Page 1

April 22, 2015 • Volume 37 • Issue 5 • $1.50

National Champions! Equestrian wins third national title

2 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 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 (803) 335-1400 Ext. 500 Brian Hand Executive Editor (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 Reporters Kyle Heck and Collyn Taylor Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Mary Watson Graphic Designer Cover Design: Brian Hand (photo by Jose Yau for South Carolina Athletics) 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.

Mailed out this week, make sure you check out the April Spurs & Feathers magazine in print and on photo courtesy of FLW

NATIONAL CHAMPS! The University of South Carolina competitive club bass fishing team caught a limit weighing 17 pounds, one ounce on the final day of the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup to win the title over Liberty University. The Gamecocks weighed in 53 pounds, 2 ounces while runner-up Liberty University had 51-13. The Gamecocks’ Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon started out in sixth place on day one, then moved to second on day two and overtook Liberty on the last day as the latter came up a fish short of a limit (story by Colin Moore of FLW)

Spurs & Feathers • 3

April 22, 2015

Carolina Walk Park offers the best in tailgating amenities. Adjacent to Williams - Brice Stadium, you’ll be just steps away from the action and excitement of the game!

Only 9 spaces remaining! Carolina Walk Park owners will enjoy shaded, grassy parking spaces with electrical and cable TV outlets. Granite markers outline each space. Enjoy the open-air entertainment pavilion with entertainment at each game.

$13,500 per space! Last remaining spaces available, call today!

Learn more about how you can experience the ultimate in tailgating! Call (864) 415-9851 or (864) 327-3679 or email

Carolina Walk Park • Private, Gated, Grassy Tailgate Facility • Spacious Indoor Air-Conditioned Restroom Facility • Electrical Outlets and Cable TV at all Spaces • Open-Air Entertainment Pavilion AS34-1309599

4 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Fans come out in force to welcome back Gamecocks by collyn taylor Reporter

After their season-ending loss in the Final Four, the Gamecocks were welcomed back to Columbia by a horde of garnet and black fans. When the Gamecocks returned Monday, April 6, the first thing they heard was the cheers and the “Game-Cocks” chant from the hundreds of fans that made their way to Eagle Aviation. They walked off the plane and made their way over to the fans where they hugged and highfived the crowd, enjoying one of the last times they’ll see the fans until next season. Gamecock fans had come out in full force all season, leading in the nation in attendance and packing nine buses to travel to Greensboro for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. They traveled like a garnet wave down to the beaches of Tampa Bay and they once again showed out in full force when the team returned after All Gamecock basketball the loss. “I’m not surcoverage sponsored by prised,” South Yesterdays

photo by collyn taylor

Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “We have the best fans in the country and this is the reason why. Win or lose, they’re always with us to support us. It was a disappointing loss, but this makes us feel a little bit better.” South Carolina alumnus Cecily Watkins was one of those fans who showed up to support the team. She said the team represented all of the students and alumni and made the entire fan base proud. Another alumni, 1975 graduate Dalmer Sercy, came out to show his support, something he

said he doesn’t do very often. He said the last time he came out to welcome a team home was in 1971 when Frank McGuire and the men’s basketball team won the ACC Tournament. He said this postseason run was comparable to McGuire’s team and he just wanted to say thank you for a “wonderful year.” “It shows how much we love them,” Sercy said. “They put so much effort into the season and this is a small effort on our part compared to what they did.” The players and fans interacted for a while,

snapping pictures and hugging the players. Senior forward Aleighsa Welch was one of those players who savored every moment, sticking around to hug more fans, enjoying the last moments of her senior season. Welch, who went to four NCAA Tournaments and reached one Final Four, one Elite Eight and two Sweet 16s, said being a part of a historic team like this was amazing and the fan support shows how committed Gamecock fans are. She said she couldn’t be more pleased and this is not the end of the road for the Gamecocks. Both Welch and Staley said the Gamecocks will be back to the Final Four. Staley said her team knows more so than ever how much work it takes to win a national title, saying, “we’re not far off from winning a national championship if we continue to improve.” As the team finished talking to fans they were led by Welch to the bus to head back to campus. As Welch began walking toward the bus, she looked back and waved at the fans, thanking them one more time. “I’m so grateful for what these fans have done and they are appreciated more than they know,” Welch said. “Even the people who couldn’t make it are cheering from home for us like they were cheering at home during the game. I want to extend my thank yous to every single fan who cheered for us the entire season and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”

“Now open in Lexington!”



RED BANK, SC 1767-E S. Lake Dr. 803-808-0488

LEXINGTON, SC 105 Northpoint Dr. 803-356-6244

Can not be used with any other specials. House rules apply. Expires May 15, 2015.



CAYCE, SC 2423 Fish Hatchery Rd. 803-926-9622

The Best Wings & Ribs In Columbia

$5.00 Off on all orders of $25.00 or more. Dine In or Take Out

Spurs & Feathers • 5

April 22, 2015

‘GameCops for Sophie’ help out at Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull by collyn taylor Reporter

of 10 or 12 would raise money for a child battling children’s cancer and all of the teams convened on Saturday, April 18, at When the University of South Carolina the Columbia Fire Department station. Police Department lined up at the rope, The USCPD team, or “GameCops for they were stared down by a 35,000-pound Sophie,” pulled the firetruck down the firetruck. As they tried to pull, there were street in a blazing 27 seconds which was signs of struggle, but they didn’t comone of the top-five fastest times of the pare to what Sophie Chasteen has gone day. Even though they didn’t win the through. truck pull, they still were able to raise Sophie is a child with Langerhans cell money for a child battling a disease. histiocytosis (LCH), a rare disease that “It’s awesome. To see her face light up, behaves like a cancer. According to the it’s incredible,” USCPD Lieutenant Teena National Cancer Institute, it is a cancer Gooding said. that affects the cells fighting disease in When asked about how it was to see all the body and is most prevalent in young of the police department pulling a truck children. and raising money for her, a giant grin Her father, Scott Chasteen, said five broke out on Sophie’s face as she said, in one million children have the disease “cool!” and with any cancer treatment it can cost Sophie is currently in remission with no heavy sums of money. traces of disease in her body. Her father But that’s when USCPD stepped in. said he is thankful the South Carolina They jumped at the bit to help Sophie, community wanted to help out in the way raising money for this year’s annual Cur- they did. ing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull. Teams “I don’t know how to describe it. We’re

great thing because it helps families like Sophie’s with medical bills. “It’s great, especially for the hospital,” Scott said. “There’s so little donated for kids’ cancer that it’s really exciting. This is the first time we’ve been here to see it and it’s really exciting to see it.” This is the second straight year the USCPD has participated and they will be doing it again next year, Gooding said, because they love working with organizations helping out with cancer treatment. The USCPD also does work with Camp Kemo, a program supporting children with cancer. It’s something Gooding said photo by collyn taylor the team loves to do, which is evident as they were able to corral a team of 10 on really thankful for what everybody’s done the weekend to come out and haul a fireand that they’ve put a team together for truck down the street for a young child her,” Sophie’s father Scott Chasteen said. with cancer. “It’s a great family,” Gooding said. “The The annual event is in its second year University community is awesome.” and it has grown between the first and To learn more about Curing Kids Cansecond years. Last year, the event boasted 22 teams but had roughly 28 teams com- cer, please visit pete this year. Scott said the event is a

Are you looking for a be�er Tailga�ng Experience?

You have found it! Brand new for the 2015 Football Season!

Carolina Gameday Park TAILGATING AND EVENT CENTER 807 Bluff Road, Columbia, SC Call 803-622-9389 or 803-920–1661

Welcome to the newest Gamecock Tailga�ng Park for the 2015 season, the Carolina Gameday Park Tailga�ng and Event Center! Carolina Gameday Park offers more than just a parking spot. We offer a tailga�ng experience like no other! Carolina Gameday Park boasts a 9,000 sq. foot, heated and cooled Private Club House with tables and chairs, kitchene�e, and new bathrooms. We have 3 levels of tailga�ng experiences for you to choose from. Premium sites include power and cable TV hookups and private bathrooms. Choice Sites are situated for ease and convenience and also have access to the private bathrooms. Standard Sites come with full access to the Club House as well. The front lot on Bluff Road has 40 Premium Sites and 21 Choice Sites, and there are over 50 Standard Sites around the park as well.

Visit our website at


6 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Black takes thrilling 14-13 comefrom-behind win in spring game by collyn taylor Reporter

For a shining two hours, football was back at Williams-Brice on Saturday, April 11, as the Black team came from behind to win the annual Garnet and Black Spring game, 14-13, in dramatic fashion. The Garnet team jumped out to a quick lead behind a Connor Mitch touchdown pass to Grammy-award winner and celebrity receiver Darius Rucker to take a 7-0 lead. “Yesterday, coach Spurrier told me I was throwing to Kenny Chesney. When they called the play I’m looking over for Kenny Chesney. I guess they kind of switched it,” Mitch said. Michael Scarnecchia and the Black team would respond late in the first quarter. They drove 70 yards in five minutes and tied the game on a Scarnecchia two-yard touchdown run. Elliott Fry would tack on two field goals for the Garnet team before halftime to give them a 13-7 lead at the break. They would lead until the final 30 seconds of the half, but not for the Black team’s lack of trying. Led by Perry Orth, the Black team drove the ball into the redzone twice but was unable to come away with any points. Orth drove the team down at the end of the first half before turning the ball over on downs and on the second trip to the redzone spur linebacker Jasper Sasser intercepted him. Sasser had two interceptions on the day, both coming off Orth. Co-Defensive Coordinator Jon Hoke said Sasser has had a good spring and leads the team in takeaways in practice, saying he’s really excited in the improvement he’s seen. Even though they turned the ball over twice, the Black team was still in the game. Down six with 4:22 to play, Scarnecchia led an eight-play, 95-yard drive to win the game. On the drive, he completed all five of his passes, including a 33-yard pass to Deebo Samuel and the game-winning pass to Terry Googer. “It was fun and exciting, especially for the team,” Scarnecchia said. “I enjoyed it because it showed the two-minute offense and we didn’t work on it that much. It was good to get the ball out and throw it.” All three quarterbacks had virtually

photo by allen sharpe

equal reps. Mitch completed nine of his 15 passes for 161 yards (excluding the Rucker touchdown), while Orth threw 19 times for 137 yards. Scarnecchia went 12-for-19 for 191 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice while Orth was sacked once. Equal reps is something these quarterbacks have gotten used to this spring, not knowing who will be the starter come the opening game. All three said they felt like they were on level playing with no one guy having an edge. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said it wasn’t a stunning offensive performance, but all three candidates did things well on the field. He said he hasn’t named

a starter and won’t until the start of the season, saying he’s going to play the quarterbacks who are playing well. One player that did separate himself, though, is Samuel. The redshirt freshman left defenders in his dust all game, catching three passes for 94 yards. He said after the game he wanted to stake claim to the second starter spot behind Pharoh Cooper. Defensively, the pass rush from the defensive line was impressive; they were always in the backfield forcing the quarterbacks to make quick decisions with the ball. Defensive end Marquavius Lewis said pass rush and tackling are two things Hoke preaches everyday in practice. It showed as the defense collectively reg-

istered three tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries. “They did a good job of rushing the passer when they had the opportunities,” Hoke said. “They still have a long ways to go, and they know that. We’ll continue to see how well we can rush the passer with our front four.” With the conclusion of the Spring Game, spring practice this year is now over. The team starts summer conditioning and workouts after the semester ends April 27, but for now, they can focus on the academic part of being a student-athlete. “We’re ready to get in for the summer, ready to finish out the semester academically as strong as we can,” Spurrier said.

Spurs & Feathers • 7

April 22, 2015

t t e k Tic





S110 S304 S408 S510 S602 S607 S609 S612

$149,000 $279,000 SOLD! $124,900 $179,000 $145,000 $129,900 SOLD!

1 Bedroom Model 3 Bedroom 1 Bedroom 1 Bedroom **Last 2 Bedroom** 1 Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom

John Creech: 803-608-0920 Owner may change product offerings or pricing at anytime. All information is deemed reliable but is not warranted or guaranteed. Equal Housing Opportunity.


9 SOLD IN LAST 9 MONTHS! AS34-1309843

8 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Welch ‘blessed and very thankful’ to be drafted by Brian hand Executive Editor

photo by jenny dilworth

come in with the mindset of worrying about page. Draft night is over and it’s time to get when I was going to get my name called. I yourself mentally ready because training knew I was going to get my name called. camp is not easy and we’re stepping into When that happened, I had put my mindset to getting to work and to do what I needed to do to be successful. The waiting didn’t bother me. I was still at my table having a good time.” Always one to stay in the moment as her mentor Staley likes to say, Welch is going to take in the moment of being drafted, but she knows quickly that she will have to turn her full attention to getting ready for professional basketball. “Now we’re going to work again. This has been fun, but now is when you turn the


When the moment finally arrived it was special for the mentor and the student. With the relationship that South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley and now former forward Aleighsa Welch have you would not expect anything different. “She was right up there. When I took my picture with my jersey (after being drafted) she was right there behind the camera taking a picture too. What more can I ask for?,” Welch said less than an hour after being drafted by the Chicago Sky with the 22nd pick (second round) of the WNBA Draft. Welch was keenly aware that without the efforts of Staley and the other members of the South Carolina coaching staff, she might not even be talking about All Gamecock basketball being drafted coverage sponsored by into the WNYesterdays BA. “I owe coach Staley the world. I really feel like that. I know she’ll say ‘well, you put in the work,’ (but) she gave me the opportunity and for her to give me the opportunity and kind of see the opportunity prevail and send me off meant the world to me,” Welch said. Welch was one of only 12 players invited to the 2015 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm and Staley joined Welch’s family at a table at the event held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. “I couldn’t have asked for it any other way,” Welch said of her table at the WNBA Draft. “The same people who recruited me and the same people who got me to buy into a program were the same people that sent me off per se. It’s kind of like watching a flower blossom and then finding it’s floating away.” Most believed - including Welch - that she would go much earlier in the draft, but just being drafted was the actualization of a longtime goal and Welch was not going to take that for granted. “Honestly to finally be in a position to be drafted into the WNBA, who am I to complain at this point? I’m blessed. I definitely am blessed and I’m very thankful,” Welch said. “Waiting is what you make it. I said that earlier. If you make it a negative, it’s going to be a negative. If you make it a positive, it’s going to be a positive. And I didn’t

a new situation, but I’m ready. I love challenges. I embrace them and I’m ready for a new one,” Welch concluded.

April 22, 2015

Spurs & Feathers • 9


10 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

What does ‘do your job’ really mean? In any good organization roles and communication are clearly defined. “Do your job” is the buzzword you hear thrown around on movies and sound bites from famous locker room speeches, but what does that mean? On the football field it’s paramount everyone does their particular job. We can’t have the center trying to play free safety; just wont work. You need every person focused on their singular duty to make sure that the Langston Moore machine runs Contributing well. Writer With Darius Rucker’s TD catch in the first quarter of the spring game signaling the end of that planting season, players and coaches get a little time off before the next season (summer workouts). The Phrase “do your job” sounds cliche, but it’s the simplest reminders that even though those that make up the program might be scattered for the next couple of months, it’s still vitally important that everyone takes care of their responsibilities. Darius showed us that the fans are always ready to come off the bench and lend their support (even if they have to be called off tour and thrown into game action). But those who become champions are singularly focused on the end result, exchanging a day out of their lives to be fulfilled by winning later. “Coaches coach...” This is one of the times of the year that big time coaches across the land earn those big checks. With the arrival of spring time coaches are getting there yelling voices in condition for the fall going through those 15 practices. The coaches get to really make an impact on the players and reverse identities on the team. Say your team was not so good on the defensive side of the ball last year (wink wink), spring affords the time for coaches to dissect and fix problems old and new before the speed of the in-season catches hold. Assistant coaches are allowed to insert players into new positions, teach and implement new techniques to help improve the team. Creating new mindsets and instilling confidence into the young players with every rep. As we mentioned in previous articles this also allows for bonds

a defensive end, it means being accountable to your program. Every decision you make has to have “winning” as the highest priority. Every meal you eat, every hour spent or not spent getting better or working towards being your very best matters. As the official “ghost of Christmas past,” a guy who just concluded playing not so long ago, time is ticking down for everyone. Satisfaction comes in giving full honest effort even when no ones around to take notice. Besides no one wants to be the guy at the next decade reunion feeling like he left some plays on the field. MAX OUT NOW... “Coaches coach, players play, administrators administer” This old adage sounds like a way to make sure certain powers that be stay in their respective places. At South Carolina former coach turned AD Ray Tanner has transitioned his role from “coach Tanner” to becoming the architect for this new era at USC. Taking over and adding a new perspective as a former premier coach in the SEC, he’s able to address needs and issues that could be overlooked from academic higher ups. The main force behind “Carolina Promise” and advocating for players to receive some sort of compensation shows that AD Tanner understands the needs for today’s college athletes and that the old “norm” is changing. I cant tell you how this has an impact on current players and incoming players, that the “powers that be” are making strides to make USC the absolute best it can be, eliminating all excuse for players and coaches so they can be at their best!

“But what about the fans?” Fans create the environment and landscape with their passion and dedication. Darius Rucker’s tweet after a heartbreaking loss for Dawn Staley’s team echoed the same sentiment all of Gamecock Nation feels: “FOREVER TO THEE.” You, me, photo by allen sharpe we: fans are that one group that never takes Connor Mitch and Darius Rucker after Rucker’s touchdown catch in the Spring Game. days off, supporting the garnet and black 365 days a year. Moving from sport-tobetween coach and player to be strengthpop the smoke and “2001” plays, the fans sport lending there cheers and supports for ened, creating more togetherness, another screaming makes you feel invincible during the Gamecocks no matter what the sport or pillar in the construction of a championship these moments. You would do just about the opponent. team. All-in-all good things that add toanything to feel that elation every second We all become apart of the “fan base” ward the end goal: WINS. of every day, but this “thought” is what will at some point whether you’re a incoming have to carry a player through for the next prospect, current grad student, former “Commitment means staying loyal to 4 ½ months. When it’s 90 degrees at 6 a.m. Coach turned AD, we all will fall into this what you said you were going to do, long and Joe Connolly wants another set of gas- category. Salute to the fans for “DOING after the mood you said it in has left you.” sers. Or you have to take a full load during YOUR JOB,” just like the players, coaches Everyone is committed to giving their summer 1&2 to get back on track because and administrators we all are inspired to best when it’s game time. When your uniyou loafed last fall and spring in the class become our best individually so collectiveform is still in pristine condition and your room. “Doing your job” means more than ly we can show the world every chance we sweat bands are just right. BOOM they just making sure you protect your gap as get “how great it is to be a Gamecock!”....

Spurs & Feathers • 11

April 22, 2015

Your Trail and Travel Specialists! • Friendly, knowledgeable staff • Rain gear from the North Face and Patagonia • Comfortable Footwear for Trail or Travel

• Lightweight Duffles and packs for carry on • Eagle Creek Travel Accessories • Quick dry, sun protection clothing • Tilley Hats and more

803.799.7571 In the Vista — One block up from Publix AS34-1309802

12 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Holbrook and Gamecocks win anyway once again

by brian hand Executive Editor

work for a great University, great people, (South Carolina Athletics Director) Ray Tanner, (South Carolina Athletics Chief Operating Officer, South Carolina baseball head coach Chad baseball sport administrator) Kevin O’Connell, Holbrook is used to winning. He’s a winner and (University of South Carolina) President Paswhen the Gamecocks lose it’s tough on him. tides, they are the best. I get to wrap myself The Gamecocks entered their three-game around my players and my coaches and when I SEC series with Vanderbilt this past weekend go home, I wrap myself around my family.” having not won a lot lately, but they knew a Holbrook is alluding to when his life changed series win over the fourth-ranked Commodores forever on Sept. 7, 2004, when they were told could change things around in the season and that their then 2-year-old son, Reece, had canget things going back in the direction Gamecer. Three years and two months later, Reece, cock baseball is accustomed. who is now almost a teenager, finished his canThat is exactly what happened as the Gamecer treatments and was considered in remission. cocks bounced back from a demoralizing 12-0 South Carolina as a team is now 25-16 (8-10 game one loss to Vanderbilt to pick up two SEC) on the season after the series win over straight wins (5-2 and 3-2) and secure a series Vanderbilt. victory over the defending national champions. “It’s no fun to lose, but what’s happened in After the series-clinching win on Saturday, my life, it’s enabled me to keep these kinds of April 18, Holbrook was obviously happy about things in perspective and I’ve realized that my the Gamecocks win, but he players have feelings too,” wanted everybody to know Holbrook said. “They hear a things could be tougher. lot and I’ve got to try and make “I’m an awfully lucky guy sure I keep everything in the and people say ‘is this the walls of this locker room and hardest thing you’ve ever been this stadium and stay focused through?’ I had to tell my on what we can control and do All Gamecock baseball 2-year-old kid he had cancer. the best that we can do. coverage sponsored by This is a piece of cake and I “And that’s been my message DiPrato’s mean that,” Holbrook said. “I to them, but hopefully 10-15

“It was real critical for our confidence and these two wins show that if we all come together and we all play together, we can be a really good team,” Schrock stated. Holbrook knows there is still a great deal of baseball left in the 2015 Gamecock regularseason, but he thinks things may be trending upwards for South Carolina. “I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. We have some issues. We have some things we’ve got to try and shore up and continue to improve upon and we’re certainly not a perfect baseball team by any stretch, but they gave me all they had the last 18 innings. If we can do that our last photo by allen sharpe 16 games, I’ll be a proud coach and I think we’ll be sitting in a great spot,” Holbrook said. Despite his own son “kicking cancer’s butt,” years from now, I’ll look back on this year Holbrook, his wife, Jennifer and their two sons, and this stretch and say this is where I became maybe a better coach. And I believe that. Coach Reece and Cooper, through their Win Anyway Foundation and Reece Holbrook Golf Classic Tanner told me that and that’s what I believe. You learn a lot about a leader, a coach or a team and Sports Auction have continued to raise or some players when things aren’t necessarily money and awareness towards the fight of findgoing so well and you’ve got to strap it back on ing the cure for pediatric cancer as well as other forms of terminal illnesses. and pull yourself together and get it going and To learn more about Holbrook’s Win Anyway play the right way and try to pull yourself up Foundation, please visit http://www.winanyoff the mat. I hope this is an indication that we You can also like the founhave,” Holbrook continued. dation on Facebook at Win Anyway FoundaSouth Carolina junior second baseman Max tion. The foundation can also be followed on Schrock agreed with his head coach after the Twitter @Win_ Anyway. big Gamecock series win over Vanderbilt.


Spurs & Feathers • 13

April 22, 2015

photo by allen sharpe

Pictured with head coach Bill McDonald (left), congratulations to South Carolina’s Matt NeSmith of the men’s golf team on claiming individual medalist honors at the SEC Championship (14-under). It’s the second straight individual win for NeSmith. His win helped the Gamecocks to a second-place finish as a team (10-under to tie with Vanderbilt; LSU won title at 13-under).


Locally Owned, Operated and Manufactured |

/TailgateTVStand AS14-1308530

14 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Wearing sneakers and a suit, Martin continues his fight against cancer by brian hand Executive Editor

When you are as recognizable as South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin things stick out. So when Frank Martin was walking into the South Carolina State House wearing a suit and Under Armour sneakers it’s safe to assume people were wondering why. And that’s exactly what Martin wanted. Martin along with his wife, Anya, was at the South Carolina State House the morning of Wednesday, April 15, as part of the “Suits and Sneakers” event. The “Suits and Sneakers” event is part of Martin’s support of “Coaches vs. Cancer” and just overall support of cancer survivors, patients and caregivers. The “Suits and Sneakers” event was also held to honor those who have lost their battle with the disease. This year alone in South Carolina an estimated 25,550 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 10,130 are expected to die from The “Suits and Sneakers” event in the rothe disease according to the American Cantunda of the South Carolina State House was cer Society Cancer Action Network. just another example of Martin’s drive to This cause hits home fro Frank Martin as eradicate this terrible disease. his mother-in-law and Anya’s mother, Valerie One of the individuals there in support of Forrest, was diagnosed with breast cancer a Martin and “Coaches vs. Cancer” was South few years ago. Carolina state senator Nikki Setzler, who is a Martin, who along with Anya was also graduate of the University of South Carolina recognized by the South Carolina House of and a 46-year member of the Gamecock Club. Representatives on Wednesday, April 15, was Setzler, who has been representing the 26th already working with “Coaches vs. Cancer” district of the state of South Carolina since before the disease struck his family. 1976, is no stranger to cancer as well as it also “I always respected (former Missouri head hits home for him. coach) Norm Stewart, who was the originator “In March of 2011, I was diagnosed with of ‘Coaches vs. Cancer,’ and when I got hired prostate cancer and had robotic surgery, so at Kansas State, I had the pleasure of meeting I know what it’s like when you receive that coach Stewart. His presence in the midwest call and they tell you that you have cancer. is powerful. NABC headquarters in Kansas It changes your life instantly, not only emoCity is part of the fabric of Kansas State and tionally, mentally, spiritually and physically, the surrounding universities. Because of all but with God’s grace and the help of a lot of those things I got actively involved in ‘Coach- people you make it through it and I want the es vs. Cancer’ and the more I learned, the opportunity to help other people and I spend more I wanted to do. And then once cancer a great deal of time doing that,” Setzler said. touched my family directly it Setzler is thrilled that Martin made me realize that just writand coaches across the couning a check, just showing up try are working hard to raise isn’t enough. We’ve got to do awareness. more and my wife and I agreed “I think it’s tremendous that to do our part and hopefully not only coach Martin, but continue to educate folks to coaches across America take do a little bit more whether it’s the time to come out and do through efforts, time, knowlthis and raise awareness and All Gamecock basketball help raise money for cancer edge, resources, whatever, so we can all do a little bit more to coverage sponsored by prevention, for cancer educaYesterdays defeat this disease.” tion. I think it’s incredible. I

photo by brian hand

think they are to be applauded for that and I think that it shows that they’re not only interested in what their teams do on the field or on the court, but it shows what they care about is real people and real life and helping people,” Setzler said. Martin was in awe of the support he had on the day from state senators and representatives. “It’s unbelievable,” Martin said. “To have our representatives, senator Setzler stand up and be willing to stand up for this cause, for the mission we’re trying to do here in this community speaks the world of them. That’s my mission and their mission is to create more knowledge and more awareness so maybe we can add another person or two and then our numbers become stronger, meaning the message becomes louder and more powerful.” Frank and Anya Martin currently are preparing to host “The Third Annual B-Ball of the South,” the couple’s “Coaches vs. Cancer” benefit, on Friday, May 1, at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia. Proceeds from the event will go to “Coaches vs. Cancer,” a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Several celebrity coaches and basketball personalities are slated to attend to support the cause. In its first two years, “The B-Ball of the South” has raised a combined $269,470 to benefit the “Coaches vs. Cancer” initiative. The event will be styled after the Kentucky

Oaks in 2015 and will feature the Oaks race on the video board at the arena during the event. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the night will feature a live auction, heavy hors-d’oeuvres and dancing. Reservations are limited with individual tickets costing $125 and sponsored tables starting at $2,500 (seats 10 and includes entry to the 6:30 p.m. VIP reception). Already scheduled to attend this year’s “BBall of the South” are Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith, Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli and Stephen F. Austin head coach Brad Underwood. More are expected and Martin said ESPN college basketball personalities are also expected to attend the special event. Frank and Anya Martin don’t necessarily have expectations for how much money they plan to raise. They just want to continue to help the cause. “My wife and I, we kind of approach it the same way I approach our team. I don’t want to set a goal of ‘x’ number of dollars because if you fall short then you’re disappointed. There’s no winning and losing when you do something like that. Whatever you raise it’s money that’s helping. We just want to make it a great time, great event and hopefully keep growing it every year,” Martin said. For tickets to the “The Third Annual B-Ball of the South” or additional information on available sponsorship levels, please contact Lauren Shields at or 770-595-5663 with the American Cancer Society.

Spurs & Feathers • 15

April 22, 2015

Gamecocks have talent to be competitive at every position

I would not dare to offer an analysis of South in the starting lineup in the season opener Carolina’s recently completed spring football after his second knee surgery? Will Brandon practice because it was the most guarded of Shell recover fully from his shoulder surgery the Steve Spurrier era. Fans and the media and have a solid fall camp after missing the were only allowed to watch practice on Tues- spring? Can Mason Zandi, who had an opdays when the players were in shells (helmets, portunity to be the starting left tackle in the shoulder pads and shorts), and spring, make up the reps he the two scrimmages before the missed this spring with a hamSpring Game were closed (the string injury in fall camp? second scrimmage was open just If the answer to those questo the media). tions is “yes” then I think the The game itself was the usual OL will have the numbers to vanilla, no blitzing from the debe a solid group. It’s not just fense, very limited participation about having a starting five, it’s from the starters, affair. I will, about having enough players however, offer a few observato compete against each other tions. in practice. A freshman or two First, the offense. I think the might have to figure in the mix Glenn Snyder starting quarterback job is Conto make that happen. Inside nor Mitch’s to lose. He had a solid Let me say up front that I’m Look spring, for the most part made convinced the defense will be, good decisions, and maybe for not one, but two notches better the first time, seemed comfortable running the than last season’s unit. I say that for a couple offense. He was 10-of-16 passing for 183 yards of reasons. First, I think the infusion of talent and one TD, with no picks. I believe if he takes at some very key positions will immediately a Connor Shaw-type approach to the summer make the unit better. Secondly, the addition workouts, that Mitch is more than capable of of Jon Hoke as co-coordinator has sparked a directing the Gamecock offense this fall. higher level of enthusiasm from the players. With Brandon Wilds, David Williams and Two things that caught my eye in the Shon Carson, running back will be a solid Spring Game were alignments that looked position. I believe that if Wilds can stay like the players had X’s to mark their spots healthy, he is certainly capable of having a and better tackling because the players were monster senior season. Williams has the size in better position to make tackles. On a and power to run inside, but if he gets a step couple of occasions I saw that 11 were within he has the speed to take it to the house. Car- five yards of the ball, which indicates to me son, who spent most of the spring at receiver, that Coach Hoke has made his point about can run inside and outside and has big-play everyone running to the ball. ability. There were two players on the defensive Certainly All-American candidate Pharoh front that stuck out to me in the Spring Cooper, will reprise his role as the go-to Game. End, Darius English, who is listed receiver, but Shamier Jeffery had a more third on the depth chart behind Marquavius focused spring, and although he dropped a Lewis and David Johnson, had four unascouple in the Spring Game, Deebo Samuel sisted tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss impressed the coaches with his route runand a pass breakup. He looks ready to be that ning and ability to catch the football. Shaq third-and-long situational guy. Davidson and Terry Googer showed signs of The other was Kelsey Griffin, also listed becoming contributors. third on the depth chart at tackle. Playing for If they can get the ball to him, Jerell Adboth the Garnet and Black he had six total ams is poised to have a record-setting senior tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. season at tight end. Redshirt freshman K.C. At linebacker, Jonathan Walton is really Crosby had three receptions for 70 yards in taking to the 4-3 alignment and weakside the Spring Game, to stake a claim to the sec- linebacker spot. With Bryson Allen-Wilond TE spot. liams and Skai Moore and Spurs Jordan My concern, as I expressed in my last Diggs and Larenz Bryant, I believe this column, is for the health of the offensive group will be the belles of the ball like they line. Will fifth-year senior Mike Matulis be were two seasons ago.

photo by allen sharpe

The real star of the game in the secondary was Al Harris, Jr. He was all over the field, had four total tackles, and really displayed his coverage skills with two pass breakups. Chris Lammons looked very comfortable at the other corner, had three tackles and displayed good coverage skills. I believe Chaz Elder at free safety and T.J. Gurley at strong will turn out to be good moves for the secondary. In fact the entire secondary is already showing great improvement under Coach Hoke’s tutelage and in his system.

What I came away from the game with is a belief that the Gamecocks have enough talent to be competitive at every position, but there are a number of players who need to turn their talent into performance on the field. I believe the Gamecocks chances for success will be determined this summer. If this team can identify its leaders, who will in turn push everyone to their limit, then they will have a chance to return to the form of the three 11-2 seasons. That’s my hope. It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

and a trip to the Final Four!

Now available! Order your framed print today!

Vista Art

1752 Airport Blvd • Cayce, SC 29033 • 803-794-7252 •


18 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Looking ahead to the 2015 season

Last month, I spoke about how the Gamecock fan base should sit back and enjoy spring practice, maybe not analyze each practice or scrutinize each box score following a scrimmage. With the 14 practices and one spring game in the books, now is the time to start looking ahead to 2015 and see what the GameBill Gunter cocks are likely Contributing to be working Writer with.   I say likely, only because there are players still waiting to arrive on campus this June that could play significant snaps and make solid contributions for the team in the year to come.  Allow me to take the opportunity to mention five players likely to make the biggest impact from those that did not participate in spring practice and will enroll this summer. 

Isaiah Johnson

The poor play of the safety position may have gotten lost year given the glaring struggles of the defensive line. However there were several times that safeties struggled to make plays on long passes down the field. Maybe the most glaring of those plays came against Missouri when Maty Mauk was able to loft a deep pass down the Tigers sideline that was hauled in for a 41-yard reception and led to a Tigers touchdown.   Johnson committed to the Gamecocks during the spring game on April 14th and should give the team an instant impact player that brings size and athletic. The  6-foot-2, 210-pound North Carolina native enrolled at Kansas for the 2013 season after a season in the junior college ranks and finished being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. His two year total for the Jayhawks was 148 tackles and six interceptions was a bright spot for the team despite their abysmal record.   New defensive coordinator Jon Hoke spent most of the past spring practice working with returners T.J. Gurley, Chaz Elder, Chris Moody and D.J. Smith as well as former Spur linebacker Jordan Diggs who made a position. However with Johnson joining the fold, the pressure should be

Octavis Johnson

photo by allen sharpe

less on those guys to improve from their poor performance of 2014.

giving opposing quarterbacks more to worry about.  

Many Gamecock fans may not be familiar with Johnson right now but he could end up being a player that causes the most fan fare when the season is over. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect from the state of Georgia is capable of playing multiple positions although in a interview following the spring game, he mentioned the coaches would like to start him out at cornerback.  If this situation sounds similar it is because current star Pharoh Cooper’s career has played out in almost the same fashion. Like Cooper, most recruiting analyst have labeled Johnson as “just a football player,” which means he can excel at almost every position he is put out. When Cooper arrived on campus, he was slated to play cornerback however after Steve Spurrier observed him with the ball in his hands, he quickly moved him over to the offensive side.  In his senior season of high school football, Johnson played quarterback in a run oriented offense and carried the majority of the load. With the Gamecocks always searching for playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, it would not be a major surprise for Spurrier to try him on offense early in fall camp to see how he performs.

Dante Sawyer

Jalen Christian

Christian Pellage

The hopeful defensive line bookend to Marquavius Lewis should arrive in June thanks to the smart recruiting of G.A. Mangus. Sawyer was a pivotal member of the 2014 recruiting class but upon realizing he would not be able to qualify academically, Mangus worked to get Sawyer into junior college early. The end result is that the 6-foot-3, 270 pound defensive end getting to Columbia a year head of time and providing another defensive line prospect that should give an instant boost to the position.  During his high school recruitment, Sawyer had offers from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU among others. He will be expected to team with fellow junior college transfer Lewis to instantly upgrade the Gamecocks’ defensive line. Last season at East Mississippi Community College, Sawyer finished with 21 tackles and 6.5 sacks while working on his technique and improving his conditioning.  Should Sawyer arrive and provide the anticipated rush end to complement Lewis, the Gamecocks should not have a problem increasing their sack total from 2014 and

During the off-season, the Gamecocks lost potential senior contributors Shaq Roland and K.J. Brent who both decided to transfer, along with the graduation of Rory Anderson. South Carolina exited spring practice having a few different wide receivers show they are capable of teaming with returner Pharoh Cooper to give the team a one-two punch, however the position is still open for grabs. Blessed with Ace Sanders type quickness and a Bruce Ellington type build, the Maryland native could be a guy that finds his way into the rotation and on the field in 2015 and surprises fans with his abilities. After attending the spring game, Christian stated that he felt he could make an early impact on the team with speed and quickness provided he puts in the proper work when he arrives in June.  While there are other talented wide receivers that are looking to make a name for themselves such as Deebo Samuel, Shaq Davidson, Terry Googer and Shamier Jeffrey, the 5-foot-10, 170 pound Christian will certainly be a name to watch during fall camp.

The incoming offensive tackle is the least likely of the group to make an impact on the 2015 season however that is based upon the recovery of several offensive lineman already on the team. The Gamecocks finished spring practice with just six healthy offensive lineman while potential tackles Brandon Shell, Mike Matulis and Mason Zandi all missed significant time trying to recover from previous injuries. Zandi was the player who needed the spring practice the most given that he was considered the front runner to replace Corey Robinson at left tackle. If he does not impress offensive line coach Shawn Elliott during fall camp, it is possible that the hulking 6-foot-7, 310-pound Pellage gets an opportunity to show Gamecock fans if he can protect the quarterbacks’ blindside.  Elliott has never been above putting true freshman offensive lineman on the field if they show they are physically capable of handling the load and with Pellage slated to enroll during the month of June, he should place himself directly in the middle of a wide open competition to earn a start on the offensive line.

Spurs & Feathers • 19

April 22, 2015

submitted photo

On March 24, 2015, Frank J. Chibbaro of Greenville, S.C. passed away peacefully at the age of 94. Chibbaro is pictured above (left) with former Gamecock men’s basketball head coach Frank McGuire (center) and former Gamecock Club Director Ed Pitts (right). Chibbaro attended South Carolina on a football scholarship and was a member of the 1941 freshman football team and the 1942 varsity team. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from South Carolina in 1949. He was a member of the Gamecock Club for 66 consecutive years and served as President of the Greenville County Gamecock Club for over a decade.


10 OFF %

511 North Lake Dr. Lexington, SC


not to exceed $100

(803) 957-2345 expires 12/31/15

Monday-Friday 7am to 6pm Saturday 7am to 4pm Closed Sunday ����� ����

�������� ���� “The best Pimento Burger in town! It melts in your mouth!” – Ed G S&F 7235 St. Andrews Rd. Columbia, SC 29212

phone 803.781.4002 fax 803.781.4220

Come for the beer, Stay for the food!

Mac Senn Financial Advisor 101 Westpark Blvd. Suite D Columbia, SC 29210 Bus. 803-772-2221

711 E. Main St

Downtown Lexington


The Publick House Restaurant & Pub OPEN for LUNCH 11:00 Mon-Sat 2307 Devine Street 803-256-2625

27 HOLES | 7 DAYS A WEEK STUDENT’S UNIVERSITY RATES TWILIGHT RATES Pine Ridge Township • 222 Clubhouse Drive West Columbia, SC 29172 • 803.755.2000 WWW.CHARWOOD.COM



20 • Spurs & Feathers

Elliott Caldwell: The bodyguard Holbrook – though he hasn’t exactly surElliott Caldwell wasn’t in the Gamecocks’ prised him – with his speed. In addition to Opening Day lineup. Now, it’s hard to imag- his six triples, Caldwell leads the Gameine a lineup without him. cocks with 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts The outfielder from Easley, S.C., has en- (with one of those failed attempts coming on joyed a breakout senior season, trading the a rundown). He’s also flashed his instincts team batting average lead with on several diving plays in the Kyle Martin for most of the last outfield. month. Last week against PresSome players rely on pure, byterian, he clubbed his sixth blazing speed to leg out extra triple of the season, tying a bases. Caldwell may not be school record held by Jake Wilfast, but he’s quick. liams and assistant coach Brian “He knows to pick his spots. Buscher. Caldwell already has He tries to run and steal bases more triples (6) than the entire when we think there’s a breakGamecocks team did a year ago ing ball count, so he can get an (5). off-speed pitch and maybe get Every batting order needs a an extra step,” Holbrook said. bodyguard, a muscular, highHis triples record hasn’t left average hitter who provides him entirely satisfied, though. protection behind a team’s top “Elliott gets to third base, home run threat. Last year it and he’s mad it didn’t go out was Martin, whose .336 average of the park. He’s a big, strong Andy Demetra forced teams to throw honestly kid. It’s kind of an interesting Contributing to catcher Grayson Greiner. dynamic with those triples,” Writer This year, with Martin graduHolbrook joked. ating into one of power threats Caldwell honed his swing in the SEC, someone else has had to step in and from an early age, when his Dad built a batserve as the Gamecocks’ middle-of-the-order ting cage in their backyard in Easley, S.C. bodyguard. He was close friends with former Gamecock The 6’2,” 220-pound Caldwell has filled Joey Pankake growing up – the two played that role seamlessly. summer ball together and slept over at each “He knows how to play the game. He’s an other’s houses. Caldwell’s Mom still recalls experienced guy. I love the way he’s playing. the boys waking her up at one in the mornHe’s played ing, asking if she could take them to Waffle awfully House. When they were nine, Caldwell hard for us and Pankake were playing with a tennis all season ball and broomstick on the Caldwell’s front long,” said lawn when the broomstick slipped out of head coach Caldwell’s hand, shattering their dining Chad Holroom window. All Gamecock baseball brook. More sure-handed swings would follow. coverage sponsored by He’s also Caldwell joined Pankake at USC followDiPrato’s impressed ing a year in which he batted .371 and led

April 22, 2015

photo by allen sharpe

Spartanburg Methodist to the 2013 JUCO World Series. But a “bodyguard” role at USC seemed unlikely last April, when Caldwell’s average dipped to .254 as he battled a stress fracture in his back. His .200 average in SEC play was the lowest among the Gamecocks’ regulars. Caldwell missed the last four weeks of the regular season due to injury, and didn’t

appear in the Columbia Regional. Now, much like his friend Pankake, Caldwell has asserted himself in his final season in Garnet & Black. With the toughest part of the SEC schedule still ahead, he’s ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Spoken like a true bodyguard.

Spurs & Feathers • 21

April 22, 2015

#1 RE/MAX agent

in Columbia Former Gamecock Football Player & Letterman








LAKE MURRAY 4BR, 4BA, TWO HALF BATHS, 7150 SQ. FT. $2,395,000 MLS#366370

ADESSO MLS#363494 2BR, 2BA $369,900 MLS#360517 1BR, 1BA $229,500


ESTATES ON GERVAIS MLS #362952 & MLS #358390 2 BDRMS + LOFT AREA & 2.5 BATHS $439,900 EACH

LAKE MURRAY 5BR, 3.5 BA, 4353 SQ. FT. $774,900 MLS#367914

FOREST ACRES 3BR, 2BA, 1950 SQ. FT $179,600 MLS#349859

(803) 665-1442

AS14-1306245 AS14-1288273

22 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Chief Ward: ‘Everyone loved him because of how he treated people’ by kyle heck Reporter

There are some people who make an impact long after they have left this world. Those that touch countless lives throughout their lifetime and do their best to make the world a better place. Rick “Chief” Ward was one of those people. He excelled as Vice President of the Jim Walter Home Corporation, retiring after 35 years with the company. After that, he was the Public Relations manager and a motivational speaker for Fatz Café of Lexington, where he earned the 2007 Hospitality Association Employee of the Year award for the entire state of South Carolina. Oh yeah, he also loved everything about the South Carolina Gamecocks. One look inside he and his wife’s, Kate, condo in Columbia and you would see Garnet and Black walls, pictures of former players and coaches, autographs, Gamecock clocks, chairs, towels and even a real chicken coop in the living room. With the help of Kent Porth Photography, Jewelry Warehouse and Safran’s Antiques, the Ward’s transformed their home into the ultimate Gamecock mecca. Step outside the back door, and the skyline is dominated by Williams-Brice stadium. Looking at his condo and all of the pictures and memorabilia, it would be easy to call Chief the epitome of a Gamecock fan. But that wouldn’t begin to explain how much he meant to his family and many friends. His influence was felt all over the state, from his everyday customers to Gamecock icons like Steve Spurrier, Marcus Lattimore, Connor Shaw and Ray Tanner. But no matter who you were, everyone got the same first-class treatment from Chief. “He was so positive, always upbeat and always friendly,” said Elona Winn, the site manager at The Gates at Williams-Brice, the condominium where the Wards stay. “If you were having a bad day, he made sure he made your day better. And he loved the Gamecocks.” Even when Chief was diagnosed with cancer, that didn’t stop him from caring for others. When he was in the hospital, despite being tired and worn out from chemotherapy, he did his best to make sure that every visitor to his bedside felt special. While his body weakened, his spirit stayed as strong as ever. Still in the hospital, he had food brought in to feed the 8th floor staff at Lexington Medi-

photo by kyle heck

cal on Christmas Eve. His five grandchildren along with Chief’s supervision made 65 bags of Christmas candy and his grandchildren delivered them to patients on three floors. When he passed away on New Year’s Eve of 2014, more than 500 people came to the viewing services and 300 people were at the funeral. It was an example of the impact that Chief had on everyone he interacted with. Just days before he died, since he was too weak to do so, Chief made sure that his nephew of Tony’s Downtown Restaurant asked him to thank everyone on Facebook for him for the Merry Christmas and get well wishes. Chief also had his own FB page “Chief kicks Cancer a Tour” which had over 600 likes that he really enjoyed reading . “Everybody loved him because of how he treated people,” Kate said. “He treated people with respect. I never heard him say one bad thing about anyone. In the restaurant business, it’s not always about your food, it’s how you’re being treated in the restaurant. And he treated everyone when they came into the

restaurant like they were his best friend.” The family has a memorial fund set up in Chief’s name at Lexington Medical Center with proceeds benefiting the “Losing is not an Option” cancer support group, with whom the Wards are actively involved with. If it is a patient’s last wish to travel somewhere, the cancer group helps to get them to those places as well as helping patients who can’t afford to buy their pills. Kate is also looking to set up a scholarship in her husband’s name as well. This fall, Kate will attempt to do what her husband did every game week. Chief would deliver the game day “Beat” stickers from Jewelry Warehouse all across town to different businesses to be handed out. It was just one of the many things he did around the community. Chief, while going through chemo, also helped coach Clyde Wrenn of South Carolina do charity fundraisers. Perhaps what is written inside the funeral program describes Chief the best. While the focus was on his death, what really mattered

was everything he did for others throughout his lifetime. It didn’t matter what was going on in his life, he did his best to try and better yours. Not even cancer could stop Chief from doing what he loved most – loving others and the Gamecocks. “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend,” the program read. “He referred to the dates on Chief’s tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came the date of Chief’s birth and spoke of the following date with tears. But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that Chief spent alive on Earth and now only those who loved Chief know what that little line is worth. “If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash. This was how Chief lived.”

Spurs & Feathers • 23

April 22, 2015

HBC visits with strong grouping of Gamecocks in Darlington by Collyn Taylor Reporter

When head ball coach Steve Spurrier comes to Darlington County, he usually fills the room. That was the once again the case on Wednesday, April 8, as he spoke to the Darlington County chapter of the Gamecock Club. The Darlington county chapter is one of the more passionate ones, chapter president Jimmy Griffin said, and this year’s banquet featuring the HBC was no different. When he first spoke to this chapter, he was in front of about 800 people. Wednesday was a little more intimate, as he talked in a smaller space in front of a capacity crowd of over 300 people at the Hartsville Country Club. “This gets you really excited and looking forward to football and the other

submitted photo

Pictured (l-r) is Darlington Gamecock Club President Jimmy Griffin, Chaplain John “Bootsie” Griggs and Treasurer Curtis Tyner. sporting events. In this area we are really supportive of all of them ... we have

a whole bunch of Gamecock fans here” Griffin said. “We could have sold a couple more hundred (tickets) easy. We just ran out of space.” Burgers and hot dogs were on the menu for dinner and those in attendance were also able to meet PGA golfer and Darlington native Tommy Gainey. It was an enjoyable evening for all who came out and they were treated to a great dinner and great speakers. Along with Spurrier and Gainey, Cocky came out and took pictures with fans. Griffin said this is an opportunity for the younger and older fans to see Spurrier, which makes it worth it for him. He said he sold one of his first tickets for the event to a young girl who really wanted to get into the event. When she got the ticket, Griffin said it meant the world to him. “People don’t get to see him at other times and it really means a lot to them,”

Griffin said. “It is a good thing and I really appreciate him coming.” The event came 147 days before the Gamecock opener and Spurrier took some time to excite the crowd. Spurrier said he hopes this year that the Gamecocks can return to the level they were at two seasons ago. Spurrier conveyed his enthusiasm for the upcoming season, saying he hopes the team gets back to their winning ways. He cited freshman lineman Marquavius Lewis as a big piece of the puzzle for the team. He then answered questions from fans and one fan said thank you to Spurrier for helping restore their pride to the program. Spurrier closed his speech by thanking the fans, saying they do a good job supporting the program. “The fans have done their part,” the HBC said. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

24 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

Hainley has been a passionate fan of the Gamecocks for over four decades by kyle heck Reporter

submitted photo

to Columbia in 1970 from Virginia. Some neighbors invited them to a Gamecock football game that year and they were imShortly after losing to instate rival mediately hooked. Clemson one year, former South Carolina “We went and loved the atmosphere, got football coach Jim Carlen received a letcaught up in it and we have been there ever ter from an angry fan that was fed up with since,� Hainley said. always losing to the Tigers and other ACC That love grew to other South Carolina rivals. He was impacted by it so much that sports, particularly basketball, since it is he personally called the fan, Mary Hainley, her favorite, and Hainley has continued on the Thursday after the game to see what following her passion over the years. At would make her happy. halftime of the women’s basketball game “Hey lady, what is it going to take to against Mississippi State on Thursday, make you happy, eight or nine wins?� Car- February 26, 2015, Hainley was honored as len remarked over the phone. the Legendary Fan of the Game for her 43 Hainley was stunned to find herself years of dedication to the Gamecock Club speaking with the coach but said she ended and love of all South Carolina sports. up having a nice conversation with Carlen, “It was an honor and it was thrilling to although she said that was the first and last me,� Hainley said of the experience. “They letter she ever wrote to a coach. were so good to me and I couldn’t have That experience is proof that Hainley is a asked for a better evening.� passionate fan of Gamecock athletics and Before moving to Columbia, Hainley has been for over four decades. She and her considered herself a University of Virginia husband, who was a civil engineer, moved fan. However, the Cavaliers have taken a

backseat to the Gamecocks in her mind. Hainley has enjoyed watching all of the athletic programs get better and better over the years. And as a season ticket holder for women’s basketball, she has been particularly impressed with the way coach Dawn Staley has ascended her program to the ranks of the elite. “At the beginning of the year I thought, ‘well, it looks like they’re going to have a good team, but I know we can’t win them all,’� Hainley said. “But we came doggone close to it.� Hainley has been one of the increasing amount of fans that finds time to make it to as many women’s basketball games as they can and that has led to the Gamecocks leading the nation in average attendance. “They are just so good, it’s hard not to go,� Hainley said of Staley’s team. “The whole thing has just been beyond my imagination. It’s just been so exciting to see the arena as full as it has been for women’s basketball.�


 Â  Â  Â?   Â?          


CAROLINA WALK PARK SPACE FOR SALE Enjoy tailgating in a private-gated facility. Space 181 • 927 S. Stadium Road

$12,000 AMENITIES INCLUDE: Restrooms • Electric/TV/Cable Hook Up • 10 Guest Passes • Security And Much More Call Judy 803-540-1974 or email


Spurs & Feathers • 25

April 22, 2015

Upcoming Events: Gamecock Club

Aiken County Gamecock Club Spring Banquet featuring Steve Spurrier

When: Wednesday, April 22nd, 6 p.m. Where: Aiken County Shrine Club Tickets: $15 (includes BBQ dinner) A limited number of tickets are still available. To purchase tickets, please contact Chris Fulmer (803-649-5974), Frank Davis (803-275-7056) or Allstate Tom Young (803-648-2672). No tickets will be sold at the door. Beaufort County Gamecock Club Dinner featuring Everette Sands, Running Backs Coach and Assistant Director of the Gamecock Club Jay Brown who will speak about the Gamecock Club and facility projects

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

When: Tuesday, May 12th, 6 p.m. Where: Sanctuary Golf Club, Cat Island, SC Tickets: $20 (dinner is included) To purchase tickets, please contact Linda McCarty: 843-521-1445 or email: Come out and support your South Carolina Gamecocks!

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 Regards, Mike McManus

Let us bring our award winning BBQ to your next event!


Catering & Competition BBQ Cooking Team (803) 270-7050 We W cookk itt ffreshh on site! itt !

Like us on Facebook at


26 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

South Carolina Gamecocks

Recruiting Round-up By Phil Kornblut

South Carolina co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jon Hoke added a new piece to his war chest last Sunday when DB Isaiah Johnson (6-1 210) decided to join the Gamecocks this summer as a transfer from Kansas. Johnson made his official visit to USC over the weekend with his family and decided to make his commitment to the Phil Kornblut Gamecocks and he will Contributing not visit Louisville. Writer Johnson graduates from Kansas May 17th and will immediately eligible at USC as a graduate student. “I had a good feeling I was going to commit before I came there anyway,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to see it just to make sure. I knew I wanted to play there. I could sense it coming off the plane, I just knew it. The fans knew who I was. It was little stuff like that that I felt appreciated like I was at home. Obviously, the fact that it’s only three hours away (from his Cary, NC home) is a big thing. And to spend time with coach Hoke, coach Ward, coach Brown, coach Spurrier and coach Robinson, they all did a great job showing me around and told me how I can fit right in.” Johnson said Hoke told him he could play anywhere from strong safety, free safety or the spur/nickel back position. And he got a little taste of the gameday atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium at last Saturday’s spring game. “Crazy,” he said. “I’ve never experienced something like that. That already has turned my head. I can only imagine how it is on gameday.” Johnson said he has not decided what graduate degree he will seek at USC. He still has to take the graduate school entrance exam and graduate from Kansas next month to complete the final academic requirements for the transfer. Johnson went from high school to Western Carolina in 2011 and sat out that season with a medical redshirt. He transferred to Iowa Western JC and had eight interceptions in helping lead the team to the national championship. He played the last two seasons at Kansas. He started all 24 games at Kansas and was the Big 12 Newcomer of the year in 2013 when he had 73 tackles and five interceptions. Last season he totaled 75 tackles with one interceptions.

DE Javon Kinlaw of Goose Creek had planned to commit to USC during the junior day in late March. His mind was made up. But the Gamecocks were not ready to take a pledge from him, Kinlaw said, because he’s got some academic work to do to be in a position to qualify for a scholarship. That hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for joining the Gamecocks, however. He remains in touch with recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. and talked with him last week. “He just wants to make sure I take care of my academics and stuff like that,” Kinlaw said. “He wanted to make sure I had my academics straight. He told me I would be right where they want me to be. If I get my grades, I will commit to the University of South Carolina. But until then, I don’t know. I’m just working constantly.” Kinlaw admits to falling behind on his grades in early years, but since arriving at Goose Creek he’s turned up his efforts to improve his grades so he can avoid going the prep school or junior college route. “I’ve been getting a lot of help, got a couple of tutors,” Kinlaw said. ‘I struggle with math a lot. But I should be able to get my grades up.” WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (6-2 205) of Suwanee, GA has a portfolio full of offers including USC, Cal, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, Stanford, Miami, Southern Cal and Tennessee. He’s made several visits including Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Southern Cal and plans to see USC, Ohio State, Arizona State and Stanford. And he went to Florida’s spring game last weekend where he watched his brother play for the Gators. Amongst all this stiff competition, USC recruiter GA Mangus is trying to position the Gamecocks for a solid shot with Imatorbhebhe. He was able to recruit Imatorbhebhe’s former teammate Dante Sawyer to USC and he’s using all of his recruiting strength in the Suwanee area to remain relevant in this case. “I’m really close with Dante Sawyer,” Imatorbhebhe said. “Coach Mangus was always at the school. Me and coach have a relationship that’s just growing. I really like him a lot.” Besides Sawyer, the Gamecocks have two 2016 commitments working in their favor in quarterback Brandon McIlwain and receiver Kyle Davis, both of whom are friends with Imatorbhebhe. “I’m pretty connected with South Carolina,” he said. “I haven’t been there yet. I hear a lot about them from the people I’m close with.

I would like to have a better feel for them I would say. I want to sit down with them and get a better feel for the offense and what role I would play with them.” Along with USC, Imatorbhebhe said he also hears a lot from Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Stanford, Ohio State and Arizona State. “Those schools have a better shot,” he said without naming any leaders. He’s not sure when he’ll make his decision. Last season Imatorbhebhe caught 59 passes for 1072 yards and 15 touchdowns. OL Will Fries of Cranford, NJ made his first ever visit to the Palmetto State last week and he made the most of it by spending Monday at Clemson and Tuesday at USC. Fries is one of the top linemen in the Northeast with 19 offers. He visited Northwestern before coming south. He has also visited Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Duke and Virginia. From Clemson, Fries and his mom made their way down to Columbia to watch the Gamecocks’ Tuesday practice and to learn more about the school and the program. “It was different from Clemson,” Fries said. “They are both great in different ways. Coach Elliott is really intense and is a great guy to sit down with and talk to as well. The facilities are top notch and the stuff they are building are going to be even better. That should be exciting to see how that turns out. I got the chance to sit down with Coach Spurrier (in his office) and we were just talking football. It was really cool to meet such a legendary coach like that.” Fries said at this point none of the offering schools have separated themselves from the pack. He wants to take some official visits before making his decision though he realizes that timeframe could change as classes begin to fill. DL Rashan Gary of Paramus, NJ is one of the country’s top prospects in the 2016 class with offers from coast to coast. As such, he is trying to visit as many schools as possible and earlier this month he made a run thru USC, Clemson and Georgia. His mother, who has a brother living in Anderson, also was on the trip and was more than just an idle bystander. Jennifer Coney said she had plenty of questions for the coaches and got plenty of insightful information. ‘I was very pleased with both schools and their plan for academic success and the success rate they have academically in reference to getting their athletes degrees,” Mrs. Coney said. “They had a plan for it and time management, and I know for my son particularly that’s going to be a true concern. They had a plan for it. The facilities are abso-

lutely beautiful. The bad part is I came away the same way that I went in because they are both great schools.” Gary also has visited Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Michigan. Later this month he and his mother plan to see Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn. Coney said they arrived early at USC and got the chance to visit with Steve Spurrier and have pictures made with him. ‘He’s a nice guy,” she said. “I met his two sons.” Coney said her son has no favorites right now and wants to take as many visits as possible between now and the start of training camp this summer. He also wants to take all of his official visits but won’t take any during the season unless he has an off week because he wants to concentrate on his football and his academics. Gary is a 3.8 student and will try to hit the 4.0 mark in his senior season. No decision is expected until National Signing Day. Greer DB Troy Pride (6-0 160) visited USC for a spring practice earlier this month. He has been committed to Virginia Tech and said he’s still committed to the Hokies “wholeheartedly, but it was a good visit with USC. Good in state attention. They have great facilities and the coaches are very friendly. Coach Hoke seems awesome.” USC has not yet offered Pride but told him he is under evaluation by the defensive staff. He does have offers from Virginia Tech, Marshall, Mercer and Appalachian State. Pride also has visited North Carolina and will visit Virginia Tech in the future. Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Maryland are other schools he said are showing interest in him. Last season Pride had 35 tackles and 4 interceptions. WR Diondre Overton of Greensboro visited Clemson last week. He also has offers from USC, North Carolina, East Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Boston College. He has Clemson and Tennessee as his top two right now. OL Josh Ball of Fredericksburg, VA visited USC Friday. He’s also been to Duke, NC State, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech. USC last week offered 2018 DB Christian Tutt of Thomson, GA. **Phil Kornblut’s latest “Recruiting Roundup” for Spurs & Feathers. Catch Kornblut every night on SportsTalk and get more of his statewide recruiting news at and on Twitter @SportsTalkSC**

Spurs & Feathers • 27

April 22, 2015

Spurrier speaks to sold out crowd in Sumter Steve Spurrier vividly remembers when he first took the head coaching job at the University of South Carolina coming to Sumter, S.C. to talk to the Gamecocks in the area. “When I was here, I mentioned that a personal goal of mine was being the winningest coach in South Carolina history,” Spurrier, who is currently second among all FBS coaches with 226 wins, said. Entering his 11th season at the helm of the Gamecocks in the 2015 season that goal has already been checked off, but Spurrier brought this up to show how far the program has come in his time in charge. Spurrier (84) currently has 20 more wins than Rex Enright (64) and in the upcoming season Spurrier (129 games coached) will surpass Enright (140) with the most games coached at South Carolina. A lot has been made of South Carolina’s 2014 season, but when speaking at the Sumter County Gamecock Club annual banquet on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at Nettles Auditorium on the campus of USC Sumter, Spurrier wanted everybody to understand that last year should not be considered a terrible season.

“It wasn’t our best year last year, but again I was proud of our players, our coaches for hanging in there,” Spurrier noted of a year in which South Carolina picked up its fourth straight bowl win. “A terrible year is when you go 3-9, 4-8, don’t go to a bowl game, don’t win bowl games. That’s called terrible. We know what terrible is. Sometimes 7-6 is not all that bad. Sometimes you need to celebrate your small achievements in life.” Spurrier knows that any successes the

Director Patrick McFarland was thrilled with the support that Gamecocks in the area showed. “There are over 400 people here, so it’s a really good crowd,” McFarland stated. “They sold out. It’s been awhile since we’ve been here, so it’s a return trip that was way past due. It’s exciting to be back with the Sumter Gamecocks.” Sumter County Gamecock Club chapter president David Stewart was ecstatic that Spurrier had taken the time out of his busy schedule to come to talk to the Gamecocks in Sumter. “We’re extremely happy to have him back in Sumter. We’ve been asking for him and we’re glad to see him. We love him over photo by brian hand here,” Stewart said. Spurrier was not the only Gamecock coachGamecocks have could not happen though ing legend in attendance as former South Carolina baseball head coach and 1960 World without the support of the Gamecock Club. Series MVP as a member of the New York “Thanks for all the donations from everyYankees Bobby Richardson was also in atbody. All of you that are members of the tendance. Gamecock Club we appreciate it and it is a Before Spurrier spoke, Richardson, a Sumteam effort. In college, we’re all on the same team. Together we can get a lot of good stuff ter, S.C. native, took the stage and talked about his time as Gamecock head coach. He done,” Spurrier relayed. Spurrier’s appearance at the annual banquet was joined on stage at one point by former Gamecock assistant and former Liberty head for the Sumter County Gamecock Club was coach Johnny Hunton. a huge hit and Gamecock Club Executive



by brian hand Executive Editor


1421 Atlas Rd. | 776-4466 | | Serving the Midlands for 50 years

28 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

photo by Anthony Hall

South Carolina wins NCEA National Championship south carolina athletics media Relations

program. We’re excited to bring the trophy back to Columbia and share it with all of our Gamecock fans.” WACO, Texas - No. 3 South Carolina upIn the first event of Saturday’s championset No. 1 Georgia, 10-6, to win the National ship, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs won Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) two points apiece in equitation on the flat. National Championship. It marks the Georgia took a 1-0 lead after winning the Gamecocks’ third national title in program first point of the meet, marking the one and history, and South Carolina finishes the only time the Bulldogs held the lead in the 2014-15 season with a 12-5 record. championship. Seniors Adele Norton and The Gamecocks defeated United EquesAmber Henter made the most of their final trian Conference champion Fresno State, competition as Gamecocks, winning backBig 12 Champion Baylor, and SEC Chamto-back points to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. pion Georgia in a span of 36 hours to win Henter knocked off Leylan Gleeson, 177this year’s championship 168, while Norton followed with a 165-134 “What an outstanding day, words don’t win over Liza Finsness. begin to describe how proud I am of this “Splitting the flat was actually a great team,” South Carolina head coach Boo start for us today,” Major said. “After seeMajor said. “I have to give all of the credit ing Georgia in the quarterfinals and semito the girls because they came to Texas finals, we knew they’d be on their A-game, with the goal of winning a national title, so it was important for us to get out of the and they did every single thing they needed flat with two points. I actually thought all to do to make it happen. Hats off to Georof our flat riders rode well enough to win gia on a great season and for their SEC and was pleased with their performance all Championship, I thought they rode well weekend.” all weekend. This is a great moment for In the western arena, the Gamecocks our program, and to send our seniors off and Bulldogs both won two points each in with four championship rings, that’s quite horsemanship as the two teams were deadan accomplishment. I’m very grateful to locked, 4-4, at the halfway point. Junior have the support of Dr. Pastides and coach Abigail Pait opened the horsemanship with Tanner who are tremendous supporters a 146.5-137.5 win over Rachel Kolb to give of our student-athletes and our equestrian Carolina a 3-2 lead. Senior western captain

Sam Chiodo extended the Gamecocks’ lead to 4-2 when she posted an event-high score 150 to knock off Georgia’s Bailey Anderson by 3.5 points in her final competition. The Bulldogs won the final two horsemanship to even the score at four apiece. “Abigail and Sam were fantastic for us,” Major said. “As a whole, our horsemanship riders were great all weekend and that’s a group I think we are especially proud of. Coach Sorrel has mixed up that lineup throughout the season and they’ve continued to get better all season and I think Sam being an experienced leader and team captain helped a lot with that.” South Carolina dominated Georgia in the jumping arena, winning 3-of-4 points to take a 7-5 lead. Samantha Smith won the first jumping point, defeating Kylee Arbuckle, 176-168. Henter followed and in her final ride as a Gamecock, beat Liza Finsness, 172-157 to give South Carolina a 6-4 lead. Georgia won the next point, but redshirt sophomore Sydney Smith knocked off Bulldog rider Meg O’Mara, 147-132, to give the Gamecocks a two point lead heading into the final event of the day. “I thought that set the tone for us, especially in the reining,” Major said. “Our jumping team has been great all season and coach Dobbs has always had those girls ready to ride. I think they knew we’d need

them to be strong all weekend long, and they certainly delivered.” The Gamecocks wasted no time putting Georgia away in the reining, winning the event, 3-1, to knock off the defending SEC and national champion Bulldogs. Georgia won the first point to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to one point, but Carolina went on to win the final three points to secure the championship victory. In her final ride as a Gamecock, senior Layla Choate beat Kyndall Harper, 137.5-135.5. Fellow senior Cody McMillion rode next and in her final ride as a Gamecock, posted the highest reining score in the championship meet, knocking off Lauren Garmon, 138129.5. Holding an 8-6 lead and needing one point or a tie to win the meet, junior Sarah Bouchard dropped Georgia’s Lauren Tieche, 136.5-128, to clinch the championship for South Carolina. “Our reining team has been waiting since last year’s championship for this moment, and they really made it count today,” Major said. “Dr. Pastides and coach Tanner sent us some words of encouragement right as the meet was close, and that definitely gave us a nice confidence boost and fired the girls up. We got to send Layla and Cody out with wins, and for Sarah Bouchard to clinch the meet for us - I think that was a fitting way to win the championship.”

Spurs & Feathers • 29

April 22, 2015

Gamecocks close the year trying to ‘never miss an opportunity to be great’ by collyn taylor Reporter

“Great to be a Gamecock”


photo by allen sharpe

with those guys.” Moody said he’s very excited about where the program is heading and he should be. The Gamecocks had their highest finish at the NCAA meet (19) since 2000 and had six All Americans, the highest number since 1991. They also had 198 personal records set over the course of the season. Next year, he said he wants to see more women, about five to seven, qualify for the NCAA championships as well as have them continue to improve in the SEC. For the men, he wants the men to finish in the top 15 of the nation, both goals that are achievable. “It’s fun to coach a group that sees the same things we see in this program. We have a group of young men and young women that want to be good, they want to be great. That’s an easy group to coach, so it’s fun to come to work every day,” Moody said. “Right now it’s a lot of fun. Right now as long as we’re winning, as long as we’re getting faster and improving, it’s easy to get up and come to work.”

For Sale

TRAVEL WITH CAROLINA FANS... October 24th thru November 3rd Eleven Days, Ten Nights touring the southeast and southwest, visiting the Alamo and Riverwalk in San Antonio, sightseeing in Dallas and Fort Worth via deluxe motorcoach.

$1,800 Each - One Per Room $1,295 Each - Two Per Room $1,085 Each - Three Per Room $975 Each - Four Per Room Only $150 Deposit/Person Included are at 20 plus meals, snacks, soft drinks and much more. Only 16 seats remain available. Call and ask about our one day trips to Charlotte, NC and Athens, GA.

STADIUM PLACE Parking Spaces:

3,6 & 114


Sell one or all. 803-464-5550




P.O. Box 1604 Lexington, SC 29071

803-359-2565 or 803-530-8910 cell


If sport clichés hold true and seasons are a marathon, not a sprint, then the Gamecock swimming and diving team saved all their energy for the last half of the race. The Gamecocks heated at the end of the season with the women’s s team winning their last three meets of the year and the men winning their last two. The strong finish came after a month-long break, which head coach McGee Moody said can be tough on any swimmer. To his team’s credit, he said, they responded the exact right way. “They responded as well as we could have ever expected,” Moody said. “I think it was a very good end to a very good season not only for the he came out a three-time All American. He was athletes, but for the coaches as well.” given the opportunity to go and made the most The women beat top-level teams in Missouri, of it. He was by far the most valuable athlete on Georgia Tech and Notre Dame over the course of our team.” the season, which pleased Moody. The men, he Wich-Glasen also earned All-American honors said, really impressed him with how they closed and he was the first breaststroker in school histoout the season during SEC and NCAA meets. ry to walk away with that hardware. Moody had The men came to their postseason meets and high praise for the freshman, saying earlier in the took away the hardware to prove it. At the SEC season he was going to break plenty of records meet, the Gamecocks had two swimmers, Nils before the end of the season. Wich-Glasen and Meredith Vay and two divers, And break records he did. Patricia Kranz and Lauren Lamendola earn AllHe has broken the school record for the SEC nods. 200-meter breaststroke numerous times, includBoth Wich-Glasen and Vay were named to ing lowering it to 1 minute and 52 seconds at the All-Freshman team along with teammates NCAAs. Moody said Wich-Glasen wants to Akram Mahmoud and Tomas Peribonio. swim for his home country of Germany in the But, SECs weren’t the end of the Gamecocks’ Rio 2016 Olympics and definitely has the skills postseason success; they continued raking in to get there. awards at the national meet. They would go and “He’s going to continue to grow, continue to set numerous personal records en route to finish- break records. Not only do we want to see secing 19th overall. ond-swims at the Olympics, but he wants to win Mahmoud set the school record for the an NCAA title. He’s in a good place right now,” 1,650-meter freestyle and he now holds three he said. “That’s the direction and the goals we’ve school records including the 500 and 1,000-me- had here as a program for a while and we’re startter freestyle. Of the seven Gamecocks who ing to realize these goals now. They’re starting to participated in the NCAA championships, six happen for us, we just have to keep building.” of them went home with All-American honors, Other freshmen Mahmoud and Peribonio including Mahmoud. earned All-American honors. The Gamecocks Senior diver Cole Miller, who participated in totaled three freshmen All-Americans on the the NCAA meet for the first time this year, was men’s side, which Moody said makes him exan All American in every event he participated cited about where the program is heading. in: the 1 and 3-meter diver and the platform dive. And, of the seven Gamecocks who went to the Moody said Miller exemplifies what it means to national meet, six are returning next season. seize opportunities. “It’s a good problem to have. No other team Moody said they are putting a new graphic up in the country has that; that makes me smile,” in the newly-renovated swim Moody said. “I like that a lot belocker room with a picture of cause we have a group of guys Miller and a quote reading, that had a taste of success and “never miss an opportunity to they all came back chomping at be great.” the bit; they all want to be better All Gamecock “That summed up his career next year. They’ve got big goals swimming and diving at the end,” Moody said. “He for themselves and the good coverage sponsored by only made NCAAs one time in news is they have three years his career here and when he did Aquarian pools of Columbia left. It’s going to be a fun ride

30 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015

A season that will be talked about for years to come Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks run to the Final Four and final record of 34-3 is the kind of season that will be talked about for years to come. A program that was an also ran a few short years ago, now has won the SEC regular-season championship two years in a row and this year topped it off with the SEC tournament championship, before making the trip to the semifinals of the national tournament. Not too shabby. However, the best part of all of this may be that this group is no flash in the Ed Girardeau pan, one season Contributing and done kind of Editor thing. There is no reason to believe that next year’s team won’t be just as good if not better. This team does lose Elem Ibiam, Olivia Gaines and Aleighsa Welch as seniors and all three contributed heavily to the success the past couple of years. Ibiam as a starter at center was solid and dependable and gave good minutes in the paint. Gaines will be remembered mostly as a defensive stopper. The big steal against Duke will always be a pleasant memory, but the big three in final minutes against North Carolina will never be forgotten on the offensive end. And Welch, well, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for what Aleighsa brought to this team. She is the leader. Well-spoken and always poised in interviews during and after the games. She is the heart and soul of this team and the fierce competitor that every team in every sport needs. When you needed a rebound you could depend on her. When you needed points, she would come through. Without a doubt she will be the hardest of the players to replace. She reminds me definitely not empty. With Mitchell, Dozier of Bobby Cremins from the 1970 Carolina and Sessions returning as starters and with men’s basketball team. That team finished possibly the best bench in the country return25-3 and though Roche and Owens and Riker ing with Coates, Wilson, Roy and Cuevas, were the stars, Cremins was the heart and among others, the sky is the limit. leader. But the question will be who will take The following year after Welch’s leadership role? There Cremins’ graduation the team are certainly some pretty good did win their one and only candidates with the returnACC championship by beating ing seniors. Tiffany Mitchell North Carolina in the finals is one of the best players in in the tournament, but most the country and the two-time would say though the stars reigning SEC player of the returned, the team missed the year. The team is certainly in leadership of their former capgreat hands when she has the All Gamecock basketball ball. tain and point guard. coverage sponsored by Thus, looking forward to Asia Dozier and Tina Roy Yesterdays next year the cupboard is bring the outside threat of the

photo by jenny dilworth

three and offseason to perfect those skills. Khadijah Sessions brings the energy and improved her outside game as the season went on. She and Cuevas will share the point guard duties. Bianca Cuevas is one of those that you watch and wonder just how good can she become. She will learn from her freshman year and cut down on the turnovers. She has never seen a shot that she didn’t like. You need players in basketball like that. “Forget the last shot, I’ll make this one” is her attitude and that will take someone with her talent a long way. Alaina Coates brings as much talent as anybody in the country. She is a potential firstround pick in the WNBA in a couple of years and I don’t really believe that she realizes just

how good she could be. There are times when she is unstoppable. And A’ja Wilson; I don’t know if there’s anything that I can say that hasn’t already been said, but I look to her to dominate next year and by the time she finishes at USC, be the best player in the country. She is the real deal and everything she was advertised coming out of high school. And she’s got three more years. Top all that off with the best coach in the country with Dawn Staley and the potential is endless. Coach Staley is not shy about her ambition of wanting the national championship. She has gotten a little closer every year she’s been at Carolina. I wouldn’t bet against her getting it done ... soon!

Spurs & Feathers • 31

April 22, 2015

Huge Selection & Low Prices!

Congratulation s to the Lady Ga mecocks for a Spectacula r Run to the Final Fo ur!

2373 Augusta Rd., West Columbia, SC 29169 We are in the Wal-mart Shopping Center on Augusta Rd, West Columbia

(803) 851-1928 AS34-1309596

32 • Spurs & Feathers

April 22, 2015


My Carolina looks good on you

My Carolina Alumni Association is launching a fan shop, the first ever featuring official My Carolina apparel: everything from T-shirts and shorts to vests and jackets. We’ll be making history in just a few months when the Alumni Center officially opens its doors for the first time ever; show your alumni pride by wearing the My Carolina brand. AS34-1308546

Profile for Spurs & Feathers

Spurs & Feathers April 22  

Spurs & Feathers April 22