063 AS14-1505750-1A


28 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH OF HAND (LEFT) AND HECK (RIGHT) INTERVIEWING JUSTIN MCKIE

I’m forever thankful to Brian Hand BY KYLE HECK Reporter

the student newspaper, I happened to look at the name tag next to me and saw, “Brian Hand, Spurs & Feathers.” I took that as a I remember sitting in class in the spring of sign I should probably introduce myself to my senior year in 2014 when my professor the well-dressed man next to me, so I did, announced to the class that Spurs & Feathand asked Brian if they were still looking for ers was looking for writers that wanted writers? Funny how things work, isn’t it? to contribute. I was right in the middle of I began to write a story here and there “Senior Semester,” a hands-on “class” that for Spurs & Feathers and a short while afall journalism students at the University ter graduating, I officially began working of South Carolina have to go through to part-time with the paper. About a year after graduate. I was set to graduate in a couple that in June of 2015, I became a full-time of months, and I wasn’t really sure what I reporter. wanted to do. I was nervous to say the least. Around a year and a half later and now However, when my professor told us about looking back, starting a conversation with Spurs & Feathers looking for writers, it defi- Brian is definitely one of the best decisions nitely caught my attention. Not too long after I’ve ever made. Before I graduated, I wasn’t that, while covering a basketball game for sure of the route I wanted to take, but be-

cause of Brian and Aiken Communications, I was given an opportunity to prove myself and I am forever thankful. I’ve learned so much over the past 18 months working under Brian. It’s pretty unbelievable, actually. Whenever I have a question or need help, I know Brian will do everything he can to help me, and others, out. I’m young, so I haven’t had as many bosses as a lot of other people, but I know it’s going to be hard to beat what Brian was to me as my boss. He not only helped me get my first full-time job, which I will always remember, but he’s also helped me to appreciate what hard work can do. Brian is one of the hardest workers I know, and he deserves all of the recognition he gets, even if he shies away from that sort of thing.

Brian and I have driven all over the southeast for various sporting events, and those road trips are something that will stand out to me as well. I know a lot more about music than I did before, I’ll say that. I’ve tried to put into words how thankful I am for what Brian has done for me, and I hope I’ve done a decent job. I went from someone who wasn’t sure what my future would be to someone who knows what kind of career I want to have, and Brian has played a big role in that. Even more, I know he is now someone I can rely on for the rest of my career. He’s just that kind of person. So congratulations on the new job, Brian. I will definitely be rooting for you as you continue your rise through the athletic community.


Spurs & Feathers • 29

November 30, 2016

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH

Dawn Staley: ‘It’s good for our brand’ BY BRIAN HAND Executive Editor

showdown with No. 4/4 Louisville on Sunday, Nov. 27, was the first of three straight marquee games for the Gamecocks, who By the fifth game of the regular-season, followed up the matchup with Louisville the No. 3/3 South Carolina women’s basket- by traveling to Austin, Texas to take on No. ball team was already set for 14/14 Texas in the SEC/Big 12 its second top-10 showdown Challenge at 7 p.m. EST on of the year. Thursday, Dec. 1. Just a few The Gamecocks passed their days after that, South Carolina first top-10 test of the year as continues their new rivalry they opened the 2016-17 regwith Duke with a 2 p.m. EST ular-season with a 92-80 win game in Durham, North Caroover then No. 7/6 and current lina on Sunday, Dec. 4. No. 8/8 Ohio State on MonA lot of South Carolina’s day, Nov. 14, at Value City All Gamecock basketball scheduling has to do with Arena in Columbus, Ohio. coverage sponsored by the fact that the program has South Carolina’s top-5 Yesterdays reached a level where not ev-

erybody wants to take the court against the Gamecocks. “We took the teams that would play us,” Staley said. “Scheduling is pretty hard, and we didn’t want to have a schedule full of games that would not physically and mentally prepare us for what we’re trying to do in March and April and luckily we’ve got some great competition on the road and at neutral sites. I think it just prepares us to be ready and to measure ourselves to see where we need to improve and see where we’re good at some things out there on the floor.” Staley loves the fact though that the Gamecocks are playing so many premier games over the course of the next week with it not even stopping after that with home games

against Minnesota (Dec. 11), Clemson (Dec. 15) and No. 9/10 UCLA (Dec. 18) following that. “You force people to put you on TV,” Staley said. “If you play enough of these games, they’re going to have to put them on nationally-televised games. I think it’s great for the game, I think it’s great for our program, I think it’s great for our brand. You come here and you’re going to play on national television several times in the non-conference and that’s not even counting conference. We know our conference is a strong conference, and we have nationally-televised games, so for us, we’re not going to play gimme games. We’re going to play competition that will prepare us to play in March and April.”


30 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

South Carolina/Clemson postgame notes and quotes SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS GENERAL NOTES • Clemson defeated South Carolina 56-7. The Gamecocks are now 6-6 on the year with Clemson improving to 11-1 for the season. • Captains for South Carolina were: Deebo Samuel, Marquavius Lewis, Drew Williams and Mason Zandi. • Attendance at Memorial Stadium was 81,542. • The Gamecocks have had eight players start all 12 games this year: OG Zack Bailey, DE Darius English, OG Cory Helms, TE Hayden Hurst, CB Chris Lammons, DE Marquavius Lewis, DT Taylor Stallworth, OT Mason Zandi. OFFENSIVE NOTES • Sophomore wide receiver Deebo Samuel completed his first career touchdown pass with a 33-yard completion to Bryan Edwards in the third quarter. The touchdown reception was Edwards’ third touchdown of the season. Samuel also caught a team-high four passes for 14 yards. • Junior running back Rod Talley was South Carolina’s leading rusher as he carried a career-high 6 times for a career-high 50 yards, including a 28-yard run in the fourth quarter, his longest run from scrimmage in his career with the Gamecocks. • Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley was 7-for-17 in the air for 41 yards. Freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain was 6-for-11 for 33 yards in the air. DEFENSIVE NOTES • Junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams’ interception in the second quarter was his first of the season and the second of his career. Allen-Williams finished with a career-high 11 tackles surpassing his previous high of nine vs. Georgia and UMass earlier in the year. • Junior safety D.J. Smith tied his career-high with 12 tackles on the evening. Smith also had 12 earlier in the year vs. UMass. • Senior defensive end Marquavius Lewis has started all 24 games in his career with the Gamecocks. Lewis was credited with a sack and has 1.5 on the year for the Gamecocks. SPECIAL TEAM NOTES

PHOTO BY JENNY DILWORTH

phases. We got whipped. On the road recruiting, that’s the way we need to change our program.” On what he said to his team: “We’ll be ready for the next game.”

• Senior placekicker Elliott Fry moved to within one point of Kevin Butler (1981-84) of Georgia on the SEC Career List for On Clemson’s scheme: Most Points Scored. Fry is 12th all-time in the SEC with 352 “They are a very accurate team on all sides of the ball. We points with Butler 11th at 353 points and Zach Hocker (2010had some opportunities, but when you are in position, you have 13) of Arkansas 10th at 354 points. He has made 151 consecu- to make the plays.” tive PAT kicks. • Senior punter Sean Kelly had seven punts for 308 yards. He Category USC CU averaged 44.0 yards per punt including a 56-yard punt in the 1st Downs 14 41 game. Total Yards 218 622 • Junior defensive lineman Ulric Jones blocked Greg Huegel’s Passing 107 372 39-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. It was Jones’ secRushing 111 250 ond blocked field goal of the season. He also had a blocked field Penalties-Yards 5-54 7-75 goal vs. East Carolina on Sept. 16, 2016. 3rd Down Conversions 4-13 10-15 4th Down Conversions 0-2 2-2 South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp Turnovers 1 1 Opening statement: Time of Possession 25:46 34:14 “Not a lot to say. We got beat tonight by a better team. I don’t know what else to say. They have a good team across all three

Passing Leaders South Carolina COM ATT Bentley 7 17 McIlwain 6 11 Clemson COM ATT Watson 26 32 Schuessler 3 3

YDS TD 41 0 33 0 YDS TD 347 6 25 0

INT 1 0 INT 1 0

Rushing Leaders South Carolina CAR YDS AVG TD Talley 6 50 8.3 0 Dowdle 5 30 6.0 0 Clemson CAR YDS AVG TD Gallman 19 112 5.9 1 Fuller 7 46 6.6 0

LG 28 11 LG 23 15

Receiving Leaders South Carolina REC YDS AVG TD Samuel 4 14 3.5 0 Hurst 3 26 8.7 0 Clemson REC YDS AVG TD Scott 8 77 9.6 1 Williams 6 100 16.7 3

LG 14 19 LG 20 34


Spurs & Feathers • 31

November 30, 2016

Girardeau: Forever to Thee is who we are In 1945, my grandfather who played at USC from 1911 through 1914, took his two sons to their first South Carolina – Clemson football game. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. How long ago was that? World War II ended the month before the game which was played in October that year, so a long time ago. On Saturday, my Uncle “Bubba” attended his 71st matchup of the series in a row. It certainly will not be one of his most memorable. In fact, it’s not even worth repeating the score, but it’s Ed Girardeau a tradition and Contributing the Good Lord Editor willing, he’ll be back in Columbia next year for his 72nd. Why would he do that? It’s what we do as fans of the Gamecocks. Another season is in the books with twice as many wins as a year ago and still a chance to win a seventh in a bowl game. I would suggest to our rivals from Clemson to enjoy themselves as things are going to change. They always do. Just as the football season ends, a season for Spurs & Feathers comes to an end as well. Approximately five years ago, another football season was over and while sitting around having lunch with a group of guys, I suggested to Tim O’Briant that we should bid on publishing Spurs & Feathers. I had gotten word that the University was interested in expanding the newspaper that was Spurs into the digital era and was exploring different possibilities. I was actually kind of kidding, but before we left that day, Tim was all about it and embarked on a plan as to how to make it work. Just like dogs chasing a car, dang if we didn’t catch it. About six months later Aiken Communications was awarded the rights to publish the official sports publication of the University of South Carolina. This was a big deal. South Carolina was coming off two straight 11-2 seasons in football and two National Championships and a runner-up in baseball. Everyone was on the bandwagon. It was important to keep the integrity of what Dexter Hudson had created with Spurs. In that vain, it was very important to me that whomever became the editor, had to love the Gamecocks. Not like, not appreciate, but absolutely love the Gamecocks. Some names were brought up, but none had the USC pedigree. One day after we had finished a television show, Tim walked in and asked me, “What about Brian Hand?” I sat back and thought about it. Brian and I

PHOTO BY ALLEN SHARPE

Pictured (left-to-right) is Gamecock Club Executive Director Patrick McFarland, Ted Girardeau, Brent Skinner of BP Skinner Clothiers and Ed Girardeau when Ted Girardeau was honored as the Legendary Fan of the Game prior to baseball win over Alabama on Sunday, April 27, 2014. had worked together, mostly at USC Aiken baseball games where I was the play-by-play announcer on the local radio broadcast and Brian was the Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director at USCA. He was also the official scorer at baseball games. I would come in the press box and Brian would talk about the latest recruits South Carolina had gotten in football or basketball. To me, if you keep up with who is being recruited, you are a “real” hardcore Gamecock. He had grown up a Gamecock. He also had the necessary background in writing and producing a publication. I called Brian and asked him to lunch. He never asked what it was about. He assumed we wanted to talk about televising sporting events at USCA. Brian’s description in his column in this issue is a great account of what happened. One thing I have found from working with Brian for the last four years is that he is difficult to surprise, so little did I know that this may have been the only time I was involved in a surprise on him. The look on his face was like a little kid being given the greatest present ever: instant excitement! Maybe somewhere in the universe is somebody who would have been better, but I can’t believe that someone else exist. Brian attacked the job, taking Tim’s plan and adding his own. I thought we’d start www.spursandfeathers. com, send out an email, and everyone would come. It’s not that simple. I remember like it

was yesterday Brian telling me we would do it with Facebook and Twitter. Really? I didn’t have a personal Facebook page, but my TV show did. I think we had 6 likes. Okay, maybe it was 64 and more than half of those were family members. I think I had 12 followers on Twitter, too, so how was that going to work? As I write this, Spurs’ Facebook page has 22,345 likes and Twitter has over 19,300 followers. That is a testament to Brian and his vision of how this could work. Nobody works harder than Brian. I know that is the appropriate thing to say, but, no, I don’t have to say it. If everybody would just try and work as hard as Brian at their job, there is no limit to what we could accomplish. He insisted on being at every Gamecock Club meeting that first year. He has continued that and has gone to as many as he could while still attending not just the “big” sports, but the others as well. The 21 sports teams at USC are covered and given their time in the spotlight and Brian has never let that stop being a priority. So our loss is UNC Asheville’s gain. I know he’ll attack that job with the same veracity that he covered Carolina athletics. He is a testament to his parents and I know his family is very proud of his accomplishments. Spurs & Feathers’ success in the last four years is directly attributable to Brian Hand. He will be impossible to replace. So a season ends in football and also for

Spurs. What comes next for Spurs, I do not know. I know that sports are in great hands and will continue to thrive. Dawn Staley will have the USC women’s basketball team fighting not only for the SEC championship, but for the National Championship. Frank Martin’s team is ready to go the next level with two wins over ranked opponents this week, will crack the Top 25 later this week, and I believe will give Kentucky a fight for the SEC and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. Baseball is poised to be a preseason #1 as Coach Holbrook is loaded and the team will be back on top. The football team will practice and play in a bowl and a team that returns 10 starters on offense will be much improved. There is still work to do and recruits to recruit. Of particular importance will be replacing the eight seniors who we lose on defense, but I believe that Coach Muschamp was the perfect hire to replace Steve Spurrier and will do things that the Head Ball Coach didn’t accomplish such as winning the SEC championship. Thank you for letting us be a part of this for the last four seasons. It’s been a fun ride and I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts with my fellow Gamecocks. I know that next year I’ll be in Section 3 with my family where we’ve been for 50 years of my life. “Forever to Thee” is not just a line in a song to us. It is who we are. It’s who I am. It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!


32 • Spurs & Feathers

November 30, 2016

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