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may 27, 2015 • Volume 37 • Issue 8 • $1.50

Kyle Martin: A true Gamecock

Return for senior season places Martin among the elite in program history


2 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.

Contact Us: 301 Greystone Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 335-1399 To subscribe: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Ellen Priest Publisher Aiken Communications, Inc. Tim O’Briant General Manager tobriant@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1400 Ext. 500 Brian Hand Executive Editor bhand@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive ed@spursandfeathers.com (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 kboyette@spursandfeathers.com Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 brooks@spursandfeathers.com Reporters Kyle Heck and Collyn Taylor Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Mary Watson Graphic Designer Cover Design: Brian Hand (photos by Jenny Dilworth) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 20 times annually. The frequency is monthly from December to February, bi-weekly in March, monthly in April, bi-weekly in May, monthly in June and bi-weekly from August-December. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes three slick-paper magazine issues — one in April, one in June and one in August. 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.

Congratulations to former S&F reporter Mike Skylar (three years) on left and Reece (five Kucharski and his wife, Katie, on the birth of months) on the right were both born gartheir daughter, Ella Katherine Kucharski . net and black in the Haltiwanger family.

Marcus Lattimore was the guest speaker at the McLeod Children’s Hospital Fundraising Tailgate and Banquet in Florence recently.

Upcoming Events: Gamecock Club

Charleston County Gamecock Club Upcoming events Spring Meeting with Steve Spurrier, Jr. May 26, 6:30 p.m. at Big Game in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Save the Date! Football Season kickoff party will be August 14 at The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation. They will have food, drinks, a band, a live and silent auction, Cocky and the cheerleaders and a few guest speakers. More information in the near future.

Greenville County Gamecock Club 2015 Bus trips --Time and location for departure - TBA --Sign up today! First come, first served! Sept 3rd .. Bus trip to USC vs UNC in Charlotte, NC. $40 per seat Sept 19th .. Bus trip to USC vs Georgia in Athens, GA. $40 per seat Nov 7th .. Bus trip to USC vs Tenn in Knoxville, Tenn. $45 per seat *Price includes bus ride - box lunch drinks - coolers are allowed - call for info! *You may call and place your name on any bus trip! Contact T. Wayne @ 9018462 or Dan @ 244-3739 Florence County Gamecock Club Upcoming events

The Florence County Gamecock Club Golf Tournament is on Monday, June 1 at the Florence Country Club. There is lunch before the tournament that starts at 1 p.m. For more information, call FCGC President Scat Scaturro at 843621-8008 or e-mail him at michael.scaturro@easternfirst.com. The Florence County Gamecock Club will hold their annual Kickoff Luncheon on August 27 and Tony Morrell of TheBigSpur.com will be in town. They will also present their proceeds from the golf tournament to Gamecock athletics that day. Gamecock Cruisers Football and Presidential library tour This fall the Gamecocks have back-toback away games at Texas A&M and Tennessee. I am putting together a trip that starts on Tuesday October 27th with everyone returning home on Sunday November 8th after the game in Knoxville. The trip will include a stop over in Dallas-Fort Worth hopefully for a Dallas Cowboys game at Jerry’s world. The only dry camping will be the two

nights at A&M. I have tentatively reserved spots at the various campgrounds for10 coaches but can add more. If you are interested please let me know ASAP so I can add reservations as needed. Here is our schedule: Oct 27th - Hoover, Alabama Oct 28th - West Monroe, LA. Home of Duck Commander. Oct 29th - Canton, TX. Start of First Monday Trade days weekend Oct 30th & 31st - College Station, TX we will Dry Camp in visitors RV lot next to the George Bush Presidential Library November 1st & 2nd - Grapevine, TX. Easy drive to Cowboys Stadium, George W Bush Presidential Library, and Fort Worth Stockyards. (Did I mention my favorite Mexican restaurant is in Grapevine) November 3rd - North Little Rick, AR We will be camped across the river from the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. November 4th - Nashville, TN. Location of the President Andrew Jackson Home. November 5th, 6th, & 7th - Knoxville, TN. Will include a day-trip to Sieverville, TN in the 6th. Hope you will plan on joining us. If you have questions I can be reached at 678.427.3850 cell or wmichaelmcmanus@cs.com. Regards, Mike McManus


Spurs & Feathers • 3

May 27, 2015

HBC: ‘We’re looking forward to this coming season’ by brian hand Executive Editor

in the game sometimes we couldn’t stay on the field and move the ball and then we didn’t stop the other team.” “Last year’s history and we’re trying to imThe biggest change during the offseason prove. We made some changes and we’re look- was bringing in Jon Hoke as co-defensive ing forward to this coming season.” coordinator with Lorenzo Ward, but the HBC South Carolina head football coach Steve once again reiterated on the teleconference the Spurrier ended his annual spring SEC media morning of Wednesday, May 13, that Hoke teleconference introduction with these words will be calling the plays at practice and during that kind of encapsulated how the HBC feels games in the 2015 season. about his program right now. “Jon Hoke is going to call it. He’s basically He knows last year was not what was excoordinating the secondary and Lorenzo the pected, but he also knows it could have been front seven, but Jon Hoke is doing the defenworse. The HBC also realizes some things had sive calling,” Spurrier noted. to change for the Gamecocks to have a better Last year, the Gamecocks finished last in the 2015 season. SEC in total sacks with 12 and Spurrier re“We salvaged a very mediocre season last layed on the teleconference why he is optimisyear winning three of our last four and some- tic his team will improve in this area heading how or another winning another bowl game into the 2015 season. four years in a row, so we’re not sitting around “The one player that was here (during the here in the dumps that’s for sure. But we also spring), Marquavius Lewis … we believe he’s realize we have to play a whole lot better on really going to be an outstanding defensive offense, defense and the kicking game next end for us and we also have some other players year,” Spurrier stated. “We think we’re going coming this summer - junior college kids - that to play a lot better on defense. We struggled a we think are going to help, so we’ve got some bit last year and we didn’t have any defensive different players in there and maybe we need players drafted, so we weren’t as talented (de- to create some more blitz schemes until we’ve fensively) as we have been here and that was got a guy coming free. We’ll try to do some a big reason I think we ended up being 7-6. different things this coming year,” Spurrier Offensively, we did some good things, but late said.

photo by allen sharpe

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4 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Gourmet Gents Win Anyway Tailgate a huge success for a great cause by brian hand Executive Editor

know are in need.” This fight obviously hits home for Holbrook and his family as their life changed forever on The Win Anyway Tailgate before the South Sept. 7, 2004, when they were told that their Carolina-LSU baseball game on Saturday, May two-year-old son, Reece, had cancer. Three 16, 2015, was a long time in the works, but as years and two months later, Reece, who is now always the Gourmet Gents in Gamecock Tents almost a teenager, finished his cancer treatdid not disappoint. ments and was considered in remission. The special charity tailgate was first won as Despite his own son “kicking cancer’s butt,” part of a live auction at the Win Anyway Foun- Holbrook, his wife, Jennifer and their two sons, dation Eighth Annual Reece Holbrook Sports Reece and Cooper, through their Win Anyway Auction on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. It was then Foundation and Reece Holbrook Golf Classic decided the best day for all involved was South and Sports Auction have continued to fight and Carolina’s 2015 regular-season finale game raise awareness. against LSU. The Gourmet Gents were completely on The Gourmet Gents won the Home Depot board with donating the tailgate for this treTailgate Challenge in 2013 and were featured mendous cause when asked. by “Good Morning America” during the 2014 “This is us doing it because we want to do it,” football season and because of their prolific Millar relayed. tailgates the Win Anyway Foundation reached Don Iorio handles most of the food and prepout to them to see if they would be willing to arations for the look and feel of the Gourmet donate a tailgate. Gents tailgates and like Millar he is thrilled “We talked to (South Carolina head coach that they were able to give back. Chad Holbrook’s administrative assistant) “It is fabulous,” Iorio stated. “It’s so much Katherine (Brown) and she said, ‘hey, could fun. I wish we could do that every week. If we you guys donate a tailgate?’ and I said, ‘sure, could figure out a way to do that (give to charwe’d be happy to’ and so we did. We were actu- ity) every Gamecock game it’d be perfect. It’s ally in the live auction and it ended up going for been really rewarding.” $2,000 somebody paid to help pediatric cancer The special Win Anyway Gourmet Gents and those eight folks showed up (to the tailgate tailgate featured a low country boil from jerk on May 16) and all they had to do was show up, shrimp to a delicious lobster guacamole. grab their plate and eat. So we raised that and “Right now in the boiler we have 170 pounds we’ve also had people make donations over and worth of food,” Iorio said minutes before evabove another $600, so we’re about $2,600 for erybody was able to dig in to the food. “We’ve a good cause,” Gourmet Gents member Chris got about 45 pounds of crab and 45 pounds Millar said. of shrimp. We’ve got a whole bunch of musThe Win Anyway Foundation Eighth Annual sels, we’ve got a lot of corn and a really good Reece Holbrook Golf Classic and Sports Auc- smoked sausage that comes from Georgia that tion is something that is extremely important to is out of sight.” Holbrook. In addition to just a wonderful spread, the “It’s an event to fight a disease and to benefit Gourmet Gents also went out of their way to people,” Holbrook noted to Spurs & Feathers invite Gamecock greats, local media celebrities in October of 2014. “There’s a lot of people and others to make the event even that much fighting this disease and we want to spread more unique for the individuals that purchased how much money we raise as best we can. the tailgate. While a lot of it is focused on pediatric cancer, The list is exhaustive of special guests that there’s other terminal illnesses that kids are made their way to the tailgate, but in addition fighting that we’d like to give to numerous others, South Carto as well. For instance, cystic olina co-offensive coordinator/ fibrosis and other things. Our offensive line coach Shawn Elchildren’s hospital here in Coliott and his wife, Summer, and lumbia has benefited from our former South Carolina baseball event probably the most, but we greats Kip Bouknight and also contribute to the leukemia Drew Meyer and their spouses and lymphoma society and the were in attendance at the All Gamecock baseball children’s hospital in North tailgate. South Carolina athletcoverage sponsored by ics director Ray Tanner also Carolina. We spread it around DiPrato’s as best we can to the people we stopped by for a few minutes

photo by brian hand

along with Jonathan Reynolds of the Reynolds and Gunter radio show and his wife, Catherine, and his son, Riley. Millar and the Gourmet Gents were incredibly appreciative that these individuals and everyone in attendance would give of their time to stop by to support the great cause. He specifically mentioned Elliott because of the way he was relating to everyone in attendance. “It is really cool to think this is the guy that’s yelling at the offensive line on a Saturday standing next to you at the lobster guacamole,” Millar mentioned. “It’s really cool and his wife’s the best. A lot of those people you find out are personable and just like you. That’s a really cool thing to know that person standing on the sidelines is just like me and you.”

The Gourmet Gents Win Anyway Tailgate was part of a $44,000 check that the foundation was able to donate to the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. “When my family was able to give that check, I felt like I had won a Super Regional game. That’s how I feel. Until the day I die, I’ll do all I can for that cause,” Holbrook said a day after the donation. To learn more about Holbrook’s Win Anyway Foundation, please visit http://www.winanywayfoundation.org. You can also like the foundation on Facebook at Win Anyway Foundation. The foundation can also be followed on Twitter @Win_ Anyway. You can follow the Gourmet Gents in Gamecock Tents on Twitter @GGentswGCtents.


Spurs & Feathers • 5

May 27, 2015

Ken and Cyndi Long honored for lifetime support by kyle heck Reporter Ken and Cyndi Long had an idea that something was up when South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner invited them to the Gamecock Gala on April 20, though they weren’t quite sure what it was. “(Tanner said) we really want y’all to be there,” Ken remarked. “Could you promise me that you’ll be in town on the 20th? So I cleared my schedule and made sure that we were going to be there.” As it turns out, the Columbia natives were invited to be honored with one of the most distinguished awards that the University offers: the Garnet Award. The award honors someone who has dedicated their life to the success of South Carolina student-athletes. Growing up in Columbia, Ken, a graduate of Spring Valley High School and Cyndi, a graduate of Brookland-Cayce High School, wanted nothing more than to attend the University of South Carolina. For Ken, he literally grew up on the school’s campus, with his dad’s drug store being right across the street from the historic Horseshoe. “I always wanted to be a Gamecock and I always wanted to go to Carolina and never thought about going anywhere else,” Ken said. Both Ken and Cyndi accomplished their

photo by allen sharpe

dream of graduating from the University and settled down in Columbia. With his dad being in the Gamecock Club before him, Ken naturally wanted to continue the tradition of giving back to the University. As the Longs’ business grew, so did their contributions to the University. As time went by, Ken and Cyndi began to understand how important it was for a University to have an alumni base that supports it, particularly with a school like South Carolina that competes in one of the toughest conferences in

the country. “The more we got involved with the athletic department, the more we understood how hard it was to compete in the SEC and the need for financial support really aids in their ability to compete,” Ken said. “Growing the facilities really put us on a level to compete and I understood that and I really wanted to be a part of growing the facility base at USC.” With the help of people like the Longs, South Carolina has been able to get on par with other schools in the SEC, something that was not the

case a few years ago. “We’ve gone to every SEC away game (in the last three years) and we’ve had tours of their facilities and our facilities were just not keeping pace,” Ken said. “We’re so happy that over the last five years we’ve begun to improve those and I can honestly say from baseball, football to track to softball to tennis to volleyball that we’re now starting to keep pace with the rest of the SEC.” The transition would not have been possible without the help of people like the Longs and that was what the Garnet Award was all about. Despite knowing that something was up, Ken and Cyndi were still surprised when they heard their name called at the Gamecock Gala. “It was surprising and quite the honor to get the Garnet Award,” Ken said. “We were thankful for the recognition.” They were also thankful for the opportunity to speak and interact with the student-athletes they love to support and said it was exciting to see them recognized for their accomplishments in their respective sport and in the classroom. Ken and Cyndi have kept alive the family tradition, with one child already graduated from the USC Pharmacy School and another one about to enter. They have immensely enjoyed being lifelong Gamecocks and are grateful that they are able to watch South Carolina compete for championships in all sports.

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6 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Left photo courtesy of south carolina athletics media relations/right photo by brian hand

Pictured above on the left is former Gamecock C.J. Frye during his time as a Gamecock. On the right is Frye today as the new Andrew Jackson High School head coach.

C.J. Frye continuing to use football as a way to impact others by kyle heck Reporter

drew Jackson High School in Kershaw. “It feels good to actually get a chance to have a shot at being a head coach,” Frye C.J. Frye is no stranger to what a good said at the Lancaster County Gamecock education can do for your life. As a son Club 2015 spring meeting on Monday, of South Carolina track and field coach May 18, 2015. Curtis Frye, a big proponent of education While the new job puts a hold on his coming first, C.J. has gone his whole life education aspirations for now, Frye still knowing the importance of it. wants to pursue a doctorate degree. It is A standout offensive lineman for the something that his two sisters, Curtrell Gamecocks from 1999-2002, Frye graduand Crystal, have already accomplished. ated with an accounting degree in three Curtrell was a standout on the track and years before becoming a graduate assistant field team at Virginia while Crystal did after his playing days were over. He then the same at East Carolina, her dad’s alma earned his masters degree in HRTM in mater. 2005 from South Carolina. C.J. also was on the track and field team Frye continued to stay in football, coach- at South Carolina and was a three-sport ing at various high schools and colleges star in high school, earning state champiacross the South. Earlier this year, he was onships in both the discuss throw and as a named the new head football coach at An- wrestler.

Frye credits sports for a chance to get a quality education in college. “Football was going to be a tool to keep pushing on and gain the education,” Frye said. “That just also shows the young people that I coach that it’s possible that an old, knucklehead football player can get a chance to get a doctorate degree and an education.” Frye acknowledged that it’s hard to be an athlete in college while also excelling academically. The demanding schedule every day takes up as much time and energy as a full-time job. “It’s kind of difficult because of your practice schedule and not being able to get the same internships and a lot of things,” Frye said. “And again, leaving school at 1:30-2 (for practice) when other students can schedule classes all afternoon, it’s

tough to get the same education when you’re really putting in a full-time job.” However, Frye said that is no excuse not to try and get a degree while you are playing sports. “Make the best out of it,” Frye said. “Don’t let football use you, as I always say. Allow yourself to use football to gain the education you need to have a better life.” That is exactly what Frye and the rest of his family did and it has paid dividends for them throughout their life. As a head coach now, Frye is also going to use his position to implement the same principles his dad taught him and his siblings to his own players. “Actually gain the education and use your mind to go into coaching or go into law or business or all types of things,” Frye remarked.


Spurs & Feathers • 7

May 27, 2015

Jeffery continues to give back to South Carolina by kyle heck Reporter

busy NFL schedule, but says that he tries to make it back as much as he can. Despite leaving the Gamecocks four years ago, JefOn Saturday, March 16 at Garnet and fery still makes a concerted effort to stay Black Traditions in Cayce, S.C., Gamecock connected not only with the University, but fans received a treat when former South also the entire state. Carolina football star Alshon Jeffery held “I’m from South Carolina so I always an autograph session. want to give back,” Jeffery said. “Being The current Chicago Bears wide receiver from South Carolina, there’s not a lot of spent about three hours signing footballs, well-known or big-time people so I’m just jerseys, photographs and more while also trying to do my part to represent the state.” taking pictures with fans. It wasn’t the first While most of the fans in attendance time this year that Jeffery went out of his were wearing Gamecock gear, there were way to reach out to the University. In April, a fair share of Chicago Bear fans there as Jeffery made an appearance at the South well. Jeffery chatted with the fans and even Carolina women’s basketball team hotel gave a little Gamecock fan a fist bump. A in Tampa, Fla. as the Gamecocks were lot of people shared their favorite memories preparing to play in the Final Four. Jeffery when Jeffery was in college and wished made the trip down to support the Gamehim luck on the upcoming NFL season. cocks and interact with the fans. Jeffery said he can’t wait for another seaThe visit to Garnet and Black Traditions son to start up with the Bears, who look a was another chance for Jeffery to stay lot different than last year. There’s a lot of connected to Gamecock fans while also new faces on the team and some familiar returning to his home state. ones gone, most notably wide receiver “It feels great,” Jeffery said. “It’s a good Brandon Marshall, who’s now with the feeling to see fans come out and show their New York Jets. There’s also a new coach, support so it’s also a good feeling for me to John Fox, who came over from the Denver come out and show my support to them.” Broncos and was formerly head coach of Jeffery, a St. Matthews, S.C. native, isn’t the Carolina Panthers. able to return home much because of his With Marshall gone, Jeffery is now the

photo by kyle heck

go-to man for quarterback Jay Cutler. In three seasons with the Bears, Jeffery has caught 198 passes for 2,921 yards and 20 touchdowns. His touchdown total has improved every season and this year, he has a great chance to make another Pro Bowl after getting his first one two seasons ago.

“Just to be Alshon and take it one day at a time and keep working hard,” Jeffery said of his mindset for the upcoming season. There’s no doubt that there will be a lot of eyes in South Carolina trained on the city of Chicago to watch the talented receiver continue to accomplish his dreams.


8 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Gamecock great, Olympian says it all began at South Carolina by collyn taylor Reporter South Carolina wasn’t on the radar originally for Terrence Trammell. Being recruited by football programs like Florida State and top-notch programs in track and field, he was focused on other schools. But before he could race or don the shoulder pads and cleats at the collegiate level, one of his friends convinced him to go to South Carolina to visit the track program led by what his friend called one of the best track coaches in the country: Curtis Frye. At the time Frye, the head track coach at South Carolina, was training Olympian hurdler Allen Johnson at South Carolina and that was enough for Trammell to sign to run track for the garnet and black. “I got a reference from another guy that brought him here,” Frye said. The rest is history. The former football recruit would go on to be one of the best in South Carolina’s history. “I felt like I could always come back to football,” he said. “Lo and behold, I was blessed to make the Olympic team my junior year. I was like, ‘well this is what I’ll do.’ I just took it from there.” He would go on to be a six-time NCAA Champion and would race in three different Olympics: Sydney, Australia in 2000; Athens, Greece in 2004; and Beijing, China in 2008. He would win two silver medals over the course of three Olympics, one in 2000 and one in 2004. Both would be in the 110-meter hurdles. A dark horse to be on the podium, he said racing in 2000 he thought he could easily place fourth and it would take some luck to medal. But, the hard work he put in training with Frye and Johnson at South Carolina paid off as he bolted onto the podium with the silver medal. Trammell was at the groundbreaking for the new The Sheila and Morris Cregger Track Stadium outdoor track facility on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The track was in need of renovations and Trammell joked the hurdles on the track may still be the ones he raced with. “This is the place where it all started,” Trammell said. “This is where it all began. It’s hard to not come back to the origins of where such a career began.”

photo by allen sharpe

He recently retired last year with two silver medals in the Olympics and three silver medals from the World Outdoor championships. He was also a two-time outdoor champion and two-time gold medalist at the World Indoor Championships. But one of the things he said he’d never forget is the support he got while in school at South Carolina. “I received so much support and so much

love just from the community, the alumni base, the whole Gamecock Nation,” Trammell said. “That’s something I’ll always remember.” Trammell is back in Atlanta and is doing strength and conditioning for future track stars. He said he’s doing other personal training, which helps keep him in shape, and he said he’s working on planning a 5K race.

While working with athletes from all different age groups, he still uses his experiences he’s learned from training with Frye and Johnson and from his time racing for the garnet and black. “Even if it’s cliché, the hard work definitely pays off. Whatever you set your mind to you can and will achieve it as long as you’re willing to work for it,” Trammell said. “Dreams can come true.”


May 27, 2015

Spurs & Feathers • 9

Athletics staff gives back to community by brad muller South Carolina Director of Content

Equestrian Coach Boo Major while volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank. “During the year you get so busy, it’s The South Carolina Athletics Depart- actually quite nice to be able to come ment staff was busy giving back to the in and help. It’s a great experience and community as part of “We Care” Week. a lot of fun doing it together with our Coaches, administrators and other folks.” Athletics Department staff members Whether it was providing for the needs took time out to serve the Midlands of the hungry, delivering hot nutritious community each day recently with vol- meals to the elderly, picking up trash unteer efforts on campus as well as at around campus or a park, cleaning and the Harvest Hope Food Bank, Meals on repairing a shelter for women and famiWheels, PETSinc, Transitions, Hannah lies, or helping to clean up at animal resHouse and Pawmetto Lifeline. cue organizations, the Gamecocks were “It’s great that so many of our staff glad to put in a few days of service. gave their time to get involved in these “The community supports us, so it’s projects as responsible citizens of this important to give back,” said Sand community,” Athletics Director Ray Volleyball Coach Moritz Moritz, who Tanner said. “It’s important to give back helped haul out more than a ton of old and support these various missions. I’m furniture, debris, carpet, and other especially glad that so many took part items from the Hannah House to assist in this endeavor.” in renovations at the facility. “One of There were 90 individuals from the the big things we talk about in our proAthletics Department staff who volun- gram is perspective and understanding teered to serve during the week. how good most of us have it. Being able “We wanted to give back to the comto pay it forward in some ways to help munity for all that the community gives others who may not be as fortunate or to us in the Athletics Department and have different circumstances can give the University of South Carolina,” said you that perspective.”

south carolina athletics media relations


10 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Taylor touching thousands of lives in Honduras by kyle heck Reporter

Jeffrey Taylor had always thought about doing missionary work, he just didn’t know how to get into it. He got his opportunity 18 years ago when his church in Fort Mill, S.C., Grace Presbyterian Church, went on a medical mission to Honduras. While he was not involved in the medical field, he used his computer and project management skills to help out the missionaries. A couple of years after that first experience in 1997, he and some others sat down with the people in Honduras and asked them what they could do to really help them. While the medical missions showed the people that someone actually cared for them, it was really just “BandAid” medicine, according to Taylor, and didn’t help them out in the long-term. The response was houses. Most of the people they interacted with lived in huts that couldn’t quite be described as houses. Most were made of sticks and had dirt floors. So Taylor headed back to the United States to try and figure out the best course of action. After a few years of planning and gathering people who wanted to help, Taylor led a group back to Honduras in 2004 with the goal of building houses. However, that wasn’t all Taylor and his people wanted to do. They wanted to go even further and teach the Hondurans how to build houses so that they could pass the knowledge around. “Our goal is to go in and empower the people and to teach them how to build their own house so that when we leave, they can continue to work,” Taylor said. Unlike other organizations that target people that already have land, Taylor’s group targeted the “poorest of the poor” who didn’t even have that. The people that Taylor were working with were initially not allowed to own any land period. However, they were eventually able to work it out to where the community could own land, but not an individual. With land to work with, Taylor and his people began to build houses for the village. As they worked more and more with the people, their work spread to other villages in the area and soon, Taylor was leading regular mission trips. “We’d take anywhere from 15-25 people on a mission trip and go down with two or three master masons that go with me,” Taylor said. “So I’m taking skilled labor all the way down to people that don’t know anything about construction but they have a good heart and are willing to work hard and hand in hand with the Honduran people.” 11 years later, Taylor is still leading mission trips down to Honduras one to three times a year. However, instead of just building houses, the group has started to build schools and even

submitted photo

Pictured on one of the trips is Jeffrey Taylor in the village of La Gloria in Trinidad de Copan in Honduras with 90-year-old Carlos. hospital facilities. One of the mayors in the area was so impressed with their work that he asked Taylor if he could build schools. However, just like in the beginning when Taylor went above and beyond to teach the natives how to build their own houses, he wanted to do even more than just build a school. “A lot of the groups go down there and they’ll build a school without building the houses,” Taylor said. “If you can’t feed them and make them comfortable, it doesn’t matter if there’s a school they can go to. You have to start with the basics of having a roof over their heads and clean water.” Along with the building projects, Taylor helps to send back money to Honduras when he is in the U.S. to help support the people, whether that is getting teachers to put in the schools or providing scholarships for the kids. It’s a lot of work, but the reward of seeing the gratitude of the Hondurans is more than worth it. Taylor quoted an old saying when describing how important it is to do these trips. “When a lot is given, a lot is required,” Taylor said. “So it’s very important for us to do this. We know we’re not changing the world, we know we’re not even changing Honduras, but

we are making a difference in Honduras one family at a time. We’re just going to plant that seed to grow bigger.” Over the 11 years, Taylor and his group have built over 500 houses, half a dozen schools and two hospital clinic buildings in Honduras. Taylor has gotten help from people all across the country, from California to North Dakota to Virginia, along with the two churches in South Carolina that help out, Grace and Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, where Taylor currently resides. “I didn’t dream of it getting this big,” Taylor said. “Over time, the word has just really spread and the work we do is very, very rewarding. People like the way we do these trips.” As a 1975 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Taylor is a lifelong fan of the Gamecocks, attending as many sporting events as he is able to. Along with building schools, houses and hospitals, Taylor brings a full bag or suitcase of clothes every time he goes down to Honduras and you can bet there is some Gamecock stuff that makes it down. “Every year, I have pictures you can see of me and guys down there with Gamecock hats on and then I pass out the hats that I have,”

said Taylor, who is in the process of rounding up extra clothes that the Gamecock Club can provide. After he retires, Taylor is hoping he can travel down to Honduras around six times a year rather than the one to three trips he takes now. His goal is to get other groups involved and help even more people around the country. What started out as a medical mission trip has now blossomed into something that has touched thousands of lives in Honduras. Taylor has seen and heard the gratitude of the people living in the villages that have new houses and schools and understands the kind of impact that it has on their lives, recounting a conversation he had with one of the leaders of the villages. “He said when we first moved in to this area, we really didn’t have any hope. We were just scratching around. And now that we have the houses and clean water and are working to have cattle and livestock, now we have hope.” “Without hope, you’re nothing,” Taylor said. “But with hope, you can do anything.” Please email Jeff.Honduras@yahoo.com for more information. Contributions can be made to Mt Pleasant Presbyterian Church (MPPC) note Honduras building. 302 Hibbens St. Mt. Pleasant. SC 29464.


Spurs & Feathers • 11

May 27, 2015

photo by allen sharpe

The University of South Carolina equestrian team was recognized by the South Carolina House of Representatives and Senate at the State House on Thursday, May 14, 2015. The Gamecocks were presented with a resolution honoring the team for winning the 2015 NCEA National Championship and for becoming the first Gamecock program to win three national titles. The House resolution was introduced by Rep. Joe McEachern, while the Senate resolution was introduced by Sen. Joel Lourie. Gamecock head coach Boo Major - the national Coach of the Year, associate head coach Ruth Sorrel, hunt seat coach Hillary Dobbs and student-athletes Adele Norton, Samantha Kraus, Kelsey Urban, Kara Guertin and Aurie Engel Schmieding attended the recognition. The Gamecocks won the NCEA National Championship on April 18, 2015, upsetting No. 1 Georgia in the championship meet, 10-6 (story by South Carolina Athletics Media Relations)

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12 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Gray and Caroline Evans were born March 22, 2015, in Mount Pleasant, S.C. They are already huge Gamecock fans and they cannot wait for the start of their first football season.


May 27, 2015

Spurs & Feathers • 13

Wheeler and Kent leave their mark on sand volleyball program by collyn taylor Reporter

south carolina athletics media relations

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But their relationship doesn’t end when the two step off the sand. Not only do they share the same piece of sand, they still also shared The saying is that sometimes familiarity their living space as well. breeds contempt, but that is definitely not Being together during practice and then the case of Paige Wheeler and Megan Kent. living together, both said they can butt heads, Growing up in the same area, they came tobut in the end they are still good friends. gether at South Carolina and have fostered a Kent joked about finding a balance between tight relationship over the past five years. friendship and butting heads laughing while Wheeler grew up in Virginia Beach, Va. saying, “we’ve created that balance somewhile Kent’s hometown is Ijamsville, Md. how.” Separated by a short four-hour drive, they They both have different personalities. Kent played against each other in club volleyball said Wheeler is goofy and outgoing while during high school. Wheeler said her partner is sarcastic and Then, when they were about 17 years old, hilarious. they found they would both be going to South “It’s fun. We have the same relationship Carolina to play indoor volleyball. Then, off the court as we do inside it: we still go when it came time to move into their freshback and forth,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been man dorm, the two were paired as roomfriends for so long our friendship just comes mates. natural.” “It was nice to know someone from back Kent called Wheeler her little sister, saying home,” Kent said in a phone interview. they’ll butt heads but there’s a good enough They both played indoor volleyball from balance and they’re good enough friends to 2010 to 2012 until they both decided to depart work through all of it. the indoor program for the new sand volley“We both have the personality where if ball program. something’s not right on the court or off the Both said head coach Moritz Moritz’s recourt, we’re going to go to each other and cruiting was a big factor in the switch and the talk it out, nip it in the bud. That’s really helpfact both wanted a change of pace. They both ful for us,” Wheeler said. switched over at the same time and the two Now, their senior seasons are over and said they wanted to be on the inaugural sand they are looking to the next chapters of life. volleyball team in 2014. Wheeler picked up her undergraduate degree It was only fitting the two who grew up in in May 2014 and she is already working tothe same region, played against each other, ward her master’s degree. She’s set to graduwere freshmen roommates and now teamate next May and said she hopes to pursue a mates were paired together for the first-ever career in indoor volleyball overseas. match. She said some of her former teammates “It’s been a long journey that we’ve both play in Finland and that would be something had some ups and downs in indoor and sand,” she’d want to do after graduation. Kent said. “We’ve grown together and it’s Kent said she’s going to explore playing opbeen a really great experience.” tions after graduation as well. They didn’t just play in that first match — With both going different directions in the they won. They beat Oregon in their match in next year, they still hold on to the fact they straight sets, 21-11, 21-18. Both said that win played together and in the first home sand was their favorite memory of playing in the volleyball match ever. After both started sand over the past two years. their careers at Carolina at the same time and The win against the Ducks was the first of playing indoor for three years together then 25 wins the duo would have together over the another two for sand, they have written their past two years. After going names in school history as 5-18 the first year, they quathe first winners. drupled their win total, going “Oh my God it’s so excit20-10 this year. ing,” Kent said. “In indoor, “Pretty much every game this was such an established we think we can hold our program, I didn’t feel like I own, we know we can beat left a legacy, but this was a All Gamecock people, we know what we can great opportunity to get my sand volleyball coverage name stamped in to the firstdo,” Wheeler said in a phone sponsored by James W. interview. “It was great to get ever sand volleyball team. It’s Smith Real Estate Co. to play.” exciting.”


14 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

South Carolina Gamecocks

Recruiting Round-up By Phil Kornblut

South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin last Monday landed a big man for this 2015 recruiting class in 6-9 Eric Cobb, a native of Jacksonville, FL who attends St. Francis Prep in Baltimore. Cobb originally committed to Kansas State but decommitted in April. After that he took an unofficial visit to Seton Hall and an official visit to USC. He also considered VCU, Old Dominion, Boston College, Massachusetts, Rhode IsPhil Kornblut land, Washington and Contributing Memphis. The 280 Writer pound Cobb is USC’s 5th commitment for the class. He averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds per game last season. “He’s a great passer with great hands and great feet,” said St. Francis coach Nick Myles. “He can turn and make a post move off of both shoulders. A lot of kids can’t do that. He has to get more athletic but that will come with getting in better shape. He’s a true post man, probably what you don’t see a lot of in college basketball. A back to the basket guy.” Cobb visited USC last month with his mother and that experience basically sold him on the Gamecocks. “He really liked it and enjoyed it,” Myles said. “He thinks Coach Martin is going to be somebody to push him and develop his game. And he liked the campus and said it felt like home.” 6-11 commitment Travon Bunch of Racine, WI remains unsigned because he is waiting on a recent SAT/ACT score to return. His coach is confident Bunch will get the score and will qualify for his scholarship. 6-2 shooting guard Keyshawn Woods made his first ever visit to USC last Monday as he began the process of finding a new program. Woods played his freshman season at Charlotte where he averaged over eight points per game and led Conference USA in three point shooting at better than 46%. The native of Gastonia received his release from the 49ers last month following their coaching change. Woods paid an unofficial visit to USC Monday and said he got a good look at what the Gamecocks have to offer. “They just made it pretty clear that they really want me,” said Woods who added that he has an offer from USC. Woods said he’s also looking at possible

visits to Auburn, Creighton, Butler, St. Joseph’s and VCU before he makes a decision later this summer in time to enroll for the second session of summer school. “I’m just pretty much looking for somewhere where I can grow as a player and really work on my weaknesses on the offseason that I have to sit out,” Woods said. “The main goal is for me to really work on all of my weaknesses and make them my strength. I’ve really got to get stronger in the weight room so I’m really going to be working on that wherever I go next. I hope I can get with a program that’s already established and with a coach that can hopefully get me to the next level.” Wherever he lands, Woods will have to sit out next season and will have three seasons to play three starting in the fall of 2016. 5-11 Tookie Brown of Madison, GA committed to Georgia Southern last week. He made an unofficial visit to USC the previous week but was not offered by the Gamecocks. USC offered 2018 6-5 PG Antwann Jones of Tampa. Football News: WR Kyle Davis of Decatur, GA announced last Monday night he has dropped his 10-month old commitment to USC and reopened his recruiting. Davis put the word out via Twitter: “after a long talk with my family, I’m officially decommitting and opening my recruiting back up. I will not take any interviews.” Davis committed to USC during a camp last July becoming the Gamecocks’ first commitment for the 2016 class. “I had no idea. It just came to me,” Davis said at the time. “I talked to my dad and he said, ‘Go ahead, you’ve got the green light.’ It was my decision. I’m proud of it. They’re on the come-up. A national championship is in the near future, I think. It’s a nice town. Everything is right there in walking distance. It was nice. I love it. My goal is to get to the league, and Spurrier puts people in the league. That was a big thing. When I got here it just sealed the deal.” The deal became unsealed over several months as the Gamecocks struggled to a 7-6 season, questions about Steve Spurrier’s coaching future hung over the program, and more major programs jumped in on Davis who did not shut down his recruiting after committing. If anything, he ramped things up making multiple visits to Georgia, Auburn and other programs around the SEC. Davis’s offer list has grown to include Alabama, Florida, Miami, Florida State,

Cal, Louisville, Tennessee, Michigan State, LSU, Ohio State and others reflecting his growth into a nationally acclaimed prospect. Davis, who plans to be an early graduate, had 64 catches for 1200 yards last season. DL Naquan Jones of Evanston, IL has set June 5th for his decision date. “It’s near the end of my school year and I’m ready to be done with recruiting so I can focus on my senior season and senior year,” Jones said. He is down to USC, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State. Jones has visited USC and is planning to make another visit. “I’ve been in recent contact with Coach Sands and I’m trying to schedule a visit to come back down,” Jones said. “I just really had a great time on my visit.” Sands and Jon Hoke have been up to see Jones and he’s expecting Sands and Deke Adams to visit this week. Jones said his USC visit has been the best so far and the Gamecocks and Michigan State are recruiting him the hardest. He’s also been to Michigan State. “South Carolina is a great school,” he said. “I saw everything and I talked to Coach Spurrier. It’s where I can see myself at and was real comfortable.” Jones, however, is not ready to name a favorite and he does plan to further shorten his list between now and his announcement time. “I’m looking for the best school that fits me and will support me academically,” he said. “And where I have good bonds with my teammates and coaches, and where I feel comfortable. That’s most important to me.” OL Branton Autry (6-4 320) of Coffeyville JC, KS is a big USC target in more ways than just his physical presence. The Gamecocks are thin in quality offensive linemen and will lose three senior linemen, all of whom could be starters, after this season. That opens a window of opportunity for incoming linemen, and that’s exactly what Autry is looking for in his next school…opportunity. “Playing time is all I’m looking at,” Autry said. “That’s all I need to know is about playing time.” Autry plans to take all five of his official visits but only knows of one at this point. That will be to USC and it could come this June. Autry discussed that very subject with Gamecock offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. “He said they are really excited about me coming down for a visit,” Autry said. “He said he can’t wait to get me down there and stuff like that.” USC sits firmly in Autry’s top ten. The others are Arkan-

sas, Florida, Ole Miss, Baylor, Missouri, Arizona State, Louisville, Iowa State and Oklahoma. There is no order to the ten and there is no favorite. Along with USC, Autry said he’s been talking with coaches from all of the offering schools. Autry is home in Mobile, AL for summer break and won’t return to school until August. He’s planning to make his decision around August 15th. Autry will graduate in December and have three years to play two. LB TJ Brunson of Richland Northeast is sitting out spring practice to allow his surgically repaired hip to heal. “The hip is great, it’s healing well,” Brunson said. “I’m a little ahead of schedule. I have a follow up with the doctor May 19th.” Brunson nearly committed to USC earlier in the year but the Gamecocks asked him to hold off until they could see him this fall and judge how healthy he is. “Coach Botkin has been keeping up with me since everything,” Brunson said of the Gamecocks’ linebackers coach. “I talk to him at least three times a week. They want to see me play during the fall and if everything is fine, it picks back up.” Brunson said USC’s interest remains very high but the Gamecocks don’t want to take a commitment until seeing him in a game this fall. Brunson still has USC number one on his list but he recently visited North Carolina and that gave him something else to consider. “That was really cool,” Brunson said. “I didn’t meet the defensive coaching staff, I can’t really make a decision because I don’t have a relationship with those guys. It was different scenery out of South Carolina so that was pretty cool. It was nice. I had everything I would want.” Brunson is planning a return visit to Chapel Hill June 20th. He’s also planning to visit Tennessee, Florida State and LSU this summer. Coaches from Georgia Southern, East Carolina, Appalachian State and Louisville have been thru his school this spring. East Carolina offered Brunson two weeks ago. He also has offers from USC, NC State, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Louisville and North Carolina. DB Chris Smith of South Pointe offered by James Madison. He also has offers from USC, Old Dominion, Mercer, Furman, Coastal Carolina, Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Miami of Ohio and Air Force. He plans to visit USC in couple of weeks, could commit to the Gamecocks then. USC offered DB JJ Givens of Mechanicsville, VA and 2017 ATH Deejay Dallas of Brunswick, GA.


Spurs & Feathers • 15

May 27, 2015

photos by brian hand

Kershaw County Spring Banquet a ‘great experience’ Those in attendance at the annual Kershaw County Spring Banquet at the Old South & Catery on Thursday, May 21, 2015, in Camden, S.C. were given the unique opportunity to hear from three South Carolina coaches in one evening. Hometown hero in Camden native and current South Carolina co-offensive coordinator/ offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was joined on the special evening by South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin and South Carolina volleyball head coach Scott Swanson. “It was a great experience,” Kershaw County Gamecock Club chapter president Casey Robinson relayed. “It kind of just fell into place. Coach Elliott he couldn’t make it last year, so he agreed to come back this year and he was real excited (to be here). We got an email about two weeks ago that coach Martin was able to come over and that just kind of put icing on the cake. And coach Swanson of course and him having a local girl on his team it was amazing and great for our club.” The Kershaw County Gamecock Club has really boomed over the last few years and this year’s spring banquet was just another example of how much they’ve grown. “There’s a lot of diehard Gamecock fans here. It’s always kind of been detrimental to the club that we are only 30 minutes from the stadium and the University, but definitely the last several years this club has exploded with growth. This is the largest crowd we’ve ever had, so we’re real excited about that and hope to continue (to grow),” Robinson mentioned. The evening began with a buffet-style dinner before Robinson played a video explaining to all of those in attendance why being a member of the Gamecock Club is so important. After the short video, Robinson introduced Swanson, who was joined on the evening by Kershaw County resident, former Lugoff-Elgin standout and current Gamecock junior defensive specialist/libero Megan Kirkland and her family. Swanson commenced his remarks by re-

minding everyone in attendance just how really blessed Gamecock coaches are to be at South Carolina as he thinks back on his other stops. “It makes me think how lucky we (coaches at South Carolina) are to live in a state that is full of such passionate, generous and supportive fans like you guys,” Swanson said. “It’s second-to-none. It’s unmatched … and it’s very humbling and we’re very, very thankful for all your support.” Swanson also spoke about his team and how excited he is for the upcoming 2015 season. “I know that we’re headed in the right direction,” Swanson stated. “Our leadership and the experience we have on the court is going to be the best that I’ve had so far, so we’re excited about that. Having leadership in the locker room (with) players like Megan Kirkland, who make a huge difference, not just on the court and in the gym with how hard they work, but when they’re off the court.” Swanson noted that Kirkland has yet to make a grade less than an “A “in her course work at South Carolina. The exercise science major who plans to be a nutritionist then spoke to her fellow Kershaw County residents on the evening about how much they mean to the volleyball program and really all the programs at South Carolina. After Kirkland finished speaking to the crowd, Robinson then introduced Martin, who like Swanson made it be known how special Gamecock fans really are. “Here’s a credit to you the fans,” Martin noted. “In basketball, there’s not another University in the country that drew more fans when you combine women’s and men’s basketball than our fans. We drew more fans for both men and women than any other University in the country. That should give you a thought process of why we the coaches are so excited to be here.” Martin also articulated that he could not be more excited about the present and future of Gamecock men’s basketball, particularly when looking back at where things were when he took over the job. “Three years later, I am much more certain that we’re going to get the job done than the day I said yes to the job … we’re extremely

excited,” Martin said. The final speaker during an evening that also featured a raffle for varying things such as signed balls from Martin, Swanson and South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier, Elliott finished out the speakers on the evening by first pointing out how special it was for him to be home. “It’s always good to be in Kershaw County, seeing old faces and people I know, people I don’t know. It’s just always a welcoming feeling when you come back here,” Elliott said at the event that included his parents in the audience. Elliott also said that he understands why

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some are cautious for the upcoming year of Gamecock football due to last year’s 7-6 record, but said that should not be the case, pointing out “as you sit here, y’all are cautious, but you need to be excited. You need to be excited.” “It’s still an exciting time for South Carolina football,” Elliott said. “We’ve still got a great head coach in Steve Spurrier and an unbelievable coaching staff. We’ve got great players here at Carolina and we’re excited about the future. Now when I say excited about the future it means we’ve got to work. We’ve got the outwork everybody. We’ve got to bust our tails this summer. We’ve got to motivate ourselves from within to do more than what is expected.”

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by brian hand Executive Editor

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16 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

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Junior Gamecock Club event a huge success

by bill gunter Contributing Writer

The Junior Gamecock Club is the foundation for which the next generation of South Carolina fans form their love of the University. Over the years, Gamecock Clubs from across the state have gone out of their way to make sure that they include the younger generation into different events so that Gamecock fever sets in at an early age. On Saturday, May 2, the Lexington County Gamecock Club held its fifth annual Junior Gamecock Club Baseball Event prior to the team hosting the Auburn Tigers. The afternoon was headed up by Lexington County Gamecock Club board members Robbin Moss, Heather Hornsby, Ricki Thurman and Sandly Woolbright.

Following the event, Moss was grateful for the effort given by her volunteers who took the time it make it a special event for the young Gamecock fans. “Without the help of Heather, Ricki and Sandy, this event would not be the success it was,” Moss told Spurs and Feathers. “As well as the help from Jay Brown, Robert Credille and Mark Lisle of the University. All of these people helped with setting up before the event began, playing games with the children and cleaning up the area when all the festivities were over.” The event featured games and refreshments prior to the baseball game while children that attended were presented with a drawstring bag from the Lexington County Gamecock Club chapter at the event. Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland also

donated items to be given away such as pens, keychains, cups and bumper stickers for everyone. Families that attended the event were then able to buy tickets for five dollars to watch the afternoon’s action and each Junior Gamecock was given a food voucher to use in the stadium courtesy of Dan Stahl, general manager with IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions for the University of South Carolina property. The afternoon at the ballpark has become such a fan favorite that it has begun to draw fans and their families from different parts of the state according to Moss. “Ricki Thurman’s sister and brother-in-law came down from Cheraw to enjoy the day with their grandchildren, Cole and Luke, who are Lexington County Junior Gamecock Club members and their sons, who are stu-

dents at the University of South Carolina,” Moss said. Despite the Gamecocks dropping the baseball game that afternoon to the Tigers, younger Gamecocks were treated to an excellent experience. For Moss, the chance to interact with the families and give back to the community is what is most important and what she gets the most satisfaction from. “It’s our pleasure to host this event each year and we enjoy giving families a chance to spend time at the great facility we have here at Carolina,” she said. “Without the help of everyone that was mentioned above, we couldn’t have done this. These children are our future ‘Gamecock Nation.’” For more information on the Junior Gamecock Club, please visit www.gamecocksonline.com/gamecockclub.


Spurs & Feathers • 17

May 27, 2015

‘What the hero brings back’

“The Hero” - the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe or civilization.” This was famed author and mythologist Joseph Campbell’s interpretation of what a “hero” is. Many times in American culture we look towards towards sports and entertainment for our heroes. Not always the best choice especially with social media and camera phones being ever present in all areas of our personal and public lives Langston Moore these days. Contributing But our GameWriter cocks who have donned that era’s version of the Garnet and Black are doing just that in their communities. Summer time is fast approaching and our current Gamecocks will spend their summers running, lifting and exerting themselves all for the chance to be heroes for their hometowns. This article will highlight the “give back” of some of our Gamecocks and “why.” Many of theses former players have long hung up the cleats but haven’t lost the passion to come back and tell their “hero’s journey” with these camps. James Scott “Pee Dee Area Football Camp” June 20, Marion High School http://www.gofundme.com/r27yu4mc Scott came to the Gamecocks from a small community, but he is making a big impact there. Using his personal success journey and sports as the road map for other in his hometown of Marion. “Why a Sports camp?, “sports paved a way for myself” said Scott last year at his first annual Pee Dee Camp. The Camp features football and fitness tips, free lunch, haircuts and NCAA compliance/ academic sessions to give campers a glimpse into the details of being college-ready. Scott was a two-sport athlete in high school who played many positions on the football field to help his team anyway he could. Now he plays many roles in his community being a coach, mentor, and successful business man. James is continuing to show the youth that you don’t have to go pro to have a great fulfilling life. Scott’s company Clean Right LLC has boomed since starting the company at the end of his senior year in college. Scott takes his football and business lessons and puts them on display as a roadmap of how to make it out of the Pee Dee.

Henry Taylor “TAN (Take Action Now) CAMP” June 20, Barnwell High School Henry Taylor and his wife Aisha Taylor wanted to impact Henry’s hometown of Barnwell, S.C. “We wanted to give them something to do and show them someone cares” Henry says. This camp will be put on in conjunction with former Clemson football player Raymond Priester who is also a Barnwell standout product. Taylor and Preister both came from a rural area that had some folks go on to play football at various colleges but it was something of a myth to those left behind. “We had a few guys from my area play D1 sports but we never saw them It was kind of like a legend” Taylor states. Henry and Raymond along with and Henry’s wife former Gamecock student-athlete Aisha Taylor decided to give back to Henry’s hometown. Aisha’s journey provides another example of success, transitioning from track star to now serving as one of seven appointed judges by the Governor. Taking Action Now is something Taylor and Preister have lived by to become successful and has helped them continue to succeed. These formerathletes are determined to not let these jewels of wisdom go undiscovered and become a thing of legend.

about him, not expected of an All-American 11-year NFL vet. With a passion for his hometown of Fountain Inn, S.C. and wanting to see nothing but excellence for the city and its people, Travelle has hosted this camp for the past eight years. Directly affecting thousands of children and their families annually, his Bruce and Andre Ellington Camp “Elgoal has always been “to bring other coaches lington Elite” July 10, Berkley High School and guys here to help the kids” said Wharton. With over 600 kids in attendance at the Travelle continues to provide that push off first-ever Ellington Elite camp, Bruce Elling- the starting line of life for a lot of families in ton and his cousin (former Clemson football and around the Upstate. With his new duties standout) Andre Ellington look to impact their as an offensive line quality assistant coach at hometown of Moncks Corner. The Ellingtons Carolina, this year’s Key Block camp will be wanted to give back to the community that postponed but fans of the camp don’t need to helped develop not only their athletic ability fret. Travelle is making sure there are no flags but helped develop their work ethic that has on the play when he’s involved and is working made them each successful. Both playing in with compliance and the NCAA to make sure the NFC West for rival squads, something not he can continue to serve in the same capacity unfamiliar to Bruce who played two sports as he has in the past. at Carolina and Andre who chose the rival Tigers in the Upstate. “We’re like brothers” Jasper & Casper Brinkley “Camp 54” Bruce said. “When we step on the field we May 30, Thomson (Ga.) High School fight for each other, fight for the family and www.camp54.eventbrite.com fight for Moncks Corner.” This “fight” is one The “Brinkley Brothers” sound like a tough both Ellingtons can be proud of because their wrestling duo from the old WWF days but fighting to inspire others in their community these former Gamecock defenders have a soft to achieve more by giving back. place in their heart for the people who reside in their hometown. The famous Gamecock Travelle Wharton Camp “Key Block twin duo from Georgia made their way up Camp” http://www.keyblock.org I-20 to Columbia and have concluded playThe Key Block camp is one of the largest ing for Carolina, but for the last four years camps and the longest tenured on this list. In the brothers travel back to Thomson, Ga. to my opinion Travelle’s camp is one of the best put on “Camp 54.” The inspiration for this and is one of the reasons behind the creation camp comes from their passion for giving of our own Eat2Win camps. But if you ever back and being a visual example for their had the opportunity to know Travelle or any hometown. “Guys never came back” said of his family you wouldn’t expect anything Casper Brinkley, “We want to give the kids a less. Travelle’s persona exudes “excellence at headstart on being successful.” The Brinkleys all times,” but still has a common man’s heir motivation is similar to the motivation of oth-

ers mentioned in this piece: that coming back and being a presence in your community is important. When asked how do the brothers gauge the success or failure of a camp like this, Casper makes it clear, “if one kid gets something out of it, we’re satisfied.” Campbell dedicated his life to covering the “human experience” and came to the conclusion that everyone should “follow your bliss.” It is clear that our Gamecocks have adopted this philosophy and made their “bliss” community service. Showing up year after year to serve their communities is so important to them that most do it at no cost to the campers. The flyers say “free” but we all know that “free” costs someone and often times it’s the guys. Travelle Wharton sums up many of the guys thoughts, saying “I thought camps were expensive when I was young so I wouldnt ask my parents to go. Thats why we don’t charge.” The players interviewed for this article have reached the highest levels of professional success in their field, but unquestionably the opportunity to “give” greatly surpasses onfield achievement. The chance to better our state’s communities through the game that gave them so much is the completion of hero’s journeys. Even after the scoreboard has hit zero and the lights have dimmed on their careers, our guys continue to give their all. Each and every one of these guys is more than #Justachicken, they are Gamecocks, Forever To Thee... Follow Langston Moore on Twitter at: @reMovetheChains #justachicken #eat2win #yoby


18 • Spurs & Feathers

Risk rewarded: Kyle Martin, South Carolina’s middle-of-the-order monster, has senior season to remember

tower power.” It also summed up Kyle Martin’s senior season: no matter what he did, he always found new ways to impress. Martin, a Greenville, S.C., native, finished with The longest home run of Kyle Martin’s life was one of the best regular seasons ever assembled seen by few and believed by even fewer. by a Gamecock first baseman. Though he was very much, but to be compared to those guys and In one of the last rounds of batting practice edged out for SEC Player of the Year by Arkan- be on that level, it just means a lot,” Martin told before South Carolina’s series finale at Tennessas’ Andrew Benintendi, Martin led the SEC in me. see April 26, Martin stood in the batter’s box, his home runs (11), RBI (34), slugging percentage Left unsaid: all three of those players reached 6’1,” 240-pound frame coiled and waiting. Stu- (.794), and total bases (85) in league games. He the majors. Martin could have started that trajecdent assistant Scott Wingo fed him a pitch that, finished second in batting average (.393), walks tory last season, when the Los Angeles Angels per his custom, he (24) and on-base percentage (.504). He solidified of Anaheim selected him with the 14th pick of launched to right his spot as one of the best defensive first basemen the 20th round. The signing bonus Los Angeles field. in college baseball, committing just one error offered him exceeded his draft slot by a tempting Except the ball (which shouldn’t have been charged to him). For margin. kept carrying… good measure, he led the Gamecocks in stolen Martin considered joining teammates Grayson and carrying… bases as late as mid-April. The numbers easily Greiner, Joey Pankake, Tanner English, Jordan until it caromed earned him a spot on the All-SEC First Team. Montgomery, and Joel Seddon as juniors who off the bottom In a season in which South Carolina struggled signed professional contracts. He instead stayed row of lights on to hit consistently, Martin was the Gamecocks’ behind, citing in part his desire to earn his degree one of Lindsey rock, a mild-mannered, middle-of-the-order (a mechanical engineering major, Martin is on Nelson Stadium’s monster feared far and wide across the SEC. track to graduate in December). light towers. “He’s hit the ball to all fields. He’s hit with He admits it was jarring at first to not see his “I think K-Mart power. And a lot of times during the year we classmates around Carolina Stadium. just hit the lights,” weren’t swinging the bat very well behind him, “It was a little different, just because I kind of second baseman but he still put up great numbers. He’s a firstgrew up with those guys, playing with them, Max Schrock team All-American in my book,” Holbrook said playing against them, things like that. Freshman said in the Gameon the latest edition of his TV show. year through junior year, I used to always have cocks’ dugout, a Andy Demetra (How much respect did Martin command them around. But this whole team bonded, too, look of disbelief Contributing around the SEC? With a runner on second base for the most part, so coming back with all of painted across his Writer and two outs, Texas A&M intentionally walked them made it more comfortable,” he said. face. him… in the third inning… with its ace on the Still, Martin had to negotiate his share of risks. Word of Martin’s feat spread fast. Tennessee mound.) He could have gotten injured, or gone into a players, watching from their dugout, gawked at South Carolina has had a prolonged hitting slump, or given the lights for several minutes afterwards. Folks parade of All-SEC first basescouts more chances to poke at Lindsey Nelson Stadium estimated the ball men over the years, from Steve holes in his game. There was altraveled at least 500 feet. As Martin strode out Pearce to Justin Smoak to Chrisso the pressure of having one last of the batting cage, Tennessee head coach Dave tian Walker. Though they each season to impress MLB teams, Serrano, in the middle of a conversation with played with different bat and without the fallback of any neGamecocks head coach Chad Holbrook, pulled ball standards, Martin’s SEC gotiating leverage. Martin could Martin aside. numbers rank among the best in have lost money just as easily as All Gamecock baseball “If that happens in a game, I’m calling it a a season by any of them. he could have made it. coverage sponsored by foul,” Serrano cracked. “It’s pretty incredible. I didn’t His numbers proved the risk DiPrato’s It was a literal manifestation of the phrase “light really keep up with the numbers was worth it.

May 27, 2015

“I showed [scouts] I could hit for more power,” Martin said. “I only had five home runs last year, not as many doubles as this year. I think the average kind of set the tone last year, but the power showed this year.” As a result, his senior season has been littered with highlights. He became the first Gamecock to hit for the cycle in 11 years, and the first to record 7 RBI in an SEC game in 16 years. His Dad, Robert deGroot, who had been working this Spring in Keller, Tex., a suburb of Dallas, had only seen him play a handful of games in person this year. He was in the stands in College Station when Martin clubbed a home run in all three games of the Gamecocks’ series win over #2 Texas A&M. He capped off South Carolina’s sweep of Kentucky March 15 with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. “My first ever walk-off hit,” he noted. He also delivered a fitting sendoff in his final at-bat at Carolina Stadium. In the eighth inning of the Gamecocks’ regular season finale against LSU, Martin led off by lining a single to center field. It was his 200th career hit at South Carolina. After pinch runner Jordan Gore subbed in for him, Martin jogged to the Gamecocks dugout, a man who had shouldered a pair of pressures this year: the pressure to carry the order during a light-hitting season, and the pressure to perform with the scouts’ scrutiny its most searing. Kyle Martin proved he could shine with the lights on him. Just as long as he wasn’t hitting them first.

photo by allen sharpe


Spurs & Feathers • 19

May 27, 2015

Sushi, barbecue and golf: Gamecocks have unique bond by brian hand Executive Editor

photo by brian hand

Will Starke and the South Carolina men’s golf team open play in their third straight NCAA Championship appearance on May 29. Sushi at a gas station might not sound appealing to most, but Starke raved about their choice to eat there. “(It was) unbelievable. Really good. About as authentic as you can get. We’re big sushi lovers,” Starke mentioned. The Gamecocks may eat well off the course, but during preparations and on playing days they have a special concoction that they eat from. “Coach makes us a big bag of like trail mix. We call it a feedbag. It’s about three pounds,” Starke said. McDonald said the feedbag has helped his team a great deal over the past year. “You’ve just got to look at these guys,” McDonald relayed. “Food is a really big part of their life in general and their existence. We call it a feedbag. It’s a mix of good protein, carbohydrates and fat to be honest with you. Ken Taylor our local guy here who has helped us with our golf specific training has helped develop that. No more hot dogs and cokes and

snickers bars, although they might prefer that a coach and now you just want them to play sometimes. It’s been a good thing. I think it’s loose and do what they can do at the highest important to keep a little bit of fuel in your level.” system at all times.” That fuel will be important for the Gamecocks as they get ready for the grind of the NCAA Championship that if you make it all the way to the championship match means the Gamecocks will have played seven rounds of golf rom May 29-June 3. Overall, McDonald is just happy for his grouping of Gamecocks who have worked extremely hard to put themselves in this posiSpace #192 tion. 1100 Key Road “It doesn’t always work out for you the way you want it to in sports,” McDonald said. “You can work hard, you can have the high expectations, you can do everything the right Will negotiate way and you still might be disappointed in the end. I’m just really happy for these guys that they get to experience this together and the growth that I’ve seen from them in the last two to three years it’s very satisfying as

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South Carolina golfer Will Starke (70.03 currently) is on pace to break the school’s single-season stroke average. The junior from Chapin, S.C. also may be on pace to set the school-record for downing sushi appetizers - if he has not already. Starke may have taken down the record right before the final round of the Bremerton, Wash. regional where the Gamecocks had an incredible back-nine on the final day to finish second as a team. In fact, the four Gamecocks whose scores counted on Saturday, May 16, 2015, combined to shoot 15-under on the back nine without making a bogey. After the final round, Starke tweeted: 14 appetizers then 15 under on the back nine #nocoincidence. The tweet was representative of one of the things that sets this particular Gamecock team apart from others. The Gamecocks as a team have gotten it done on the course this year with a schoolrecord five team victories, but they also have gotten it done at the dinner table as well. Starke concedes that is one of the things that bonds the team. “A little bit. As sad as that may be, probably a little bit. We have fun at all of our meals together and sit down and joke and have a good time,” Starke stated. South Carolina men’s golf head coach Bill McDonald fully believes it is one of the areas that has bonded his squad. “Absolutely,” McDonald emphatically noted. “It’s one of the things that I think keeps us loose. We argue and complain about some of the places we go and make a big deal out of it, but it’s all in good fun. They’re big boys and we’re going to be eating a lot and it’s just a matter of where we go.” The team is particularly fond of the aforementioned sushi as well as barbecue. Heading to Florida for the NCAA Championship in Bradenton, Fla. next means there will be quite the number of restaurants to choose from in those two areas. “I’ve heard there’s some good barbecue down there, but there wasn’t a lot of good barbecue that we could find in Bremerton, Wash., but we did find some sushi in a renovated gas station. We’re going to be down there long enough hopefully to try out all kinds of different restaurants,” McDonald said.


20 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Top-notch recruiting class for Martin and the Gamecocks South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin appears to have put the bow on his fourth recruiting class in Columbia and by all accounts it is the most impressive one to date. In this edition of Gunter’s Spot, I take a look at the players that will be joining the Gamecocks’ program next year and what fans can be expecting from Martin’s new editions. Perry Dozier Jr. (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) Vitals – 6’6/185 Combo Guard Gunter’s Take - Without a doubt, the prize of the 2015 recruiting class, Dozier could have elected to attend schools such as Ohio State, Louisville, North Carolina or Michigan but instead decided to stay home and play for Martin and the in-state Gamecocks. What Martin and his coaching staff will be getting is a player with an extremely high basketball I.Q. that can control the game with his ability to pass and get to the basket. Even though the Spring Valley native just made the prestigious McDonald’s All American Game in April, most pundits believe his best days are still ahead of him. Dozier is learning how to play the game with his body and length and once he feels Bill Gunter a little more Contributing comfortable, he Writer should provide the team with a player that can excel in all facets of the game. Expect Dozier to be a starter early in his career and to be a versatile player that can play multiple positions depending on the lineup on the floor. It is important for fans to not expect Dozier to come into the program and make them an NCAA contender all by his self. He will need help from veterans Sindarius Thornwell, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Duane Notice. Chris Silva (Roselle, N.J./Roselle Catholic) Vitals - 6’9/208 Power Forward Gunter’s Take - P.J. Dozier Jr. may have been the most prized recruit of the 2015 class but I am not sure there was a more important recruit than the ultra athletic big man from New Jersey. Silva gives Martin and his staff a player they have not had during their time

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in Columbia and one that the Gamecocks have not had on their roster since Damontre Harris. The Gamecocks have several quality guards in the program roster but have badly needed to add athleticism to their front court and they get that in Silva. It is tough for any big man to come onto a college campus and make an instant impact so fans should not expect the 6-foot-9 forward to show up and start producing double-doubles. However, it is possible that Silva can push upperclassmen Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas for a starting position early on because his skill set will be so different. Silva should provide an instant impact in blocking shots and rebounding the ball while being able to offer some highlight reel dunks around the rim on put backs and when the ball is dropped down to him in the low post.

case his abilities, fans will see a player that does a great job defending and rebounding using his athletic ability and gives Martin another player that will help make it difficult for the opposition to score. Offensively, Gregory is a slashing guard that can get to the rim and provide some offensive rebounding abilities. It is likely, during his first season that Gregory will be counted on to come off the bench and provide a spark but will need to get stronger and learn the system while developing his game. Eric Cobb (Jacksonville, Fla./St. Francis Prep) Vitals - 6’9/260 Power Forward

Gunter’s Take - The most recent addition to Martin’s class electing to join the Gamecocks last week, Cobb was a long time commitment to Kansas State before deciding to Jamall Gregory re-open his recruitment. The Jacksonville, (Delray Beach, Fla./Elev8 Sports Academy) Fla. native, is a big body that will need to Vitals - 6’3/175 Shooting Guard get in shape over the summer and during fall camp to be able to contribute during his Gunter’s Take - The 6-foot-3 guard who is freshman season. originally from the Baltimore area is an inI spoke with his high school coach after triguing prospect that should instantly make his commitment and was told that Cobb curthe pre-game lay up line more fun for Game- rently was 6-foot-9, 260 pounds but would cock fans to watch. Gregory will likely be the need to drop about 20 pounds to be a producmost athletic player on the Gamecocks roster tive college player. I believe that Cobb is a the minute he arrives on campus, however vital pick up for Martin given that after this will need to find his way into the rotation season, the Gamecocks will lose three of with several upperclassmen ahead of him on their post players in Chatkevicius, Kacinas the depth chart. and Michael Carrera. When Gregory does get the chance to show- While Cobb may not be asked to play much

of a role this coming season, his development will be key for the program. There is still no reason that he can’t step in and provide four to eight minutes a game using his size for defense and rebounding however it is more likely, his first season will be spent getting his body into shape and learning to play the defensive system that Martin likes to employee. Travon Bunch (Racine, Wis./Score Academy) Vitals - 6’11/230 Center Gunter’s Take - Maybe the most intriguing prospect of the Gamecocks recruiting class as the 6-foot-11 Bunch gives Martin another athletic option in the post. In speaking with one scout that watched him for a good deal of the time, the feeling is that Bunch is going to need some time to adjust to the college game but has the capability to be a solid contributor over time. Bunch has great length and will come to college as a good shot blocker but will need to become stronger and learn to play with more energy over the course of the game in order to help contribute on the court. More than likely, Bunch will need at least two years to develop his skills before he can provide a serious contribution to the program over the course of a 40-minute game, however a coach cannot teach 6-foot-11 or the length that Bunch provides making him a solid pick up for Martin and prospect worth bringing into the program.


Spurs & Feathers • 21

May 27, 2015

Staley and Gamecocks turning page to 2015-16 by collyn taylor Reporter

have to work on,” Staley said. “We just need to get better at two or three things this summer and I think we’ll be a much better basIt didn’t take long for the South Carolina ketball team. They’re eager to get back in the women’s basketball team to start looking gym and back in the weight room to get back ahead to next season. Only a few weeks reto the place they were this year.” moved from their first Final Four appearance Even though the Gamecocks are returning ever, the team is already looking at ways three starters, Staley said every position in they can get back to the same place next the starting lineup is open for competition, season. saying it’s something she does every year. The team had a number of firsts this year: She also said she wants to put five players highest finish in the AP poll (No. 3), first on the floor that can score, something she Final Four in program history, first SEC said would give them and advantage on both Tournament title, school records for wins sides of the ball. in a season (34) and consecutive home wins One massive spot they have to fill is that (34). They also led the country in attendance left by Aleighsa Welch, who was the Gamefor the first time ever, averaging 12,293 fans cocks’ emotional leader all season. Welch, a per game. three-time captain, was the lynchpin in the Those accolades are great, but now the team success this past season. team focuses on winning the big one: the “Lisa’s had three years to hone her skills National Championship. in that area and she leaves a pretty big void,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley she said. “We’re hoping Tiffany Mitchell said her team played hard in their 66-65 loss can match her output of hard work and the to Notre Dame in the national semifinal and amount of time she puts on the floor into that loss only made her team hungrier to get becoming more of a vocal leader for the sake back and play in another Final Four and anof our team.” other shot to win a title. Along with returning almost all of her “Our team played really hard. Whether we team, Staley is bringing in top-level talent, were up or down, they played with a consis- including Shay Colley, a point guard from tent work ethic that any coach in the country Ontario, Canada who has Canadian national could be proud of. They have a taste of what team experience. it is to play under those big lights, under Staley also recently announced that Sarah those circumstances. They’ll get back grind- Imovbioh has signed a financial aid agreeing out this summer to get back to that place ment to attend the University and play for and get different results.” the Gamecocks. Imovbioh, who played three And with the players they are retaining seasons at Virginia and graduated from the next year, it’s not a stretch to think they’ll school in May, will have one year of eligibilreturn next season. ity with the Gamecocks beginning in 2015They bring back three of their five starters: 16. Imovbioh (pronounced ih-MOE-beeAsia Dozier, Tiffany Mitchell and Khadijah OH) was the top rebounder in the ACC last Sessions and they have second-leading scor- season, pulling down 10.8 boards per game er A’ja Wilson and leading rebounder Alaina to rank 19th in the nation. She posted 13 Coates coming back to Columbia. double-doubles in 31 games in 2014-15. Bianca Cuevas, who played significant With the massive success of this past year’s minutes last season returns for her sophoteam, Staley said recruits that in recent years more year along with other rising sophohad shut themselves off from South Caromores Kaydra Duckett and Jatarie White. lina, have recently started showing more Doniyah Cliney, who received an initial interest in coming to Columbia to play. eligibility waiver and did not compete for the With the wealth of talent coming back and team, will be eligible to play at the start of the wave of talent coming in, it’s not a stretch next season. to think the Gamecocks could make another The players returning have been on social run towards a national title next season. media posting pictures of them “Some of the doors that were in the gym working out and getshut for some prospects have ting better for the next season. been reopened in a positive Staley said she has had indiway,” Staley said. “We’ve put vidual meetings with all of them ourselves in a position where and said they are ready to start we’ve become a more popular working on going back to the choice for young people. When Final Four and winning next you’re able to go to a Final Four, year. She also said bringing all they want to be a part of that. of these players back is very enWhen you’re able to do that, we All Gamecock couraging. basketball coverage will be able to hand-pick some “They’re all in good places of the best talent across the sponsored by right now. They know what they country.” Yesterdays

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22 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Getting to know Jon Hoke

A native of Kettering, Ohio, Jon Hoke grew up in a very sports-minded family. “My dad (Jon) played football at Miami of Ohio, where his freshman year the head coach was Woody Hayes, the freshman coach was Ara Parseghian and the senior captain was Bo Schembechler. He started coaching baseball, later he was an AD, and then he became a high school principal. He never forced us to play, but he got us involved early in football, basketball, baseball and swimming. His idea was that if we didn’t play sports after school then we needed to get a job. “I had a great childhood. Kettering was a good community to grow up in, and we had very supportive parents.” The “we” Coach Hoke is referring to is younger brother, Brady, (former Michigan head coach). “We competed against each other in basketball in the drive way and pick-up games in the backyard, those kind of things, but as adults the only time we competed against each other was when I was an assistant coach at Bowling Green, and he was at Western Michigan. We had a very good team, and we beat them pretty good.” In high school Coach Hoke played several positions. “As a sophomore and junior I primarily played defensive back and a little wide receiver,” he said. “My senior year our quarterback got hurt, and I played there the rest of my senior year. We ran the veer.” After graduating from Fairmont East High School, Hoke attended Ball State University. “I was not recruited. I had an opportunity to walk on at Miami of Ohio and Ball State. secondary coach. The next two seasons he Miami wouldn’t let me go to training camp, had the title of Assistant Head Coach added and Ball State would, so I decided to go to his resume. there. Ball State is a big part of my family; “It was the first time I had been a coordimy older sister went there, I went there, my nator and it was a tremendous learning exbrother went there, my son went there, my perience for me. He allowed and helped me wife went there, my sister-in-law and broth- grow as a coach. I didn’t always see things er-in-law and niece went there. the way he saw them, but now that I’m older Hoke was a two-time All-MAC selection I really appreciate everything he was trying as a defensive back and helped to teach me back them.” lead the Cardinals to league When Coach Spurrier left titles in 1976 and ’78. the Gators for the Washington Hoke spent a season in the Redskins in 2002, Coach Hoke NFL with the Kansas City began his professional coaching Chiefs and Chicago Bears career with Houston. He spent (1980-81) before embarking on seven seasons with the Texans a college coaching career that and six with the Chicago Bears spanned 19 years. He was on as secondary coach through the staff at Dayton, N.C. State, last season, when he was asked Bowling Green, San Diego to rejoin the HBC in Columbia. State, Kent State, Missouri, “I thought it would be interGlenn Snyder and in 1999 he joined Coach esting to see how they build a Inside Steve Spurrier’s staff at Florida team,” he said. “The day I got Look as defensive coordinator and to Houston they had no players.

photo by juan blas

We had to go through an expansion draft, tryouts and a regular draft. They helped me learn how to evaluate players, and it was a great learning experience for me.” The HBC tried to get Coach Hoke to rejoin his staff in 2004, when he came to USC and again in 2008. “The timing wasn’t right and financially is wasn’t right, but it was mostly about my children. When I got to Houston my oldest was going to be a sophomore in high school, my son was going to be in the 7th grade, and we had young twins. I was able to get my daughter and my son all the way through high school. “In 2008 I was in Chicago, and my twins where in 7th grade. They were both soccer players and one was adamant that she didn’t want to change schools. I got them through high school, so this time the timing was so much better.” The perception might be that coaching in the pros is more about refinements than assignments, but, no, so says Coach Hoke.

“It’s always going to be about technique over tactics, a step-by-step process. It’s not going to be complicated. It’s going be about how well our players play. It’s never going to be about the offense; it’s going to be about how well we defend. There were four things that drove us in Chicago. They are the same four things that drive us here. It’s always going to be about assignments, alignments, techniques and keys, and that’s never going to change. You want your players to be able to play fast and physical and have their instincts take over. “It was great to be back with college kids. We treat them like men, respect them like men, and I didn’t coach any differently this spring. We have a lot of coaching to do. We’re young, but I think we have a chance to be pretty good. I’m excited to be here and coaching with Coach Spurrier and the rest of the staff and to be back in the SEC.” Coach Hoke and his wife, Jody, have four children: Mallory 28, Kyle 26, and twins Kendall and Carly 18.


Spurs & Feathers • 23

May 27, 2015

Achieving goals, on and off the court by Brad Muller South Carolina Director of Content

said. “He’s going to tell you his vision of the program, and how you can play a part in that. He promises that he will be the best coach and Tyrone Johnson overcame some uncertainty, mentor that he can possibly be for you. He will injury and some emotional ups and downs teach you how to be a better man and will help in his college basketball career, but with his you become a better player. Some coaches at degree now in hand, he feels good about his other programs do it differently, but I can say efforts and his choice to help build the Game- that everything he preached to me on my visit cock program under head coach Frank Martin. is everything I have received since I’ve been “No regrets,” Johnson said. “I look at this here. You have to be willing to come in and as something that was a good stepping stone. work hard because it’s not going to be easy. If I was able to leave my mark in trying to turn you do work hard, it will get easier.” things around, and being one of the guys to The hard work appeared to be paying off show younger guys how to work hard. We fell early in the season when the Gamecocks a little short of our goals including making the rattled off seven straight wins, capped by a vicNCAA Tournament, but we did taste some tory over No. 9 Iowa State on January 3 prior success and had the first winning season in six to opening up SEC play. years. We grew, and some of those younger South Carolina would stumble to a 1-6 guys now know what it takes to win.” start in the league before going 7-7 down the Originally from Plainfield, New Jersey, John- stretch, which included two wins in the SEC son transferred to South Carolina after two Tournament. years at Villanova. He suffered an injury early “I think the difference was that we just hit a in his career at Villanova that shelved him for mark where we went cold,” Johnson said. “I a while, and then a broken foot in January of look back and there were games that we could 2014 sidelined him for the remainder of the have won, and if you get three of those to go year in his first season with the Gamecocks. as wins then we’re a 20-13 team and playing He never gave up and started every game for in the postseason. You have to credit the other South Carolina during the 2014-15 season. teams that capitalized on our mistakes, but you “There was a lot of adversity that I had to live and you learn. We had to get back to doface during my college career,” Johnson said. ing things that made us successful. We started “It was great to be injury free and be out there to get our momentum back, and I felt like we for every game this year. I always pushed ended the season on a good note.” myself and set goals for myself. I tried to be a Looking back at his time in Columbia, Johnleader as best as I could on and off the court. son said he thinks the basketball program is in I wanted to be a role model for my teammates better shape now than when he first arrived on and the entire program. I learned a lot since campus. I’ve been here. I know there is still a lot of “You can see it in just the mentality of the basketball for me to play somewhere, whether guys wanting to get after each other in pracit’s in the NBA, the developmental league or tice,” Johnson said. “The guys really want to overseas.” compete and get better. Frank has a plan, and Johnson is hoping to set up some workouts he has a way of playing the game. He’s got it through his agent for NBA teams to evaluate going in the right direction. He makes his mark where his next stop in basketball will be. He on the community as well. That’s important.” enjoyed a good relationship with head coach As he leaves campus, Johnson hopes that Frank Martin, which helped him develop on future Gamecocks will buy-in to what their and off the basketball floor. coaches preach to help take the program to the “Frank is someone I can always be honest next level. with,” Johnson said. “He was honest with me “My advice to kids coming in is that this isn’t as well. He pushed me to do well and taught high school,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter me how to be a better man. That was the imif you were an All-American or an all-conferportant thing. He showed me that every day in ence player in high school. This is a different life, whether you’re in the classgame. The speed, the strength, room or you’re doing something and the ability level of everybody off the court, you never know who at this level is really good. You is watching, so you need to do it need to come in with a clear right. If you have a bad day on mind, and you have to be willing the court or off, you have to come to listen, compete and get better. back the next day and show that Everyone at this level is good, so you want to get better.” you have to ask, what are you goThat honesty was something ing to do to get better? Come in All Gamecock that impressed Johnson before he ready to learn from Coach Martin ever suited up for the Gamecocks. basketball coverage and what he’s preaching.” sponsored by “When you come in on a visit, For all of his work on the basYesterdays he’s a straight up guy,” Johnson ketball floor, Johnson is extremely

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proud to be walking away with his degree in hand. “Everyone has a goal, and to get a degree was one of mine,” Johnson said. “I took that seriously. Coming from kind of a rough neighborhood, I want to know that I can be a role model not just in the South Carolina community, but also back home. Getting a degree means a lot to me, but it also means a lot to my mom and my whole family. My mom always told me that basketball could take me a long way, but that a degree can take you a lot further because you never know when you’re time will be up and

you have to put the basketball down.” Whenever that day does come, Johnson hopes to own his own business, but he knows it will take a lot of the same lessons he learned as a Gamecock to get there. “I’ve always wanted to own my own sports complex or even something like a housing complex,” Johnson said. “Something for the community where I can come in and train young kids would be great. I have a few other ideas. I’d like to be my own boss, but I know it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to do it.”


24 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Berson excited about strong spring, upcoming 2015 season by brian hand Executive Editor

The longest tenured head coach in NCAA Division I at one school, South Carolina men’s soccer head coach Mark Berson will begin his 38th season in charge in the 2015 season. The recent recipient of the Bill Jeffery Award given by the NSCAA to an individual for outstanding service in college soccer, Berson obviously has been around the pitch a long time, but not many things excite him more than ramping up for another season. In fact, Berson is ecstatic about what is in place currently with Gamecock men’s soccer. “Our recruiting has been very good,” Berson stated. “I’m really pleased with the group we have coming in and I think the returning group has done a good job. Very anxious. The excitement in coaching is that each new year is a brand new sheet of paper to be written on. I think that Carolina soccer fans are going to see a lot of new faces, they’re going to see a lot of different faces out there and that’s exciting in any sport when you have that. I think it should be really fun.” The 2014 regular-season for South Carolina men’s soccer had its ups like beating No. 18 Clemson, 2-1, in the second overtime on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at Stone Stadium, but just like any season it also had its downs. Nevertheless, Berson’s squad responded down the stretch of the season to advance to the Conference USA Tournament championship match. Berson believes the strong way South Carolina closed the fall of 2014 continued into the Gamecocks’ spring preparations for the 2015 regular-season. “The momentum that we had at the end of the year carried on in the spring,” Berson said. “Really by the mid-point of the spring, the themes that we had established, objectives that we had established were well-entrenched, well-understood and well-executed. That was really, really good. I think the team left the spring semester physically in really good shape, tactically sharper, really having a clearer idea of the number of principles that we want to get across and I think there was great momentum and morale. I think they were really excited about the (upcoming) fall.” One of the things that helped South Carolina down the stretch in their eventual 10-10 season in 2014 was changing some things

photo of Koty Millard by allen sharpe

tactically. Berson and his staff continued to implement some new things into their system during the spring of 2015. “We certainly want to be tactically more flexible next year,” Berson noted. “We showed that this fall when we changed a number of things at the mid-point of the season and were able to show a lot of different things in games against opponents that I think were very successful and our players recognized that. They’ve embraced a lot of different things that we’ve been doing.”

Every spring preparation for South Carolina men’s soccer and really any team is always different due to players graduating and other varying things, but overall Berson thinks the Gamecocks put together a solid spring. “We were able to do a lot of teaching, (we were) able to take it a lot slower in the spring and cover a lot of the basic themes that you want to have in place for the fall. We were able to get a lot done and I think the analytics that we have in place for our offseason weight training and our offseason conditioning were

very much on target. I think our players have bought in to a lot of the things that we are doing that are a little bit new and progressive in terms of our measurements and our analytics. That’s been really good,” Berson said. South Carolina men’s soccer reports back to campus on Aug. 11 to get ready for the 2015 season. The Gamecocks will practice for the first time on Aug. 12 and then just a few short days later will play their first exhibition on Aug. 16 against Gardner-Webb.


Spurs & Feathers • 25

May 27, 2015

South Carolina women’s soccer driven this spring by brian hand Executive Editor

The South Carolina women’s soccer team advanced to its first Elite Eight last year. The Gamecocks overall closed out their efforts with a program-best tying national ranking of ninth and a record of 14-6-5 (53-3 SEC). It was a year to be remembered for sure, but the Gamecocks missed out on some of their other goals like winning the SEC and advancing to the Final Four. The South Carolina women’s soccer program is considered one of the top in the nation, but missing out on those goals and taking the program even further is what is driving them right now. In fact, the Gamecocks spent much of their spring 2015 efforts working hard to put themselves in position to hopefully make all of those things a reality in the 2015 season. “This group hasn’t won a championship yet and that’s a driving force for them,” South Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelley Smith said. “They also do have a lot of pride in what they’ve accomplished and they feel like they want to make sure they are keeping themselves a top program in the country and having that respect and not dropping off. I think they take a lot of pride in that. The seniors that are here want to accomplish the most they ever have and add more firsts for the program, so there is a drive there.” Smith overall thought her team had a really good spring of 2015. “The spring was good,” Smith relayed. “The girls worked really hard. It was one of those times where we learned coming off the SEC championship a few years ago that you’ve got to keep pushing and they felt a hunger to go a little bit further next time, to get to the Final Four, to win an SEC championship.” One of the things that makes South Carolina’s success on the pitch more impressive is that they are as equally adept off the field with the Gamecocks once again winning the South Carolina Community Service Outreach Team of the Year, compiling 907 hours of service (31 hours per team member average). This past spring, South Carolina’s community service hours included helping out with numerous endeavors such as working YMCA camps. The Gamecocks also held their annual Fan Appreciation Clinic in the spring. Smith as always could not have been more proud of her team in this area in addition to their drive to getting better on the pitch individually and as a team. “We pushed them pretty hard and they did well,” Smith stated. “They worked on the

photo by allen sharpe

field. They did well off the field with their grades and paying attention to the little things, getting sleep, all of that as much as we can expect in the spring and demand out of them. I thought they were pretty committed to improving themselves. They did extra sessions on their own. They did extra sessions with us. They were taking time to improve themselves and I think they’re in a good spot right now going into the fall. I think they’re ready to bring a challenge upon trying to improve upon last year.”

With it now summer, the onus is now on the Gamecock women’s soccer studentathletes to be ready to go at the start of the preseason. “A lot of them are going to be here this summer to help each other train,” Smith said. “We’ve given them things as they’ve left to talk about what they need to work on, what they need to improve individually. There are things they’ve addressed and they know when they go out to play a pickup game with each other that they should be

focused on a couple things. All of them have little tasks and things they need to do, but the biggest one is to come in as fit and ready to go as they can be at the start of preseason.” The Gamecocks report to campus for preseason practice on Aug. 4. South Carolina will practice for the first time on Aug. 5. South Carolina’s lone exhibition on the year will see the Gamecocks travel to Raleigh, N.C. for a contest against NC State at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14.


26 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Solid second year has Gamecocks knocking on door of eliteness by kyle heck Reporter

Coming into its second season, the South Carolina sand volleyball team had some goals it established before the start of the season. However, halfway through the year, head coach Moritz Moritz and the Gamecocks found themselves rewriting the goals because of how good they were doing. South Carolina won its first four matches of the season and rolled to a 14-7 record, a vast improvement from the 5-12 record the Gamecocks had in their first year. The Gamecocks finished the year ranked 17th nationally. “One of our initial goals was to double our win total and we almost tripled it,” Moritz said. “It’s not that we didn’t expect to get better, we just didn’t know how much better we would get and how quickly. I All Gamecock think the sand volleyball coverage girls just really picked sponsored by James W. up on that Smith Real Estate Co. improvement factor.” The Gamecocks were able to knock off instate rival College of Charleston in March to capture the “state championship,” which was one of their other goals. Moritz also made sure this season’s schedule was very tough and South Carolina played some of the best teams in the nation. While they were not able to capture any wins over Georgia State or Florida State, two of the premier teams in the nation, the Gamecocks were able to make sure that the contests were close and Moritz said that goes a long way in how your competition looks at you. “Those guys are now starting to say, ‘hey, South Carolina is starting to compete,’” Moritz said. “We have to start respecting them and the way they compete because if we don’t, they could knock us off.” One of the major goals still left on the table is to win the SEC championship. The Gamecocks and LSU are currently the only two SEC teams playing sand volleyball and South Carolina was narrowly edged out by the Tigers, 3-2, late in the season. However, it is clear that the Gamecocks

photo by brian hand

have set the building blocks necessary to build a winning program and hope to continue to sell the program to incoming recruits. “I think it comes back to finding what the measuring stick is and knowing who you’re comparing yourself against and recruiting against,” Moritz said. “And really, it puts it on us as coaches to make sure we train them up the right way. With the way that we’re competing, we’re seeing that and it’s reflected in the results.” Moritz added that he thinks the Gamecocks are still a year or two away from breaking

out, but he knows that his team has come a long way in two short seasons. With the student-athletes leaving for the summer, it’s up to them to continue to work on their game and get better. Unlike in some other sports, continuing to play sand volleyball is rarely an issue for the girls. “The cool thing with beach volleyball is that they want to play and they want to do that stuff because it’s a lifestyle sport,” Moritz said. “It’s something they’re going to do until their 80 or 90.” One of the big goals for the future for the

Gamecocks will be to finish in the top three of their region. Florida International, Georgia State and Florida State are the teams that occupy those spots now, but if South Carolina continues to have the same sort of progress they showed this past season, they will soon be primed to take over one of the top spots. “We’re knocking on the door, but obviously we’re not there yet,” Moritz said. “FSU, Georgia State and FIU are right there, but I think we are at least making them question what it means to play us and that’s huge.”


Spurs & Feathers • 27

May 27, 2015

Ward highlights successful Lancaster County spring meeting by brian hand Executive Editor

The Lancaster County Gamecock Club held their annual spring meeting on Monday, May 18, 2015, and as always it was a great time for everyone able to attend. Held on the campus of USC Lancaster in Lancaster, S.C., the featured speaker at this year’s spring meeting was South Carolina co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. Also in attendance on the special evening was former South Carolina football standout and new Andrew Jackson High School head coach C.J. Frye. Even Cocky made an appearance on the evening, taking pictures with fans. A special donation was also made over the evening by the Lancaster County Gamecock Club to Dawn Staley’s innersole charity as they donated 35 new pairs of shoes to help the cause. The Lancaster County Gamecock Club spring banquet was catered by Ultimate Tailgaters BBQ from Aiken, S.C. and after a silent auction to start the evening along with just general fellowship all of those in attendance were treated to the top-notch barbecue. Lancaster County Gamecock Club chapter president Joe Grier then started off the program portion of the evening before giving way to Frye, who spoke about his time as a Gamecock and much more. Assistant Director of the Gamecock Club Jay Brown then took the stage to talk about all of the great things happening with South Carolina athletics before Grier introduced Ward, who started off his talk by reminding all of those in attendance just how critical to the success of Gamecock athletics they really are. “All of the building, everything that is going on at South Carolina, it wouldn’t be possible without you all,” Ward relayed. “You all deserve the credit. Without you and the money you put into the program that you love, all those buildings that you have going on, would not be possible.” Considered one the best recruiters in the entire country, Ward continued by noting “I think the difference in South Carolina and other programs is - especially when it comes to recruiting - that a lot of times you tell kids about things that you’ve got in play and that you’re going to build at South Carolina. When they come to South Carolina they see all of the things being done

photo by brian hand

Lorenzo Ward (left) poses with former Gamecock football player C.J. Frye at the Lancaster County Gamecock Club meeting on May 18. presently and that’s important.” Ward was quick to point out that although the season did not go exactly as planned in 2014 that the Gamecocks are motivated to make noise as a team in the 2015 season. “We know football-wise that we didn’t do as well as we’ve done in the past. That’s more motivation for us too. More motivation for us that we keep it to that level that we got you accustomed to for three straight years, so we’ve got to get back there really, really soon,” Ward said. Ward also broke down to everyone in attendance some of the new things people

will see with the 2015 Gamecock defense. “We’re going to do some things differently on the defensive side of the ball this upcoming season. Coach Spurrier came to me after this (last) season was over and said he felt like we needed more experience in the meeting room along with myself so he made me the front seven coordinator. I’m responsible for the linebackers and the DLine.” Ward also continued to emphasize how fellow co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke’s system is really being embraced by the team.

“He’s brought a system that’s really, really good and it’s simple and our kids really, really like it,” Ward mentioned. Overall, Ward just conveyed how excited he is for the start of preseason practice in August. “We definitely will put a better product than you’ve seen last season on the field,” Ward said. After Ward finished speaking, those in attendance also remembered those Gamecocks in the area that had passed away in the past year before having a live auction that closed out the evening.


28 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

Langston Moore camp focused on eating right, life success by brian hand Executive Editor Langston Moore knows what it takes to be successful. He also knows what it takes to have a body that is well-equipped enough to be able to compete in the National Football League for seven seasons. When the current Gamecock football radio sideline reporter closed out his time in the NFL he knew he wanted to help out the Columbia community by continuing to work camps, but he also knew he wanted to show children what eating right and being successful was really all about. To this end, Moore conceptualized the Eat2Win football camp, which he calls a (FUN) damental camp for children 8-17. Eat stands for Effort, Attitude and Technique and during the one-day camp Moore and his grouping of South Carolina All-Stars focus on showing those in attendance what it takes to a have healthy lifestyle to go along with eating habits that in turn will combine for long-term success. A member of the South Carolina football team from 1999-2002, Moore was a sixthround selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 NFL Draft. Moore played for the Bengals (2003-04, 09), Arizona Cardinals (2005-06) and the Detroit Lions (2007-08). He also played with the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League for one year before retiring. During his time in the NFL and after Moore spent a great deal of his time working with different charities. After envisioning the idea for the Eat2Win football camp for quite some time, he decided to be the one who spearheaded the special day camp that features a little bit of everything in motivational speakers, NFL players, professional football instruction, sports performance coaching, concussion awareness, diabetes testing, blood pressure checks, vision testing, BMI measurements, nutritional coaching and financial consulting. Inspired years ago by fellow Gamecock great and NFL standout Travelle Wharton’s efforts to help his community, Moore’s Eat2Win football camp is different also in that they incorporate the parents and guardians as well. The camp also gives the opportunity for the parents to go through some of the life skills and education sessions available while the kids work out on the field. The special one-day camp is a passion for Moore since he more than understands what poor health and even just normal health screenings can mean to your family due to his father, who was a well-known radio personality in Ft. Wayne, Ind. and Charleston, S.C., passing away from congestive heart failure during his time at South Carolina. His mother passed away a short time ago from stomach cancer. “What got me involved was that when I was at school I lost my father at an early age to congestive heart failure,” Moore remarked. “He was a bigger guy. Before he got sick he was just

a big old athletic guy that played football back in the day. Fast forward and it also affected a lot of the guys that I played football with even on down to players like (former Clemson/NFL defensive tackle) Chester McGlockton and (former Gamecock/Canadian Football League defensive back) Jamacia Jackson, who died in his sleep from sleep apnea. This stuff affects South Carolina. “I’ve been doing some stuff in the State House with (South Carolina state) senator John Scott here and just always hearing the statistics of South Carolina’s always in the top-10 for obesity, diabetes. That’s just something that kind of gave me more of a push to get involved because I’ve always been doing football camps with Travelle and a bunch of the other guys, but not so much on my own,” Moore continued. Moore understands and appreciates the platform that being a former Gamecock and NFL player plus his position on the radio with the Gamecocks presently has given him. He knows it allows for greater sustainability for a camp that does things a little different since it provides the family aspect. “The kids will come out there for football, but we wanted to not leave the parents out so that’s why we offered the free health screenings, the free dentals screenings because a lot of parents come out and they’ll watch and we thought it was a great opportunity for us to really engage them and to try to teach them some new stuff … (and) to give them an opportunity to let us take the kids out and do the nutritional stuff and do all the football stuff, but then also give them an opportunity to learn some new things as well,” Moore mentioned. “Last year we targeted the Colony project houses – 3,000 something families in there – but a lot of them in essence there’s not a lot of access to fresh, whole food so in turn there’s a lot of obesity over there. “My mother was a teacher so I was aware of all these things, but a lot of that stuff you can improve with diet and just doing different things. That’s where we really try to come in and focus and show them that it may not sound cool to drink carrot juice and kale juice, but that’s something I did as an NFL player. That’s something you never see. All you see is Lebron eating a hamburger and every kid thinks Lebron eats cheeseburgers every day, but he doesn’t,” Moore noted. Moore is putting a lot of his own money and time into this project, but entities such as the Gamecock Club and other businesses are helping to subsidize whatever he can do for this great cause. “It’s just amazing the response we’ve gotten from the community, from the legislation,” Moore said. “It’s just all collectively coming together. This year we’ll have the Cocky Reading Express come out there. I’m going to try and push more of the educational tools for the kids, giving them books. Summer retention

This year’s Eat2Win camp will be held June 13 from 9-2:30 at Irmo High School in Irmo, S.C. The event is completely free. To learn more about the Eat2Win camp, you can also like the camp on Facebook, or follow the camp on Twitter at @Eat2WinFootball. If you are interested in helping to further their mission and expand their reach, you can also help out the cause at http://www.gofundme. com/eat2win2015. 2015 Eat2Win coaches Kevin Rivers (Former Gamecock) Trevon Matthews (Former Gamecock) Jon Alston (Former Redskin and Gamecock) Preston Thorne (Former Gamecock) Phil Frye (Former Garner-Webb football player) CJ Frye (Former Gamecock/Current head coach Andrew Jackson Landon Cohen (Current NFL player with Seahawks) Shaun Smith (Former Gamecock and 10-year NFL veteran) Shaun Rogers (Former Texas Longhorn and NFL player) Jeremiah Garrison (Former Gamecock) is always such a hard deal, especially in these Dwayne Harper (Former SC State star and lower income areas. There’s a lot of resources, NFL veteran) but either they don’t know about it or it’s just Garrett Chisholm (Former Gamecock) not cool … we are just trying to use the camp Eric Stroman (Former Gamecock) kind of as a crossroads for resources, education James Scott (Former Gamecock) and fun.” Paul Beckwith (Former Gamecock and curMoore’s holistic approach to his camp also rent strength coach) includes breaking down to those in attendance WIllis Ham (Former Gamecock) that success is definitely not just characterized Troy WIlliamson (Former Gamecock and by making the NFL or even playing profesNFL veteran) sional sports at any level. Jonathan Martin (Former Gamecock) “It’s not guys who just went on to play footLance Laury (Former Gamecock and NFL ball (professionally) … I try to give kids differ- veteran) ent examples of success because everybody’s Marco Hutchinson (Former Gamecock) path is different,” Moore explained. “Even Travelle Wharton (Former Gamecock, curthough there’s a Clowney in the group there’s rent Gamecock offensive quality control cooralso 99 other guys on the roster. That’s one of dinator and NFL veteran) the last things before we send the kids home. Eric Sullivan (Former Gamecock) We have about a 30-minute session where we Dennis Quinn (Former Gamecock) kind of pull them away from the parents and Moe Brown (Former Gamecock) kind of have a heart-to-heart with them and let Fran Person (Former Gamecock, current them ask as many questions as they want about South Carolina special assistant for studentwhat did it take for us to be successful … we athlete welfare) try to be as open and transparent as possible Arturo Freeman (Former Gamecock and because the kids learn from it. NFL veteran) “I tell kids all the time (if you get football Cory Peoples (Former Gamecock and NFL scholarship), you’re winning. You went to veteran and current Charleston Southern defenschool four years, you got a degree, you’re basi- sive backs coach) cally leaving the school with no debt so you’re Jason Capers (Former Gamecock) 10-15 years ahead of everybody else. If you Ryan Brewer (Former Gamecock) just get going in the direction you want to go Sheldon Riley (Former Newberry football you’ll be fine. Even if you do get drafted, the player) (NFL) lifespan is short. Half the guys I played Na’Shan Goodard (Former Gamecock and with were high draft picks, but they were out NFL veteran) of the league in two to three years. That is just John Goodwin (Former Michigan player and some of the things we try to show them and NFL veteran) give them different pictures of success,” Moore Jon Bradley (Former NFL veteran) closed. Plus many more not yet confirmed


May 27, 2015

Spurs & Feathers • 29

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30 • Spurs & Feathers

May 27, 2015

South Carolina offers Seats for Soldiers

by brad muller South Carolina Director of Content

for service members by Gamecock fans for the football game against Furman last October as part of the inaugural “Seats for SolTaking care of those who take care of this diers” program. South Carolina has already country is important to the Gamecocks planned to give fans the opportunity to take and their fans. Through initiatives such as part in the program again in 2015 when the the “Seats for Soldiers” program and other Gamecocks host Vanderbilt on October 17 initiatives, South Carolina is trying to do in Williams-Brice Stadium. its part to show appreciation for those who “Fans and donors are given the opportuserve in the United States Armed Forces nity to purchase tickets at a discounted rate, by providing tickets to Gamecock athletics and the tickets are donated on their behalf events at different times of the year. to the military,” Stahl said. “The primary “We want to help out as many people as driver is individual phones calls. We get a we can,” said Dan Stahl, general manager lot of positive feedback from that. A majorwith IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions for the ity of the people we speak to have some sort University of South Carolina property. “We of connection, whether it’s a family member have the military appreciation day where who is serving, or a friend. Of the 750-plus the university donates around 5,000 tickets tickets we sold last year, many of them were to military families, but we’re looking for orders of multiple tickets.” more ways to enhance our relationship with The Gamecocks also afforded fans the the military. The university gives as much opportunity to purchase tickets to the Duck as it can, and we ask our fans and donors to Commander Independence Bowl for memadd on to enhance that effort.” bers of the military serving in that part of Approximately 750 tickets were purchased Louisiana, and the donors provided more

south carolina athletics media relations

than 560 tickets. “We did ask our donors to purchase tickets, and they were donated there to the local military base in Shreveport” said Gamecock Club Executive Director Patrick McFarland. “It was tough for people to travel there this year, so to ask our donors to purchase tickets and donate them back to the community for people to attend, it’s a great way to give back.” There is a similar program in place for basketball tickets. For the second straight year, the “Hoops for the Holidays” program gave fans an opportunity to purchase tickets for members of the military as well as charities and other youth organizations. This program provided approximately 500 tickets for several men and women’s basketball games during the December holiday period this past season. “Anytime you involve the military we usually get a positive response,” McFarland said. “South Carolina is extremely supportive of the military, and I think it’s almost

expected that we make that ask now. It’s really appreciated by our fan base and Gamecock Club members.” Stahl added that they will be seeking a sponsor to match the contributions of the individual donors for this cause. With a head start for the next “Seats for Soldiers” program, South Carolina officials anticipate that Gamecock fans will continue to be supportive. “We have an extremely high rate of active duty and retired military in our state,” said Lance Grantham, assistant athletics director for ticket operations. “Simply being aware of this helps us think about opportunities to help them. The fans who often purchase these love doing it because they know how much our military sacrifices for our welfare on a daily basis. It’s an easy sell. It really is.” Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for members of the military and their families may call the IMG Learfield group sales line at 803.777.8850.


Spurs & Feathers • 31

May 27, 2015

photo by allen sharpe

Better days are ahead for the Gamecocks

Two weeks ago I suggested that the baseComing into this year, South Carolina ball Gamecocks were not done. Afterwards, had appeared in the NCAA tournament 15 South Carolina’s bats came out hot against straight years, which is quite an accomplishTexas A&M, winning two of three while ment. It has been a forgone conclusion that scoring nine, 14, and eight runs in those three baseball will be played in late May and probgames, respectively. ably early June for South Carolina. Quite honThe following week Carolina estly, I’m not really sure what I romped over USC Upstate 17-0 will do with myself. and then opened with a 10-7 Being a baseball junkie, I win over No. 1 LSU. The precan always watch the Atlanta diction was looking pretty good. Braves. Growing up in Aiken, This is baseball though and as tbe Braves were always on the quickly as it starts, the bats can radio out of Augusta, Ga., thus, become silent again. Such was I went to sleep many a night the case as South Carolina lost listening to Milo Hamilton call the last two to LSU, scoring two the games. runs on Friday and one on SatOf course, the games are all urday. Then in the SEC Tournaon TV now. I’m not sure what Ed Girardeau ment the Gamecocks could only it’s like for the rest of the state, Contributing muster a single run against Misbut in this part, every Braves Editor souri and were one and done. game is available. Atlanta is not

what they used to be. They are young and fun to watch from that perspective, but the Braves have lost some of their allure from the past. There’s the NBA, then again, maybe not. If I had to pick a team I would pick the Hawks, but I’m not really a fan. I do not expect them to beat the Lebrons. I do enjoy watching Golden State and Steph Curry. I suppose a matchup between Cleveland and Golden State would be entertaining. There is always the beach. Anywhere from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head will do. Maybe I’ll go down to Pawleys Island and visit Jimmy Smith. He has opened his new office and I understand that his Gamecock room is fantastic. I definitely will have to fit that in. I doubt my pocket book would allow for a prolonged stay though. Then there is football season just around the corner. Basically, in two months (and a few days) it will be August and practice will start.

If there is one thing to count on, it is always football season around here. Who is going to be the quarterback? Will the defense be much improved? There is a lot to talk about there and there is always somebody around willing to talk. In the meantime, I’m sure that Coach Holbrook and his staff will be working on correcting what they have learned from this season. As disappointed as we all are, the team is more disappointed and will work hard to bounce back. Max Schrock played the season injured. He will make a decision shortly on whether to enter the pros or come back for another year. A healthy Schrock in the lineup would be an excellent step forward for next year. School is out for the summer, but it will be back in before we know it. In the meantime, get ready. Better days are ahead!


32 • Spurs & Feathers

# of tickets

May 27, 2015

price

total

payment information

$35

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mail ticket order forms to: South Carolina Athletics seat for soldiers 1304 heyward street columbia, sc 29208

AS34-1325260


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