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Gamecocks flip the script in the 2016 regular-season


2 • Spurs & Feathers

Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.

Contact Us: 326 Rutland Drive N.W. PO Box 456 Aiken, SC, 29801 To subscribe: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Ellen Priest Publisher Aiken Communications, Inc. Brian Hand Executive Editor bhand@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive ed@spursandfeathers.com (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 kboyette@spursandfeathers.com Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 brooks@spursandfeathers.com Reporter Kyle Heck kheck@spursandfeathers.com Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Cover Design Brian Hand (photo by Allen Sharpe) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 20 times annually. The frequency is monthly in January, April and July. The publication is weekly from September-November. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes two slick-paper magazine issues — one in August and one in December. The annual subscription price is $50 for non Gamecock Club members. Members of the Gamecock Club receive a discounted subscription as a member benefit. Spurs & Feathers is published by Aiken Communications, Inc., 326 Rutland Drive NW, Aiken, SC, 29801-4010. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC Postmaster: Send changes to SPURS & FEATHERS, PO Box 456, Aiken, SC, 29802.

May 25, 2016

When to expect Spurs & Feathers in the upcoming year

Thank you so much for your continued support of Spurs & Feathers. Per our contract with the Gamecock Club, below are our edition dates for the 2016 year. Please note the digital magazine delivered via email is an added benefit courtesy of Spurs & Feathers. 2016 Spurs & Feathers schedule June 15 digital magazine (springs sports) July 27 newspaper (SEC

Media Days) Aug. 24 magazine (preseason football) Sept. 7 newspaper Sept. 14 newspaper Sept. 21 newspaper Sept. 28 newspaper Oct. 5 newspaper Oct. 12 newspaper Oct. 19 bye week (no newspaper) Oct. 26 newspaper Nov. 2 newspaper Nov. 9 newspaper Nov. 16 newspaper Nov. 23 newspaper Nov. 30 newspaper Dec. 21 magazine (end of year)

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Spurs & Feathers • 3

May 25, 2016

Gamecock Club makes important changes to governing structure by brian hand Executive Editor

gether in this way is necessary for the future. “With us going to 23, we’re actually going The Gamecock Club has recently made a to have a group that can have good discusvery important change in their governing sions, have some teeth and be able to make structure by going from 81 board members some changes and review our current polito 23. cies, and determine the best way we should “Everybody that has represented the move forward,” McFarland said. Gamecock Club in the past has been very The first meeting of the new Gamecock beneficial, but it’s been difficult to have reClub Judicial District Representatives took ally meaningful conversations in our board place on Friday, May 20, on the 600 level at meetings because of the size,” Gamecock Williams-Brice Stadium. Club executive director Patrick McFarland “At this meeting we looked at our chapters, said. reviewed our budget and put some houseThe change in the governance of the Game- keeping chores in place,” McFarland said. “It cock Club is also moving areas together was an important meeting to get off on the to form now what they will call judicial right foot.” districts. This is very important as well as During the meeting, Kent Eddy was selectit helps the Gamecock Club be further ined as the chair of the Judicial District Reprevolved with making sure they are completely sentatives, while Chris Fulmer was tabbed as NCAA compliant in all areas. the vice chair. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit it is important for With the new judicial districts, there are the Gamecock Club to have a board, and still going to be events in all of the areas the they feel bringing the judicial districts toGamecock Club has visited before, but for

photo by brian hand

example when visiting Spartanburg the event would now be tagged as visiting with the Spartanburg Gamecocks. “Our current chapter presidents are still going to have a major role as an Advisory Committee, and what they’ll be doing is they’ll be making up our standing com-

mittees, which consist of our budget, our president’s committee and our policies and procedures committee,” McFarland said. The next meeting of the Judicial District Representatives will be on Friday, Nov. 18, with the Advisory Committee scheduled to meet on Friday, Nov. 4.

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May 25, 2016

Endowment named in honor of longtime equipment manager Mac Credille by brian hand Executive Editor South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin always says that he loves being around people that care, and there are not too many people (if any) that care more about all things Gamecock than longtime equipment manager Mac Credille. “Mac’s put in over 40 years of service to this school, and he lives and breathes every moment of every game of every sport,” Martin said. “He’s a special person. He’s one of the first people I met when I got hired, and he’s a guy I keep close to me because his work ethic is second-to-none.” That second-to-none work ethic is one of the reasons former Gamecock men’s basketball manager Ron Weir and 13 other former South Carolina men’s basketball managers and student-athletes formed a committee and formulated a plan to develop a fund for men’s basketball managers on top of the existing monies already available for the men’s basketball student manager scholarships. “They have welcomed us with open arms,” Weir told Spurs & Feathers of South Carolina when they originally brought the idea forward. “That welcome came from coach Martin and his staff, and they really showed us that they need the managers for all the things that they do behind the scenes for the basketball program. If you go through college basketball, the coaches, the staff members and the players really appreciate the managers, and if they didn’t you wouldn’t find man-

forts were partially endowed was to name the fund the “Mac Credille Men’s Basketball Manager Scholarship.” “We have coach Martin and (director of men’s basketball operations) Andy Assaley to thank for helping us with that part of it, and (director of athletics development) Elaine Arnold has done a lot and they have been very, very supportive,” Weir said of the “Mac Credille Men’s Basketball Manager Scholarship” being partially endowed. “We’re excited to have that baseline that reached a partial endowment level and we can now build on that.” According to Weir, that a scholarship fund will be named in his honor is truly humbling to Credille, who originally joined the staff at South Carolina in 1973 by working in the equipment issue room at the Physical Education Center. The Columbia native joined the athletics staff in August of 1977, and he has served as the men’s basketball equipment manager since the 1993-94 season. south carolina athletics media relations “I’ll share a little story with you,” Weir said to further explain Credille’s imagers willing to do what they’re doing for pact. “Elaine was meeting with a donor, the program. It is indeed a mutual respect. a former professor, and she was looking In addition to that, coach Martin’s staff to make an additional donation to the has really opened up a lot of opportunities athletics department and just wanted to for us to make this thing successful.” know where funds were needed. When The men’s basketball managers at South she found out that there was an athletic Carolina are able to be successful because scholarship under Mac Credille’s name, of Credille, and recently the fundraising she immediately wanted to participate just efforts for this special fund reached partial because she said she loves Mac and his endowment, which means they can accom- son Robbie and what they’ve done for the plish another one of their goals which was University.” extremely important to all involved. This partial endowment is just the beginThat goal was once the funds for the efning according to Weir. The goal is to one

day have the “Mac Credille Men’s Basketball Manager Scholarship” fully endowed. “We’re really looking for people to make donations,” Weir said. “In order for the scholarship to grow, we’re just going to have to find ways to get donations from folks that want to give. It doesn’t take much as $25 from 500 people is an awful lot of money. It doesn’t have to be $1,000, it doesn’t have to be $5,000. Sure there’s people out there that can give that, but any little bit helps. We know that there’s other important funds out there, but this one is dear to our hearts, and we want to make sure that at some point, we have a really healthy scholarship fund for these studentmanagers. They put in a lot of hours.” Weir and those involved also plan to in the future have an annual fundraiser around the “Mac Credille Men’s Basketball Manager Scholarship” with those plans to be finalized in the future when they decide what is best for the fund. Martin is thrilled, but not surprised that the fund was able to get to partial endowment. He knows the impact Credille has had on so many, particularly the managers he has worked alongside over the years. “He has a bond with the managers that’s incredible,” Martin said. “He guides them, he teaches them, he holds them accountable and prepares them for life, and the managers respect that.” For more information on the “Mac Credille Men’s Basketball Manager Scholarship” or to donate, please contact Elaine Arnold in athletics development at 803777-5451. She can be reached via email at earnold@sc.edu.

with the Atlanta Falcons. Norwood gave an update on what he’s doing now, and he will leave on May 27 from his Georgia home to go back to the Canadian Football League. Robinson spoke and answered questions for 45 minutes with a crowd in a packed ballroom and stressed how important the Gamecock fan base is to the program’s success. “It’s very nice to be in Atlanta and I’m excited about it,” Robinson said. “I’m excited to be here and meet people. It’s very important to know the Gamecocks and we hold the fans near to our hearts.”

Atlanta Gamecocks president Michele Beagle is working to help grow the involvement in the area, and she believes that events like this one are important. “As a Gamecock at heart and living in the city of Atlanta, I think it’s important we have a big presence here,” Beagle said. “I’m always excited about football season, basketball season and baseball season. I’m always excited about Gamecock athletics as a whole. All the newness and hype, everything that’s happening makes me really excited. We’re counting down to football season, and we’re ready for that.”

Atlanta Gamecocks treated to special evening By john whittle Managing Editor of TheBigSpur.com

Two of South Carolina’s all-time greats and a host of loyal Gamecocks welcomed one of the newest members of the family, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson, to Atlanta on Tuesday, May 17, in a Gamecock Club tour stop at Maggiano’s. Dan Reeves and Eric Norwood, two South Carolina legends, shook hands and spoke to a large gathering of Atlanta Gamecocks. Reeves spoke about his time at South Carolina as well as his favorite moments

photo by john whittle


Spurs & Feathers • 5

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6 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Sellout crowd greets Martin and Muschamp at Aiken #SpursUp tour by brian hand Executive Editor

Carolina. Muschamp was joined on this particular #SpursUp tour stop as he has been on nuSouth Carolina athletics director Ray Tan- merous others by South Carolina men’s basner knew the kind of man that he was getketball head coach Frank Martin. ting when he hired Will Muschamp, and it Muschamp once again was overwhelmed does not surprise him one bit how excited he by the outpouring of support from the has been to visit with Gamecocks all across Gamecocks in the Aiken area. the state as part of the #SpursUp tour. “It’s been very positive,” Muschamp said “When he was first hired we had a car of the #SpursUp tour stops. “Everybody has wash with all of the different units in our been very positive just like from everybody department one afternoon so that everybody in Columbia, so it’s been very good to be would get a chance to talk with him about able to get out among the Gamecock famthe role that he would play in their departily.” ment, and I suggested to do his very best to Martin for his part considers it the least work out five or six of stops on this tour and he can do from his position after a recordhe ended up saying he would do nine or 10, breaking season for his program. and that just says a lot about who he is and “It’s to thank the fans,” Martin said of how important it is to him to have our fans why he takes the time to go on the #Spursupported and to embrace what he’s trying sUp tour. “When you average 13,000 and to bring to our football program,” Tanner change, and you are top-25 in the country in said. attendance you thank the fans by being able Muschamp’s eighth stop on the #SpursUp to get in front of them first-hand and shake tour on Wednesday, May 18, was no differ- their hands and look them in their eyes and ent than the others in that another sellout say thank you, and let them know that a big crowd greeted the head football coach at the part of our ability to grow our program is Houndslake Country Club in Aiken, South their support.”

who served as the emcee on the evening. Tanner then spoke before introducing Martin. After answering questions from those in the crowd that included Gamecock football legend Warren Muir, Martin then turned things over to Muschamp who closed out the evening with a question and answer session. Fulmer was incredibly pleased with how everything turned out on the evening. “We had a great crowd,” Fulmer said. “The weather turned out wonderful. It was photo by brian hand great to see coach Tanner here. He’s always a crowd favorite. I thought coach Muschamp and coach Martin did a great job.” For his part, Gamecock Club executive The evening began with Muschamp and director Patrick McFarland is thrilled like Martin signing autographs for all in attenTanner that Muschamp and Martin love atdance. Everyone during this time was also treated to a phenomenal spread provided by tending these events because fans are really the national collegiate tailgating champion- getting to know them over the course of the #SpursUp tour. ship-winning Ultimate Tailgaters. “I think people are getting to know the A member of the Ultimate Tailgaters, Aiken Gamecocks president Chris Fulmer then coaches as they come to these events,” honored longtime area president and execu- McFarland said. “Both of them take time for people who like to get autographs. It’s tive board member Ted Girardeau before turning things over to former South Caroli- neat to see the enthusiasm on people’s faces na two-sport student-athlete Caroline Cann, when they get to meet them face-to-face.”

Girardeau honored for dedication to the Gamecock Club by brian hand Executive Editor

Ted Girardeau has been a huge reason for the growth of the Gamecock Club over the years. Girardeau started working with the Gamecock Club in 1966 when former Gamecock Club Director Ed Pitts asked him to take over the Aiken County chapter of the club. When he took over, the chapter had about 25 members. But, after he ran a promotion offering two free season tickets to football games, he received almost 200 more members. He served as the president for that chapter until 1983 before taking a short hiatus. His love for the University pulled him back though, and in 1996 he took over as a member of the Gamecock Club’s executive board. Girardeau was honored for his dedication to the Gamecock Club on the #SpursUp tour stop in Aiken at the Houndslake Country Club on Wednesday, May 18. Aiken Gamecocks president Chris Fulmer presented Girardeau with a plaque to commemorate his years of service to the Game-

cock Club. “It was very special,” Fulmer said. “He’s a father figure to me. I’ve known him since I was a young child. The thing about the Girardeaus is that they’re very similar to my family in that they are just true Gamecock fans. They do everything together. It’s pretty special.” It was a complete surprise to Girardeau. “It’s outstanding,” Girardeau said. “I certainly didn’t know it was coming. Whether or not it’s deserved, I don’t feel like I deserve anything because everything I do as I’ve said many times, I work for the Gamecock Club as a labor of love. I really did not expect this type of thing.” Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland has always appreciated the efforts of Girardeau, who also played football at South Carolina in the late 1950s. “It means a lot because he’s really made an impact as a player at the University of South Carolina and in a leadership role with the Gamecock Club both in Aiken and with the executive committee,” McFarland said. “He’s been very giving of his time, and a lot of people appreciate what he’s done.”

photo by brian hand


Spurs & Feathers • 7

May 25, 2016

Lattimore: Muschamp truly all about the student-athlete by brian hand Executive Editor Marcus Lattimore did not play for Will Muschamp. Nevertheless, Muschamp considered it a priority to be in attendance to see Lattimore and the other graduating Gamecock football players receive their rings as part of the annual senior ring ceremony on Tuesday, April 26. “He was there at the ring ceremony and he shook my hand and told me how proud he was of me, and all of the guys that were here,” Lattimore said. One week earlier, Muschamp had relayed to the media that every decision he makes as head coach at the University of South Carolina comes down to one thing: the student-athletes. “It’s all about the student-athlete for me,” Muschamp said during the official unveiling of the “Boom Bus” on Tuesday, April 19, on the grounds of WilliamsBrice Stadium. “Every decision that I make within the organization is about the student-athlete. It’s about the spiritual development, the social development, the academic development and the athletic development. It’s all about the student-

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athletes for me.” Lattimore points out that Muschamp is not just saying these words. He is living them. “He just doesn’t say it,” Lattimore said. “He means it. He wants the total person to

walk away from the University of South Carolina successful in whatever they do because everybody is not going to go to the NFL as we know. He stresses the importance of getting your degree and moving forward.”

Unfortunately due to NCAA rules and Lattimore wanting to continue his work with his foundation, he will not be able to work with Muschamp and the Gamecocks on a day-to-day basis. “I was going to hire Marcus Lattimore, and it’s obviously very well-documented that Marcus is going to stay with his foundation, which I totally respect and applaud for him for what he’s doing for young people in the state of South Carolina,” Muschamp said. “He’s a Gamecock. He’s always going to be a Gamecock. He’s going to be very involved in our program, but unfortunately we can’t pay him because of the conflict with the NCAA rules, and we totally understand the rules and we’re going to abide by the NCAA rules here at South Carolina.” Lattimore says this definitely does not mean he will not be around. In fact, he knows now as a college graduate he can even help the program in different ways than before. “I’ll still be around the guys,” Lattimore said. “I’ll still be around the football team and athletics in any capacity that they want me to be. Getting that degree, I’m able to minister to guys at the University in a way that I couldn’t before.”

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8 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Greenville painted garnet and black during #SpursUp tour stop by brian hand Executive Editor

Muschamp. “It’s a fantastic crowd, and I’m thrilled with the outpouring of support,” Keenan said. Walking into the TD Convention Center After Muschamp signed posters for eva Clemson fan stopped by a grouping of eryone in attendance from the outset of the Gamecocks as they were walking in and event, Drew took the stage to thank everyone said, “I guess you guys are expecting a small for their support during his time as presicrowd tonight since this is the Upstate.” dent before handing over the microphone to Boy were they wrong. former two-sport student-athlete Caroline In fact, the TD Convention Center room Cann, who served as the emcee on the evefor the event was filled to capacity with well ning. over 600 Gamecocks in attendance for the Muschamp originally started his time in #SpursUp tour stop on Tuesday, May 17. the Upstate with the Greenville Gamecocks Outgoing Greenville Gamecocks president by visiting with renowned Gamecock fan Dan Drew did not expect anything less. Dodie Anderson, who also was in attendance “We had pre-sold a lot of tickets,” Drew at the TD Convention Center to support said. “Everybody’s excited for a new coach, Muschamp and Drew, who is a personal and it’s great to have everybody out.” friend. This #SpursUp tour stop was of particular As with each #SpursUp tour stop, Musimportance to Drew as he was stepping away champ in general was thrilled to be able to from his position of president, which is a po- have the chance to connect with South Carosition that he has held for well over 20 years. lina fans like Anderson in the Upstate. Like his predecessor, incoming Greenville “It’s always great to get out and see everyGamecocks president Kemper Keenan was body, and appreciate the most loyal fan base ecstatic to see the amount of people at the in the country,” Muschamp said. “Our fans TD Convention Center to hear from Will are outstanding, so it’s very important for me

photo of muschamp with anderson by brian hand

to get out and reach out to them.” Joining Muschamp in Greenville on the #SpursUp tour stop was Gamecock baseball great Drew Meyer and former Gamecock football standout and current USC Association of Lettermen president Moe Brown. “It’s amazing to see so many people out

here,” Meyer said. “They’re out here in droves that’s for sure.” Brown like Meyer knows that Muschamp has brought a unique excitement back to Gamecock Country. “One thing about the Gamecock fans is that they’re the most loyal, supportive fans that you’re going to come across,” Brown said. “If you give them something to cheer for, they’re going to give you this type of response. Coach Muschamp has hit the ground running with the recruiting efforts that he has, and it’s good to feel this vibe and buzz. Hopefully this translates to the players on the field, and, most importantly, W’s.” Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland could not have been more pleased with how the whole evening in Greenville turned out. “It’s cool to see everybody in the Upstate representing the Gamecocks,” McFarland said. “When we pulled up in the Boom Bus people started cheering, and when coach Muschamp walked in people started yelling ‘Go Cocks’ and ‘Spurs Up,’ so you can really sense the enthusiasm.”

Dan Drew honored for years of hard work for the Gamecock Club by brian hand Executive Editor

“I’ve been here 18 years and he’s been the president of the Greenville Gamecocks the whole time I have been at The #SpursUp tour stop in Greenville, Carolina,” McFarland said. “Greenville South Carolina on Tuesday, May 17, was is one of the first places I came when I a special one in that it marked the final started as an intern for a meeting with time that Dan Drew would be presiding as Brad Scott, so Dan’s been around a long president of the Greenville Gamecocks. time, and he’s done a lot of great things During the #SpursUp tour stop in for the Gamecocks and we will always be Greenville, T. Wayne Poole and incoming appreciative.” Greenville Gamecocks president Kemper After Drew was given the blazer and the Keenan presented Drew with a plaque and plaque, Keenan then thanked everyone a special blazer to commemorate his time for their support as he took over his new in charge of the Greenville Gamecocks. role. Gamecock Club executive director Pat“I feel like I have really big shoes to fill, rick McFarland is incredibly thankful for but I just want to represent the Gamecock everything that Drew, who has been in faithful in Greenville as well as I can,” charge of the efforts in the area since Joe Keenan said. “I’m a passionate Gamecock Morrison was head coach at South Caro- fan, a 1990 graduate, and we’re going to lina, has done for the Gamecocks. make some noise in Greenville County.”

photo by brian hand


Spurs & Feathers • 9

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10 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Florence faithful show up in droves for #SpursUp tour stop by brian hand Executive Editor

appreciative.” The Florence #SpursUp tour stop started with head football coach Will Muschamp Ray Tanner did not think he could be signing posters for those in attendance. Forthere, but the Florence Gamecocks mean so mer Gamecock two-sport student-athlete much to South Carolina he knew no matter Caroline Cann served as the emcee on the what that he would find his way to the sixth evening that featured Tanner and then Musstop of the #SpursUp tour at the SIMT Con- champ talking with the crowd. ference Center on Thursday, May 12. Muschamp also took questions from the “This afternoon, I had an engagement sellout crowd in attendance on the evening. in Charlotte, and I didn’t know whether Among those in the crowd was local prodI could make it here or not, but because uct and current PGA TOUR professional of the passion and the enthusiasm of our Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, who was Gamecock faithful my car steered this thrilled to be able to catch up with coach way,” South Carolina’s athletics director Muschamp, particularly since the huge said. “I had to be here. It’s a great feelGamecock fan has been a big supporter of ing to know that if we can do our jobs as the hire since it was first announced. coaches and administrators, and recruit the “Let me tell you why I wanted Will Mustop student-athletes that we have a fan base champ to be our next head coach,” Gainey that is going to be there for us to help make said. “It was three things: his passion, he a difference, so it’s very special. We don’t can recruit and he can coach … what kid take these nights for granted, and we don’t doesn’t dream about being in the NFL, and take this support for granted. We’re very you see his body of work and what he’s

photo by brian hand

done with these guys.” Rocky Rietkovich of the Florence Gamecocks noted that they were just appreciative that Muschamp would take the time to visit the area as part of the #SpursUp tour.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to host coach Muschamp,” Rietkovich said. “We’re really looking forward to the season coming up. It’s a great crowd, and everybody was here to hear about what he has to say about the upcoming season. We’re expecting big things out of him in the future.” Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland is thankful for the great work done by the Florence Gamecocks to make another sellout on the #SpursUp tour a possibility. “Everybody that volunteers here for the Florence Gamecocks they always do a fantastic job, and when we come we know it’s going to be done right,” McFarland said. Muschamp was just thrilled in general once again to be able to interact with the Gamecock faithful. “We’ve got a loyal fan base, and it’s great to get out to see them and give them some appreciation for the support of our studentathletes,” Muschamp said.

Football staff, Martin highlight Florence golf tournament by brian hand Executive Editor

Will Muschamp knows how much the area means to the Gamecock Club and South Carolina athletics, which is why he made sure his staff was in attendance for the ninth annual Florence William Rhea Memorial Golf Tournament at the Florence Country Club on Monday, May 16. “It’s one of the most loyal clubs that we have,” Muschamp said. “This is an annual event, and it’s important for us to be here. We pulled all nine assistants and our strength staff (for the couple of hours before going back out on the road), and they are here today to come visit with everybody. It’s an important area for us.” Florence Gamecocks president Michael “Scat” Scaturro was extremely appreciative that Muschamp, his staff, South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin and equestrian associate head coach/western coach Ruth

Sorrel were in attendance on what was truly as Scaturro said a “Chamber of Commerce” day. “We have a big field, and we’re raising some money for the Gamecocks,” Scaturro said. Before the large field in the tournament took to the course, Scaturro presented Muschamp

help a grouping of Gamecocks that do so much. “Golf is a sport that I don’t play very often, so it’s hard to be any good at it, but at the same time, it’s another chance to get around a great group of Gamecocks here in Florence, and just enjoy their company and continue to get to know all the great Gamecocks in this part of the state,” Martin said. “I know for years and years and years this community has been great for the University, and it’s always great to come back and give back to their community.” Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland is incredibly thankful for everything photo by brian hand the Florence Gamecocks do for the University of South Carolina. and Gamecock football with a $4,000 check. “We appreciate all the work that the Florence “We’ve been fortunate enough to raise enough Gamecocks put in, especially with this tournamoney to earmark it in this case for the football ment such a short time after their #SpursUp coaches for their football camps,” Scaturro said. tour stop last week,” McFarland said. “They’ve Like Muschamp and his staff, Martin was had a lot of work the past week, but we apprecimore than happy to be in the Florence area to ate all of their efforts.”


Spurs & Feathers • 11

May 25, 2016

#SpursUp in the grand strand: Muschamp visits Myrtle Beach by brian hand Executive Editor

“It’s special to us that our fan base, our alumni, our donors have been extremely receptive to coach Muschamp,” Tanner said. “I’m not surprised at the reception, but it’s great that they would come out and support him. It’s very important to him that he touches all different areas of the state. He will have done nine of these before it’s all over and said and done. I’m even more excited tonight because I got to ride on the Boom Bus, so this is very special.” The evening commenced with Muschamp signing the 2016 posters for everyone in attendance. The evening that also featured a tremednous three-course dinner was emceed by former South Carolina two-sport studentathlete Caroline Cann with Webster and Wayne Morris of the Georgetown Game-

cocks also speaking to the crowd. Tanner then spoke to everyone in attendance about just how much their support of the Gamecock Club means to the success of the student-athletes before introducing Muschamp, who after speaking and a

question and answer session was presented with a special Pawleys Island hammock as a gift. As has been the case on all of the stops on the #SpursUp tour, Muschamp was overwhelmed with the reception he received in an area that he considers extremely important for Gamecock football. “You look at right now, (Gamecock freshman wide receiver) Bryan Edwards is a young man that’s come on our campus (as a) midyear (enrollee) that’s competing to be a starter that’s going to contribute tremendously to our football team,” Muschamp said. “Football in this area has been outstanding. You look at a lot of guys throughout South Carolina’s history and other places it’s a lot of rich talent coming from here, and outstanding coaches as well.”

“My grandma died of breast cancer, and I’m sure everyone out there has somebody so it’s not unique to me, but cancer, I can’t believe For everyone at this year’s Children’s Chance still today it’s as prevalent as it is. It still kills celebrity golf tournament held at Columbia so many people, so anything to do to help that Country Club on Monday, May 2, it was obvicause, how could you say no?” ously fun to get a chance to go out and play For some of the celebrities, they’ve been supsome golf with friends and colleagues. Howporting Children’s Chance for years, and they ever, there was a bigger picture that was much have seen the impact it has on the lives of the more important than a game of golf. affected children and their families. Over the photo by kyle heck years, student-athletes at South Carolina have The main focus of the tournament is to raise awareness and money for families in South played a big role in supporting the charity, and it The event attracts celebrities from all over Carolina that have children facing pediatric was one that really stuck out to a lot of them. cancer. For 20 years, Children’s Chance has had who want to help out the cause. Some of them “This was the one event that I really felt that goal and the annual golf tournament is one include Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowthat the majority of the players got into,” said fish, singer/songwriter Patrick Davis, Southern Brown, a former Gamecock wide receiver. “It’s of the biggest events of the year. “This is incredibly important,” Board Chair of Charm’s Craig Conover in addition to local ath- cool to see the type of impact you have on kids. Children’s Chance Bryan Fox said. “We tend to letes like former Gamecocks Moe Brown, Tori I remember to this day, we were up in The Zone raise probably somewhere in the neighborhood Gurley and Blake Taylor. (at Williams-Brice Stadium) and this young laof half of our total budget that we then give out Some of those celebrities are regulars at the dy came up to me and said, ‘can I sign the back to families on this event. It’s really big. We raise golf tournament and their support means a ton of your jersey, too?’ And I said, ‘absolutely.’ a ton of money through this and a lot of aware- to Children’s Chance. They’re able to spread the Those are the memories that stay with you for a ness and the great thing is all that money stays message to friends in their respective industries, lifetime.” right here in South Carolina, helping families which widens the exposure for the good cause. In 2014, when Catherine Ray Tucker (C-Ray) that are dealing with pediatric cancer, paying “It’s very important,” said two-time Emmy was just two years old, she was diagnosed with those non-medical bills.” Award winning actor/director Justin Wheelon. acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It was obvi-

ously devastating news for her parents, Dustin and Sarah Tucker, and their family. They got involved with Children’s Chance, who helped them through the tough journey. More than two years later, C-Ray is in remission and the future looks bright. “It means the world to us and other families that they’re out helping,” Sarah Tucker said of Children’s Chance. “It’s a tough road when you have a kid with cancer. It means a lot to us. We love Children’s Chance and we love (executive director) Stephanie (Amaker).” Not a lot of people think about the struggles outside of chemotherapy and visits to the hospital when it comes to cancer, but other bills and expenses can pile up as well. That’s why events like the annual celebrity golf tournament are so important when it comes to taking care of as much as possible with the affected families. “They cover a lot of things that a lot of people, including myself, don’t think about,” Wheelon said. “If (the families) have to go somewhere, there’s hotel bills, and aside from the medical bills, it could cost a lot. Insurance is never going to cover your gas money, so this is a unique thing and it’s good they’re doing it.”

Kellah Webster of the Horry County Gamecocks is thrilled that the Gamecock Club has decided to introduce Will Muschamp through the #SpursUp tour. “It’s a great way for members to get to meet coach Muschamp, but it’s also a great way for people to meet each other,” Webster said during the fifth stop of the #SpursUp tour at the Crown Reef at South Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Myrtle Beach tour stop on the #SpursUp tour was the fifth straight sellout, and that Gamecocks everywhere are embracing the Gamecock Club events this spring means a great deal to South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner.

photo by brian hand

Children’s Chance golf tournament ‘means the world’ to those it helps by kyle heck Reporter


12 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Gamecock family out in force at #SpursUp stop in Spartanburg by brian hand Executive Editor

Both Martin and South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp were in attendance to visit with the Spartanburg South Carolina men’s basketball head Gamecocks on an evening that commenced coach Frank Martin knows it’s unique, with both taking the time to sign autoand that is one of the main reasons he is so graphs for all in attendance. proud to be a Gamecock. While Martin and Muschamp were sign“Our athletic department is run like a ing autographs all lucky enough to be there family,” Martin said. “It’s unbelievable, also had the chance to have some of the and I think that was something that was in tremendous spread provided by the national place and coach (Ray) Tanner has kind of collegiate tailgating championship-winning taken that to another level. He’s a leader of Ultimate Tailgaters. people. That’s why his teams were successAlso in attendance on the evening was ful when he coached, and I think he’s doing Gamecock football great and former NFL the same thing now as our director of athstandout Langston Moore, who was there letics. There is a unity and an unbelievable signing autographs and taking pictures amount of respect for each other. It’s unique with fans in addition to selling copies of and it’s special. It’s a whole lot of fun to be his world-renowned children’s book #Jusaround.” taChicken. Martin’s thoughts came as part of a quesTiffany Ervin of the Spartanburg Gametion and answer session on the fourth stop cocks served as the emcee for the evening, of the #SpursUp tour in Spartanburg, South detailing all of the great things happenCarolina at the The Lodge at Lake Bowen ing with South Carolina athletics and the Commons on Thursday, May 5. Gamecock Club as well as introducing

here,” Thornton said. Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland knows that not only is it like a family within the athletic department, but that through four sold out #SpursUp events it is plain to see that the Gamecock Club family has shown up strong as well. “We can’t thank the Spartanburg Gamecocks enough for putting on such a tremendous event,” McFarland said. “It truly was a first-class event and another great stop on the #SpursUp tour. We’ve had four events photo by brian hand and four sellouts. We say it all the time, but Gamecock fans are truly the best.” Muschamp agrees with McFarland. In Martin and Muschamp, who both spoke be- fact, through the first four events on the #SpursUp tour he could not be more pleased fore taking questions from the crowd. with the reception he has received from Spartanburg Gamecocks president Lee Gamecock fans. Thornton was overall very pleased that “It’s ultra positive,” Muschamp said. “It’s Martin and Muschamp were willing to give the most loyal fan base in the country. They of their time on the evening. Thornton also was ecstatic with the sellout really support South Carolina, the University, the football program and everything crowd greeting Martin and Muschamp. “We’re thrilled to have this kind of crowd we’re trying to do. It’s really exciting.”

by kyle heck Reporter

holding the annual event at the course. Making matters even better was the fact that the rain held off until the tournament was virtually over, and the rest of the day was picture perfect. Being able to come out and play golf for a good cause is something that the fans in Spartanburg always look forward to. “It’s a lot of fun to have a lot of people with the same interests and generally we get a few fans of some opposing teams that come out and have fun with us too,” Thornton said. Being in the Upstate and so close to Clemson University, the Spartanburg Gamecocks know they have a very important role to showcase Gamecock pride in that area. They hold events all throughout the year that promote the Gamecock Club and South Carolina athletics in general. They encour-

Spartanburg Gamecocks hold third annual golf tournament

The South Carolina fans in Spartanburg are always looking for ways to support the Gamecocks and one of the big fundraisers of the year was held on Saturday, April 30. The Spartanburg Gamecocks held their third annual golf tournament at Woodfin Ridge Golf Club and it was once again a major success. “The local folks here like the opportunity to do some stuff with the school that they care a lot about, the University of South Carolina,” said Lee Thornton, who leads the Spartanburg Gamecocks. “We enjoy it a lot.” There was a strong turnout for the tournament that featured food, drinks and prizes for the winners of various competitions

photo by kyle heck

within the golf tournament itself. Woodfin Ridge is a particularly nice course that has a lot of nice views and Spartanburg enjoys

age everyone in the area to come out to the events and make new connections with fellow Gamecock fans. “We’re so close to Clemson at the end of the day that we need involvement and we need to bring a presence to this area,” Thornton said. “We just need to grow that presence and involvement. Being an hour and a half away from Columbia, it’s nice to have a local area to go to and enjoy time with fellow Gamecocks.” The golf tournament is always an excellent opportunity to do just that. Representatives from Wild Wing Cafe in Spartanburg even came out to Woodfin Ridge on Saturday to give away free samples of food and drinks. Thornton and Spartanburg also have a lot of other sponsors that help out with the tournament and he and his fellow members put in a lot of hard work to make it happen.


Spurs & Feathers • 13

May 25, 2016

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14 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Martin, Muschamp highlight Greenwood #SpursUp tour stop by brian hand Executive Editor

Some in the Upstate like to promote that people in the area only care about Clemson. Gamecock fans know this is not true in the first place, but a very strong reminder of this was on display on Tuesday, May 3, at the third stop of the #SpursUp tour at the American Legion building in Greenwood, South Carolina. “Proof is in the pudding,” Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland said during the third straight #SpursUp tour sellout. “We have a packed house. It’s standing room only. The Gamecocks in the Upstate came out to represent tonight.” On a day that featured the “Boom Bus” getting a police escort through Laurens County and Greenwood County, McFarland knows that everything put together shows that the Greenwood Gamecocks and everyone in the greater area are a very strong grouping of

Gamecocks. “The leadership that they have here is the reason why this is so successful because they put a lot of time and effort into making these events what they are, and that’s a sellout,” McFarland said. The third stop of the #SpursUp tour was special in that it not only featured head football coach Will Muschamp, but also men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin. Martin was excited to be in Greenwood for the first time, especially since he considers Gamecock Club events so important. “I love them,” Martin said. “I think its what it’s all about. It’s about creating that bond with your fan base. It’s my first time in Greenwood. I’ve done other Gamecock Club events, but I have not been to this one. These functions are very important to us. We ask our fans to come to us 18, 19, 20 times a year just for our sport, let alone other sports, so when we have an opportunity to come interact with our fans and we can actually have

photo by brian hand

conversations rather than just play a game it makes it special. It’s important to us that we can spend some time with them.” Muschamp knows how important it is to visit the Upstate. “There’s no question,” Muschamp said. “Obviously (current Gamecock) Qua Lewis and (Arizona Cardinals safety) DJ Swearinger and a lot of great Gamecocks have come

out of Greenwood, so we’re excited to get up here and see the folks.” In addition to Martin and Muschamp being in attendance numerous former Gamecock lettermen were there signing autographs along with the coaching duo. In attendance on the evening were former Gamecocks Buddy Quarles (father of Kelcy as well), Billy DuPre, Qua Gilchrist, Mack Lee Tharpe, Stephane Williams, King Dixon and Seth Strickland. Greenwood Gamecocks vice president Ray Lewis II knows the evening overall was just another strong statement by those in the area about how much they love their Gamecocks. “To be honest with you what the true testament is that not only did we get the basketball coach and the football coach, but we had former lettermen show up willing to sign posters, and willing to be a part of the Gamecock community,” Lewis said. “I think that’s important. It’s about family, it’s about a tradition that you can’t deny.”

Emotional military surprise before baseball game by brian hand Executive Editor

Before game three of the South CarolinaFlorida series, there was a special surprise. Missy Ferguson-Peebles, a 2004 graduate of the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business, and her children, Sam All Gamecock baseball and Laekyn coverage sponsored by Peebles DiPrato’s from Camden, were there to be honored as the Farm Bureau Insurance Fan on the Field winners. After the public address announcer finished his breakdown on what it means to be the Farm Bureau Insurance Fan on the Field winners, the surprise came as South Carolina Air National Guard tech sergeant Chad Peebles surprised Sam and Laekyn by walking out of the dugout. Shortly after hearing, Sam and Laekyn, children sprinted out to hug their father. “we have a surprise for you today,” the two It was an emotional moment for everyone

photo by jenny dilworth

in attendance as Chad Peebles was surprising ties in Iraq where he has been serving with a his children after just coming back from du- special forces unit.


Spurs & Feathers • 15

May 25, 2016

Gamecocks honored at Statehouse for success on and off the court by kyle heck Reporter

to honor the Gamecocks for their back-to-back SEC Tournament titles and trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen this year. There’s a reason that the South Carolina wom- All dressed up in their Sunday best, the team en’s basketball team led the nation in attendance was thrilled to be honored by some of the top this past year. Not only do the Gamecocks have politicians in the state. a great team, but they also have an ability to “These are very, very important people here connect with the fan base and continually gain in South Carolina,” Khadijah Sessions said. new supporters with the way they play and con- “They’re in the Statehouse for a reason. Great duct themselves. people and they really follow us and walking in As it turns out, the Gamecocks also have here in front of these people really shows how some big fans over at the Statehouse in downmuch they support us. It’s a big honor and I’m town Columbia. glad some of my teammates were here to expeOn Thursday, April 28, South Carolina was rience it.” honored in both the House of Representatives The support for the team and coaches goes and the South Carolina Senate. beyond those in the South In the House of RepresentaCarolina Statehouse as well. tives, the Gamecocks were Rutherford told a story about thanked by Minority Leader when former president Bill Todd Rutherford and Speaker Clinton was in town. Head of the House James H. “Jay” coach Dawn Staley and the Lucas for their accomplishGamecocks were around and ments on the court last year. All Gamecock basketball Clinton halted everything and Over in the Senate, there was coverage sponsored by sent his Secret Service agents a resolution that was passed Yesterdays to track down Staley so they

photo by allen sharpe

could talk. Due to scheduling conflicts, Staley wasn’t with the team for this trip to the Statehouse, but some of the other assistant coaches were and enjoyed the experience. “We’re extremely honored that our community has supported us,” assistant coach Nikki McCray-Penson said. “We lead the nation in attendance because we have great fans. The

Senate, the House, everybody is on board with us. Last year we came here and were like ‘wow.’ They are just such tremendous fans of us and they don’t realize how important our studentathletes feel when they’re honored and recognized for what they do on and off the floor.” There was also a lot of talk about the tremendous season the Gamecocks had last year, not losing a game during SEC play and running away with the SEC regular-season and tournament championships. “They laid waste and curb stomped every team in the SEC (that they played),” said Lucas, who told the team he has a Staley autographed basketball sitting behind his desk. While much of the talk centered around the success on the court, the Gamecocks were also praised for the way they handle themselves off of it. That’s another one of the reasons the team is so popular because they set good examples for those who look up to them. “I think sometimes we don’t really understand that just the way we act and carry ourselves off the court can really take us a long way in the real world,” A’ja Wilson said.

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16 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

#SpursUp tour in Sumter: Muschamp speaks to sellout crowd by brian hand Executive Editor It was not his first time there as he had been there to recruit shortly after taking over Gamecock football, but Will Muschamp was thrilled to be back in the area for the second stop of the #SpursUp Tour in Sumter, South Carolina on Thursday, April 28. Muschamp’s first official Gamecock Club appearance in Sumter came before a soldout event at Nettles Auditorium on the campus of USC Sumter. Both of the first two #SpursUp Tour stops have been sold out, and South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner, who was also in attendance, said that fact is not lost on him and Muschamp. “It’s very special to us and to coach Muschamp,” Tanner told Spurs & Feathers. “It’s not something that we take for granted. We

appreciate our fan base, our alumni and all of our boosters. When you go somewhere and they pack the facility, it’s very special. It’s mean so much to us. We’re grateful for the support.” Muschamp echoed Tanner’s thoughts, pointing out that just “goes to being the most loyal fan base in the country.” “I really appreciate them,” Muschamp said. “We want to be accessible to them as much as possible, and these (#SpursUp events) are very important to me.” And accessible Muschamp was to the crowd as he signed posters and took pictures with those in attendance. Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland really appreciates how excited Muschamp is to be a part of these #SpursUp Tour stops. “It’s pretty cool to see,” McFarland said. “He’s ready to sign, and he is taking pictures and spending time with our fans. He’s just

as excited to meet them as they are him.” The night commenced with those in attendance taking the time to take pictures with the “Boom Bus.” After Muschamp’s arrivial, everyone in attendance then moved in to the auditorium to interact with him, and enjoy some of the great catered meal

provided. Muschamp then took the stage after McFarland and Tanner shortly talked about all of the great things happening with Gamecock athletics. The evening was an anniversary of sorts for Tanner, who had last been at a Gamecock Club event in Sumter the same day he learned that he would be the next day stepping into the athletics director role at South Carolina. Sumter Gamecocks president David Stewart was overall just excited to have such a tremendous turnout for Muschamp’s appearance. “It’s fantastic,” Stewart said. “We’re extremely pleased to have him over here, and to have a crowd like this show up. There’s some other events in town going on too, and we were still able to fill up the place. It just shows the importance of Gamecock athletics.”

Championship. The championship was kind of a tough pill for us to swallow, and we were feeling sorry for ourselves for about 24 hours. But then they bounced right back and realized that we still have a job to do and we still have to continue to get better. I do think those are a lot of positive things that we got out of this year.” While there were struggles because of the youth, this season was also valuable experience for those young riders. They got to get a taste of college equestrian as well as the pressure-packed atmosphere at both the SEC Tournament and National Championship. “I hope it will help them tremendously for next year because I believe a lot of our issues were in fact growing pains,” Major said. “Getting in the arena for a lot of people that had never competed before, or people who had just competed on a limited basis. We made a lot of mistakes this year, but honestly there were a lot of things that just didn’t bounce our way this year as well. I’m certainly not going to sit here and say it was all the fault of everything else besides us, because it wasn’t. We have to learn to get mentally tougher and not let

outside things bother us as much.” Several of the freshmen stepped up this year, and a couple stood out to Major at the National Championship. Madison Thiel and Lizzie van der Walde both rode tremendously in Waco and are part of the bright future of the team. There were 22 riders on the team who were underclassmen this past season, and there shouldn’t be the type of growing pains in 2016-17 as there were the previous year. The next step for the team will be to have an extremely productive summer. The Gamecocks can’t afford to have riders who take the summer off, and Major has made sure her team understands that. “It’s crucial,” Major said. “You have to look them point blank in the face and say, ‘if you don’t use this summer to get better, you’re going to be right back to square one again, where you were at the beginning of the year last year.’ I tell them every year because there’s a hungry group of freshmen coming in and there’s a hungry group of kids already on our team that will be riding all summer and will be competing all summer.”

photo by brian hand

Boo Major on team: ‘They were resilient until the last competition’ by kyle heck Reporter

One year after winning the National Championship, this season was not the year that equestrian head coach Boo Major anticipated or wanted for her team. The Gamecocks had to replace a lot of senior leadership from that title-winning team, including the MVP’s from every event. That meant this year featured a lot of new faces, which ultimately turned into a fair share of growing pains. South Carolina won its first two meets of the year, but endured a five-meet losing streak en route to a 5-11 record. However, the Gamecocks started to gel toward the end of the year and that showed in the postseason. In the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks played a close meet against top-ranked and future national champion Auburn before being edged by the Tigers. After not recording a SEC victory all season long, South Carolina defeated Texas A&M on the final day to cap off the tournament. At the National Championships in Waco, Texas,

photo by allen sharpe

the Gamecocks had another tight battle with SMU before dropping the meet to the Mustangs to cap off the year. “It was a very trying year for all of us,” Major said. “The one thing I would say about this team is they were resilient up until the last competition and even after the last competition at the National


Spurs & Feathers • 17

May 25, 2016

Pat Washington relishes chance to speak with the Beaufort Gamecocks by kyle heck Reporter

go turn those stones over, no matter where they’re at.” Among those in attendance in Beaufort In front of a packed house in Beaufort at were former Gamecock great DeVonte HolQ on Bay restaurant overlooking the Intraloman, who stopped by to meet Washington coastal Waterway, South Carolina tight ends and some of the other Gamecocks in attencoach Pat Washington took a break from dance. A local South Carolina legend was recruiting in Savannah, Georgia, to come up also there to hear what Washington had to to give a preview of the team to the Beaufort say in Jim Moss. A three-year letterman as a Gamecocks on Tuesday, May 3. tackle from 1960-62, Moss was a two-time Washington focused mainly on the offense, All-ACC selection and two-time winner of and talked at length for about 45 minutes, the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. covering everything from Gamecock footMoss said Washington will really be an asphoto by kyle heck set because of the amount of experience he ball to playing with Bo Jackson while a quarterback at Auburn. The main message has as a coach and is excited to see what he has shown a tremendous ability to develop that the coaching veteran of nearly 30 years and the rest of the staff can do. talent over the years at stops that include 11 wanted to get across was that new head “From everyone I hear in Columbia and the years at Tennessee, where he was part of a coach Will Muschamp and his staff are goex-football players and everything, they said ing to focus heavily on recruiting and devel- national championship, and most recently at (the staff) is doing a great job,” Moss said. oping talent. Missouri, where he was the wide receivers “They’re turning over every stone and getIt doesn’t matter how many stars a recruit coach. ting the best. I think (Muschamp) has got the has, if he looks good and shows potential “I like the idea that they go to work,” Brent right idea. And if he’s got coaches like Mr. on tape, the Gamecock staff will develop Cooper of the Beaufort Gamecocks said. “To Washington coaching, that’s awesome.” that player to help the team. Washington me, it’s pretty impressive that he’s willing to For Washington, he was just excited to get

a chance to come over to Beaufort and enjoy the hospitality there. He knows it’s important to create relationships all over the state with Gamecock fans. “It’s awesome because what you see in the stands, and you go out there and you have small groups like that, you realize you have people that are excited about South Carolina football, no matter what is going on,” Washington said after the event. “Now they all want to win, there’s no question, but I think they’re loyal supporters regardless of what happens. It’s good to meet the people that are coming to cheer for you every Saturday.” The Beaufort Gamecocks were extremely pleased with the message that Washington brought. The coach gave them a lot of information and the more they got to interact with Washington, the more they liked him. “It got more special once we learned how special Washington was,” Cooper said. “Once you get to know Pat Washington and realize how great a coach he is, we’re lucky to have him.”

by kyle heck Reporter

football is going to be in front of them,” McClendon said. “You don’t have anyone who’s going to try and take a dip in any way, shape or form, and they’re very, very coachable.” The Saluda Gamecocks certainly aren’t the biggest group in the state, but the majority of the members came out to hear McClendon speak, which speaks to the passion they have for the University of South Carolina. Sawyer is a perfect example of that passion, with his voicemail stating that he’s the No. 1 Gamecock fan in southern Saluda County. “I can’t take credit for the entire county, but I’m going to try to take credit for the southern end anyway,” Sawyer quipped. Sawyer continued by stating how important it is to maintain a presence everywhere, even in places where other schools in the state aren’t at. “It’s very important, we want to stay ahead of the opposition,” Sawyer said. “I don’t think there’s been an IPTAY meeting in Saluda County in a while, and so all I can say is this is one for the Gamecocks and none for them.”

Bryan McClendon visits Saluda looking to ‘build good relationships’

Saluda put on a great show, even taking representatives of the Gamecock Club and Spurs & Feathers out for a round of golf before McIt was a big day for the Saluda Gamecocks. Clendon spoke. Dinner was served with the After not having a football coach down to excellent staff from Persimmon Hill bringing speak for several years, they were treated to an the food out to the guests at the table. appearance from South Carolina co-offensive McClendon then took the mic and talked coordinator/wide receivers coach Bryan Mcabout his journey to South Carolina. During Clendon on Thursday, May 5, in a special event his senior year at Georgia, he was approached at Persimmon Hill Golf Club. about coaching immediately after his playing The Gamecocks in Saluda were obviously ex- career ended, which goes to show how much he cited for the opportunity to hear from someone was admired early in his career. with the resume of McClendon, who played However, he told the crowd that it was “not a and coached at Georgia, and was the Bulldogs’ tough decision” to come to South Carolina, and interim head coach before joining Will Musexplained how excited he was for the upcoming champ at South Carolina. Because of that, there season, and expects for the Gamecocks to be was a packed house to hear him speak. able to compete with anyone in the country. “I think it went extremely well,” president He was also excited to get the chance to come of the Saluda Gamecocks David Sawyer said. out to Saluda to speak to the Gamecocks there. “It was one of the largest crowds we’ve had Even after he was done speaking, McClendon in years. Very informative, very enthusiastic took the time to interact and shake hands with group, and ‘Spurs up’ and we’re ready to go. We pretty much everyone in attendance. wish we teed it up and kicked it off tomorrow.” “Events like this allow you to go out there and

photo by kyle heck

build good relationships with people,” McClendon said. “No matter what it is, this business is about a few things, and people are always going to be one of them. I think anytime you can go out there and spread yourself out a little bit and be available to people, I think it’s huge.” As the wide receivers coach, McClendon knows he has a lot of work to do with what the Gamecocks lost from last year. However, he said he’s working with a young and talented group of players. “The one thing that I learned is that their best


18 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Shawn Elliott thrilled to be back in hometown for Kershaw spring meeting by Brian Hand Executive Editor It’s not a word that Shawn Elliott uses often because he feels like it is just thrown around, but when describing what the first few months under new head coach Will Muschamp have been like it’s the word that he feels fits best - excitement. “I don’t use that word excitement all the time because it’s something that is just thrown out there, but coach Mushamp has come in here and not only has he motivated a football team, he’s inspired a football team,” South Carolina’s offensive line coach said. Elliott spoke these powerful words to the Kershaw Gamecocks at their spring meeting on Wednesday, May 4, at the Old South

photo by brian hand

Restaurant and Catery in Camden, South Carolina. “It’s always good to have Shawn back,” Kershaw Gamecocks president Casey Robinson said of the Camden native. “He’s come back now probably four or five years in a row

for us, and he pulls a good crowd every time.” The evening commenced with everyone in attendance being treated to a stellar buffet by Old South Restaurant and Catery before Robinson took the stage to talk about all of the great things happening currently and in the future with the Kershaw Gamecocks. Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland then spoke to the solid crowd in attendance about all of the important things happening with Gamecock athletics and the Gamecock Club before Elliott talked with the crowd for well over 40 minutes. The evening would end with a raffle featuring prizes such as signed Gamecock memorabilia and gift certificates to local restaurants and more. McFarland appreciated having another great turnout for Elliott’s appearance in his

hometown. “People embrace Shawn with open arms when he comes and talks,” McFarland said. “It’s really neat as we’re doing the #SpursUp tour to have our assistant coaches out in different areas as well, and Shawn is a great representative for Gamecock football.” Elliott for his part was just glad to be in his hometown to spread all of the great things happening under Muschamp’s watch. “I am thrilled to be able to sit here and say that I work for a great head coach because I think that Will Muschamp exemplifies everything that we were needing at South Carolina with great energy, great passion, great toughness, great physical awareness of what you need to do to win football games,” Elliott said.

Elliott visits with energized grouping of Gamecocks in Lancaster by brian hand Executive Editor

South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott relishes any chance that he has to talk about Gamecock football and South Carolina athletics. “Any time I can stand up here and talk about the University of South Carolina it’s always a pleasure,” Elliott told the Lancaster Gamecocks at their spring meeting at Catawba Fish Camp in Fort Lawn, South Carolina on Monday, May 16. The Lancaster Gamecocks spring meeting commenced with a tremendous traditional fish camp dinner provided by the Catawba Fish Camp. After a moment of remembrance for all of the Lancaster Gamecocks that had passed away in the previous year, Gamecock Club executive director Patrick McFarland took the stage to talk about all of the great things happening with the Gamecock Club and South Carolina athletics. The visit with the Lancaster Gamecocks is one that McFarland looks forward to each and every year. “It’s one of the neatest locations that we go to as it’s just a unique atmosphere at the Catawba Fish Camp,” McFarland said. “All of

those here tonight are obviously excited to hear about Gamecock football from Shawn Elliott.” McFarland then handed the microphone over to Elliott, who spoke with all of those in attendance for over 40 minutes. Elliott after the conclusion of the event as he was taking pictures with Gamecock fans mentioned that he was truly energized on the evening by the passion of the close to 150 Gamecocks that came out to hear him speak. “When you come in here and you see people that are energetic about the upcoming season, everything going in the athletic department, in our football program with the changes going on, and you see smiling faces that are behind the Gamecocks, that’s what’s really important,” Elliott said. Lancaster Gamecocks president Joe Grier in general was ecstatic that Elliott took the time out of his busy schedule to speak on the evening. “I’m really tickled to death that he is here,” Grier said on an evening that concluded with the Lancaster Gamecocks presenting new assistant director of the Gamecock Club Kendall Belk with the centerpiece flowers from the evening to welcome her into her new position.

photo by brian hand


Spurs & Feathers • 19

May 25, 2016

Georgetown Gamecocks get unique opportunity to catch up with Lance Thompson by brian hand Executive Editor Those in attendance on Thursday, May 19, in Georgetown were treated to a feast in more ways than one as they learned valuable insider Gamecock knowledge while also indulging in a spectacular lowcountry pilau. The pilau (also known as perlo - a version of chicken bog) feast was a special addition to an evening that also included the Gamecocks in attendance getting the unique opportunity to hear from assistant head coach for defense/ defensive line coach Lance Thompson. Georgetown Gamecocks president Wayne Morris was incredibly appreciative of Thompson taking the time to speak with the crowd and also answer questions. “He’s so energetic,” Morris said. “He’s like a fireball. I can only imagine what our defense is going to be like. We’re so proud to have him down here. I look for big things in the coming year.” Thompson appreciated the opportunity to visit with the Georgetown Gamecocks, especially since he knows how important it is that

photo by brian hand

the new coaching staff visits different areas of the state. “It’s a new deal,” Thompson said. “It’s a new mindset. A new way of doing things. These guys are the people that are the backbone of the program that stay with the program through thick and thin. Carolina fans, they’re great fans. I went to The Citadel, so I kind of have an appreciation for them beyond some coming in and not knowing. Carolina fans have always been great, and as a coach you appreciate that. You appreciate their support, you appreciate the way they love their school and have a passion for what you do. That’s always fun.” Assistant Director of the Gamecock Club Kendall Belk was thrilled with how the whole evening at VFW Post 6444 turned out. “This was my first time in Georgetown in my new position, and this was a blast,” Belk said. “I have heard for a long time how great of a job the Georgetown Gamecocks do with their events, and they really do a tremendous job of putting on a top-notch event. We cannot thank them enough for all they do for the Gamecocks.”

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20 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Mark Berson: ‘I think we had a very successful spring’ by brian hand Executive Editor

“I think we accomplished a lot,” Berson said of the spring of 2016. “The spring season is all about development, and every spring is differMark Berson will enter the 2016 season as the ent.” winningest active coach in NCAA Division I One of the things that makes the spring difmen’s soccer. He is tied for the most number of ferent is that you have players departing the NCAA Tournament appearances of any active team due to their eligibility being up. Somecoach with 21. times that wreaks havoc on the spring with One of those 21 NCAA Tournament appear- players having to take on different roles, but ances includes last year, and with the Gamethis spring Berson believes his group fit in cocks returning a talented group coupled with quite nicely. an incredibly strong incoming class there is no “I think the developmental part was very reason not to believe that the 2016 season will good, not only individually in terms of skill not be another strong one for South Carolina and acquisition of ability in the spring, but also men’s soccer. I think as a team we had a lot of the guys in the Berson and the Gamecocks just completed right spots,” Berson said. another spring, and overall the head coach With the spring obviously being all about who has taken his program to three Final Four development, the results against outside comappearances and one national championship petition were secondary, but Berson believes game final is pleased with what his team was the games continued to impress upon the team able to get done during their time together. some of the things they needed to focus on go-

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ing forward. “I think we had some very good results,” Berson said. “I think some things continued to show up that we need to shore up for the fall. One of those is that we have to defend better. We have to develop a better mentality about defending. We need to be able to close out games. That was an objective of ours in the spring. As we moved through the spring, I think we got a little bit better, but it still is a major focal point for us as a team for next year for us to advance (as a team) and do better than we did this year (2015), we need to be able to close out games. We need to be able to manage leads better. The good news is it’s much more difficult to create than it is to destroy, and we’ve got some really creative guys and we’ve got some guys that can score goals. I like all the pieces that we have.” Due to NCAA rules, Berson and the coaching staff cannot have much contact with their team going forward until the start of preseason practice in August, but he knows his team will put in the work to stay fit and be prepared. “It was the most comprehensive weight training and conditioning spring that we’ve ever had and I think that’s a credit to (strength and conditioning coach) Eric Wehrmann and to the guys and their mentality,” Berson said. “This is a really hard working group. As we go into this all-important summer phase, the guys know very clearly individually the things they need to work on as far as strength and conditioning, injury prevention, individual things that they need to do to shore up their personal profile to

make sure they’re going to be at their best in the fall.” As always, South Carolina will have another incredibly tough schedule in the 2016 season with the Gamecocks having three exhibitions, starting with a road date in Chapel Hill, North Carolina against North Carolina on Monday, April 15. The Gamecocks will open their regular-season at home against rival Clemson at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30. “We played Chapel Hill this spring, and we drew in a really good game,” Berson said. “I think you learn a lot by playing really good teams, so that’s why we do it in the regularseason as well as the preseason as well as the spring season. The schedule will be really tough again, but I think that’s what we do here.” In general, Berson is just pleased with the commitment of his team and coaching staff over the course of the past spring, noting Spencer Lewis, Joey Worthen and Denny Sago have all done a great job getting the team prepared. “I think we had a very successful spring,” Berson said. “I think our players are in a good state of mind going home and that’s really critical. I think they’re hungry, I think they want more, I think they’ve worked hard. They’ve showed me nothing but an outstanding work ethic in the spring and in the winter. I’m really, really pleased with what I’ve seen, and I think our players need to be complimented on their attitude and work ethic and everything they’ve done.”


Spurs & Feathers • 21

May 25, 2016

Gamecocks flip the script during the 2016 regular-season by brian hand Executive Editor

we’re going to play at a high level this year. I think I have team that can do that.” There is still a lot of baseball left to be Flipping the script as defined on Diction- played with postseason on the horizon, but ary.com means “to reverse a role or situaHolbrook’s thoughts before the season comtion; turn a circumstance around.” menced were exactly right. That’s exactly what South Carolina baseSouth Carolina concluded the 2016 ball did during the 2016 regular-season. regular-season with 10 more wins than the It’s no secret that the 2015 season was not 2015 season at 42. The Gamecocks also what was desired by fans, the team and, of picked up the outright division title in the course, the Gamecock baseball coaching SEC East over the team that has been No. staff. 1 nationally for most of the 2016 season in South Carolina head coach Chad HolFlorida. brook said numerous times that they were The Gamecocks did all of this while also going to change things around, and that the posting the highest in-season GPA in pro2016 season would be completely different, gram history at 3.186. pointing out “South Carolina will be back.” In addition, the Gamecocks logged over “I know the expectations of South Caro500 hours of community service with just lina baseball,” Holbrook before the season started said in his press conference South Carolina racking up prior to South Carolina’s 205 volunteer hours during 2016 season-opening sethe “MLK Week of Service” ries against Albany. “I over a four-day span in understand it. Our players January. do. And we’re expecting Put simply, the Gamecocks to perform at a high level. were winners on and off the All Gamecock baseball That’s why we coach here, field. coverage sponsored by that’s why our players come In the 2006 movie “Rocky DiPrato’s here, and it’s my intent that Balboa,” the famed Sylves-

This famous speech in the movie is exactly what Holbrook, the Gamecock coaching staff and the team did this year. Holbrook and his staff went to work this past offseason and brought in individuals that they knew could make Gamecock baseball better from day one of their arrival. More importantly though, Holbrook and his staff brought in individuals to complement the strong returning nucleus that wanted to win. A 42-13 record in the photo by allen sharpe regular-season with a SEC East title and 20 wins in the toughest conference in the ter Stallone character put it perfectly on country proves just that. how life is all about how you respond to There is still a long way to go once again your situations, and that the measure of any in the 2016 season, but South Carolina has man just like any team is how you bounce positioned itself well, and that is what exback. cites Holbrook the most. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rain“We’ve had some bumps along the way, bows,” Balboa said to his son in the movie. but I think that happens in any baseball “It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I season,” Holbrook said. “I hope we’ve podon’t care how tough you are, it will beat sitioned ourselves to play our best in late you to your knees and keep you there perMay and June. You’ll never know until it’s manently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is over, but we’re decently fresh, we’re decentgonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about ly healthy and I hope they’ve got the right how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you frame of mind to play their best baseball in can get hit and keep moving forward. How the most important games, and those are all much you can take and keep moving forin front of us. I’m confident that we’ll play ward. That’s how winning is done.” our best baseball.”

Gamecocks’ special year ends in NCAA Tournament by kyle heck Reporter An excellent season for the South Carolina women’s tennis team came to a tough end on Saturday, May 14, at the Carolina Tennis Center. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the No. 13 Gamecocks came up short against No. 17 Georgia Tech by a score of 4-0. The Yellow Jackets came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, and that showed over the course of the weekend. Meanwhile, South Carolina had scuffled a bit, including during the eventual 4-2 victory over fourth-seeded Winthrop in the first round on Friday, May 13. “There were some things that we got away from that was contributing to our success,” head coach Kevin Epley said. “Then we started taking a few losses, and our confidence broke a little bit. It’s hard to recover from that.” However, Epley knows the tough end to the year doesn’t detract from what the Gamecocks were able to accomplish this season. South Carolina finished the year with 19 wins, which are the most since 1995. The nine SEC wins also match a program-high that has only been accom-

as they came up with a 6-3 win over Cline and Berg. The Gamecocks bounced back at No. 3 doubles, where Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Rachel Rohrabacher picked up a 6-3 victory over their Georgia Tech counterparts to even the count at one apiece. It would all come down to No. 2, where the tandem of Caroline Dailey and Brigit Folland held an early lead over Rasheeda McAdoo and Johnnise Renaud. However, the Yellow Jacket duo charged back to photo by allen sharpe claim a 6-4 win to give Georgia Tech the doubles point and 1-0 lead entering plished one other time. singles. “It doesn’t detract from the fact that up Georgia Tech kept up the momentum in until right around the Texas A&M match, singles, claiming the first set in four of the we were one of the grittiest teams in the first five matches. Paige Hourigan was the country, and a team that was coming out first Yellow Jacket to take a match as she and fighting and stepping up and doing all took down Martins, 6-2, 6-1, to give Georof the great things,” Epley said. “I have no gia Tech a 2-0 lead. Just moments later, doubt that we’ll get back there. We just let Johnnise Renaud defeated the Gamecocks’ it get away from us a little bit.” Dailey, 6-1, 6-4, and the Yellow Jackets In a tightly contested doubles portion of had a commanding 3-0 lead. the event against Georgia Tech, the GameGeorgia Tech would wrap up the sweep cocks came up just short. At No. 1 doubles, when Rasheeda McAdoo defeated Cline, the duo of Paige Cline and Hadley Berg 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3 singles. were facing Georgia Tech’s Kendal WoodThe Gamecocks were in great shape ard and Paige Hourigan, who came into at the other three spots on the court, but the match ranked as the 12th best doubles unfortunately they couldn’t wrap up any tandem in the nation. They showed why, wins before the match ended. Georgia

Tech head coach Rodney Harmon praised the Gamecocks after the match ended, and was thoroughly pleased with the job South Carolina did hosting the tournament. “I want to thank the University of South Carolina for doing a great job of hosting,” Harmon said. “They have a great support staff.” Epley was also happy for the opportunity to play the first two rounds on the Gamecocks’ home court, and it was particularly special for the lone senior on the team, Ximena Siles Luna, who was on the verge of winning her first set at No. 6 singles when the match ended. “It was obviously very special for Ximena,” Epley said. “It’s her senior year, and she fought hard today. It was great to have her playing on her home court for her final match. It would’ve been great if we were able to win for her, but it just didn’t happen.” “The support staff, they did a great job,” Epley continued. “They did a great job with the SEC Championship for the men a couple weeks ago. Everything at South Carolina is first class, and this is a big step in the right direction for our program. We’re glad we were able to host and create a great venue for everybody, and we hope to do it again.”


22 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Seniors have placed Gamecock men’s golf among nation’s elite by brian hand Executive Editor

“It’s really cool to kind of change the tides a little bit,” NeSmith told Spurs & Feathers last year. “Whenever I was growing up, everybody South Carolina men’s golf head coach Bill Mcwanted to go to Georgia or wanted to go to Donald knows this year’s grouping of seniors is Clemson. They were the golf schools. They were a lot better, they had the facilities to prove it and a very special program-changing group. “I’ve got three incredible seniors in Sean Kelly, they had the record. We got a couple guys here Will Starke and Matt NeSmith,” the ninth-year and got a group that kind of wanted to flip that head coach said. “They’re like sons to me. I’m around and see if we could get some good guys going to miss them, and I want them to go out on to come here and play some really good golf. It took a couple years, but we’ve got the experience a really good note.” The trio of seniors came to South Carolina to do it, we’ve got the talent to do it and I think looking to place the men’s golf program among we’re going to be really good.” the nation’s elite, and with the Gamecocks set NeSmith’s decision to come to South Carolina once again to be playing in the NCAA Champihas more than paid off for him and the program. onship they have done just that. The 2013 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year has “It’s been a great run,” Starke said. “I think garnered numerous SEC and All-America acco(coming in) freshman year we were not even lades since his arrival, and last year he became top-100 and then we slowly worked our way the second Gamecock to win an SEC individual up and we were in the top-5 most of the year title as he picked up a six-stroke win at the 2015 last year, and then (we have been) in the top-20 photo by allen sharpe SEC Championship. pretty much every year. Being able to improve In total, NeSmith has four individual wins in the program … we have a lot of memories and a Head coach Bill McDonald (left) and Matt NeSmith after he won the 2015 SEC title. his illustrious Gamecock career, including two lot of good times together that we’ll cherish.” this year as he won back-to-back individual Last year, the Gamecocks put together one come back for a fifth year, so that opened up a Scoreboard. During his time before South Caro- medalist honors at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto of the best campaigns in school history as they spot for him. I didn’t even have a spot for him at lina he finished first at the prestigious Southern Intercollegiate in Aiken, South Carolina and recorded a school-record five tournament titles one point.” the General Hackler Championship in Myrtle Cross Tournament in 2011. and advanced to their third straight NCAA A native of Staten Island, New York, Kelly During his sophomore year in the 2013-14 sea- Beach, South Carolina. Championship appearance. The Gamecocks came to South Carolina from Saint Stephen’s Just like Kelly and Starke, NeSmith has been son, Starke really started to emerge as he won were ranked sixth in the final Golfweek/Sagarin Episcopal School where he was a first-team All- the Seahawk Intercollegiate for his inaugural just as strong in the classroom. In fact, like the Rankings of the year. American and ranked as one of the top 50 play- college individual title. other two, the 2015 SCGA Player of the Year “It was an incredible year record-wise,” Mcers in the American Junior Golf Association and was also a 2015 Cleveland Golf/Srixon AllDuring his junior year in the 2014-15 season, Donald told Spurs & Feathers at the end of the Golfweek rankings. America scholar. Starke was one of the best in all of college golf, year. “We set all kinds of records. We really had Kelly arrived as noted by McDonald earlier All three of the Gamecock seniors will be earning Golfweek and Ping All-America acone of those special teams.” than the other two before the 2011-12 season, colades. His scoring average of 70.27 during the playing professional golf next year with Starke This year has been much of the same for the and during his first year he was one of the top earning full exemption on the Mackenzie Tour 2014-15 season is the single-season Gamecock Gamecocks as led by the trio of seniors they freshmen in the SEC. He has been a solid per(PGA TOUR Canada) after winning medalist record. Starke captured individual medalist have won what is right now a program secondformer since arriving, and McDonald was parhonors at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercol- honors in Q-School. NeSmith finished just bebest four tournament titles. ticularly pleased with his efforts last season after legiate last year. hind Starke to earn exemption through the first What has taken place over the last few years he missed the previous year due to a wrist injury. Starke has also been strong in the classroom shuffle, while Kelly tied for 17th to earn condiunder this senior group is not lost on McDonald, This spring sporting one of the top mustaches where in addition to his numerous SEC accotional status. particularly since all came to the program in dif- in all of college golf (really, athletics), Kelly McDonald knows this trio of program-changlades he was also a 2015 Cleveland Golf/Srixon ferent ways. has been playing great golf as he just recently ing golfers are a rarity for their drive on and All-America scholar. “It’s such a long relationship you have with finished in the top-10 individually at the SEC Ranked as the No. 1 junior golfer in the nation off the course, and he will be forever thankful kids like this,” McDonald said. “We started Championship and NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. coming out of North Augusta High School in they chose to come to the University of South recruiting Matt when he was in eighth grade. Through it all, Kelly has been a force in the North Augusta, South Carolina, NeSmith could Carolina. Sean’s dad and I were talking about it the other classroom. In addition to numerous academic “A lot of things have all come together,” have followed his original childhood dream of night how six, seven years ago they were here honors from the SEC, last year Kelly was a McDonald said. “They’ve worked really hard. going to Georgia. However, he chose the Unifor the (South Carolina)-Florida Cleveland Golf/Srixon AllThey’ve been Academic All-Americans as versity of South Carolina. game and he committed right America Scholar. well as doing extremely well on the golf course. But why? Why would the best player in the after and Tebow was playing A local product out of Chapin country turn down schools rich in tradition to go They’re a lot of fun to work with and to travel (for Florida). I get chills when High School in Chapin, South to South Carolina? with. In college golf, you’re very intimate with I think about all of this. Will Carolina, Starke prior to his your team in the sense of how you travel toNeSmith said he wanted to be a part of a All Gamecock golf ended up being here because arrival with the Gamecocks in changing of the tide. He wanted to start a new gether and the amount of time you spend, so as coverage is sponsored by the 2012-13 season was highly tradition and put South Carolina on the map one of my kids when we were a coach it’s just been an enjoyable experience all Jeffers McGill recruiting Will decided not to ranked by the Junior Golf the way to back when we were recruiting them.” when it came to college golf.


Spurs & Feathers • 23

May 25, 2016

Gamecock senior student-athletes cherish ‘bittersweet’ moment Committee (S.A.A.C.). Darby’s great-grandfather, aunt and sister all played sports at South Carolina as well, so she is Fresh off of a night of celebrating every team carrying on the family tradition. and player accomplishment over the last year at “It’s awesome,” Darby said. “I played indoor the annual Gamecock Gala, the South Carolina my freshman year and then I transferred over to senior student-athletes had their own celebrathe new beach program. Started a new legacy tion of sorts at Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday, outdoors with the beach and this year is the first April 26. year of graduates that’s been there since the beThere, the seniors received their rings in a spe- ginning. It’s been pretty awesome.” cial ceremony before heading out on the steps Sean Kelly of the men’s golf team has been a of the arena to take a group picture and separate part of the University for five years and said it’s team pictures. hard to put his experience into words. Now that For that senior group, their time at South Caro- the journey is almost at an end, he’s been enjoylina is winding down and it’s just now setting in. ing the past couple of days. He was named the “It’s a weird feeling and I’ve just been remimale scholar-athlete of the year at the Gamecock niscing more and more on the four years,” Sarah Gala and was sporting an impressive mustache Blomgren of the indoor and beach volleyball up on stage. team said. “It’s crazy looking back and how fast “It’s been a long road and I’m sad that it’s endit goes. It’s definitely bittersweet right now.” ing, but I’m ready to move on to the next part of The whole group of seniors have put in a tremy life too,” Kelly said. mendous amount of work over the last few years And how long will he keep the mustache? both in the classroom and in the field of play. “Until the magic runs out,” Kelly quipped. The University of South Carolina puts a tremenThere are also student-athletes like Ximena dous focus on academics and it’s something the Siles Luna of the women’s tennis team, who student-athletes understand they have to take is an international student from Peru. She left seriously from the moment they step on campus. home to come to South Carolina and while it That work ethic is evident from the success all was an entirely new experience, the four years of the teams have in the classroom year in and she had in Columbia are some she’ll never foryear out. The Academic Progress Rate (APR) get. statistics were released earlier this month and all “I think it was a totally different experience 19 sports were above 950 in multi-year scores and something that I was always looking forfor the fifth-straight year. ward to,” Siles Luna said. “I think it was great “It makes me very proud,” senior associate that everyone helped me in different ways and AD/academics and student development Maria everyone supported me even though I was an Hickman said. “We have a great staff that works international student. I really felt all the support within the Dodie (Academic Enrichment Cenfrom everyone.” ter). They put in a lot of hours. The one thing With how much time is invested in the studentthat I tell a lot of recruits when they come is the athletes, the senior ring and cap and gown one thing that sets us apart from every instituphoto ceremony are not just bittersweet for the tion is that our staff truly cares about you as a students themselves, but also for the administraperson. So when you are invested in that student tors that have been with them every step of the and care about everything they do on and off the journey. court or the field, they have no other reason but “You’re so happy for them, but they really to succeed.” are part of your family and you see them every For the seniors at the ceremony, their reward day at school and it’s sad to see them go away,” for their four or five years of hard work is almost Hickman said. upon them. For a lot of them, they’ve done so Here is a complete list of the graduates by much more than take classes sport (South Carolina Athletics and participate in their sports. Media Relations): Many of the student-athletes BASEBALL: Vince have racked up hundreds of Fiori, Cody Mincey, Marcus hours of community service Mooney, Weber Pike, Matt and they take on other roles Price. within the University as well. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: All Gamecock Litsa Darby of the beach volLitsa Darby, Zuzanna Reszka. leyball team is one of those stu- beach volleyball coverage EQUESTRIAN: Sarah dent-athletes as she is president sponsored by James W. Bouchard, Haiden De Jane, of the Student-Athlete Advisory Smith Real Estate Co. Erin Fry, Samantha Kraus, Ab-

WOMEN’S GOLF: Sarah Schmelzel. MEN’S SOCCER: Wesley Eads, Joey Hutchinson, Devin L’Amoreaux, Jeffrey Torda. WOMEN’S SOCCER: Coryn Bajema, Caroline Gray, Raina Johnson, Stevi Parker, Carly Ray. SOFTBALL: Ansley Ard, Jordan Bizzell, Lauren Masters, Sarah Mooney. MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: Bobby Bittner. photo by allen sharpe WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING: Ashleigh Ferguson, Ellen Johnson, Grace Kaigail Pait, Julianna Richardson, Kelsey Urban. zmierski, Lauren Lamendola, Nicole Mertel, FOOTBALL: Fred Bennett, Jordan Diggs, Brooke Morton, Elise Weisert. Chaz Elder, T.J. Gurley, Abu Lamin, Marcus MEN’S TENNIS: Thiago Pinheiro. Lattimore, Cedrick Malone, Chris Moody, Sean WOMEN’S TENNIS: Ximena Siles Luna. Odom, Devin Potter, Mason Zandi. MEN’S TRACK & FIELD: Sango Asante, MEN’S BASKETBALL: Michael Carrera, Alex Sullivan, Kaleb Zuidema. Laimonas Chatkevicius, Mindaugas Kacinas, WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD: Tyler BrockBrian Steele. ington, Aalayah Faulcon, Gabby Gray, Olivia WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Tiffany Davis, Hassler, Kaleigh Higgins, Ahtyana Johnson, Asia Dozier, Tiffany Mitchell, Khadijah SesChristine Kent, Ashley Miller, Alexis Murphy, sions. Anna Todd, Allie Whitley. MEN’S GOLF: Brendan Gramley, Sean Kelly, VOLLEYBALL: Sarah Blomgren, Darian Matt NeSmith, Will Starke. Dozier, Elizabeth Johnbull.

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24 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Gamecocks end season strongly, hope to carry momentum to next year by kyle heck Reporter

a top-15 program again with a young squad, and I think they tasted it for the first time and were like, ‘this is where we need to be when On the surface, it may appear that there was we compete all the time,’” head coach Josh nothing special about the season the South Goffi said. “It was just a matter of time, and Carolina men’s tennis team had in 2015-16. what we were hoping was that we just had The Gamecocks went 14-15 and finished 4-8 enough season left and enough quality oppoin SEC play, neither record particularly eyenents to realize what we wanted. We came up popping. a little short. We just ran out of season. When However, that doesn’t even begin to tell the you’re playing three top-15 schools in a row, story of the season, and what the Gamecocks and you go 3-for-3 on those in the back end of were almost able to accomplish. a season, that’s kind of like rolling the dice, Fighting injuries to some of its best players I don’t care how well you’re playing. Even all season long, South Carolina was still just if you’re a top-five team, it’s tough to get all two points away from making it to the SEC three of those. We were within two points of Tournament semifinals and punching a ticket doing that.” to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina’s No. 1 player, Gabriel There was no doubt that the Gamecocks Friedrich, underwent surgery in December, struggled earlier in the year, but things finally and it took a while for the redshirt sophomore started to go their way late in the year, and to recover. Due to injuries and taking a year the results backed it up. South Carolina reoff from competing, this season was the first corded back-to-back wins against top-15 Ar- time he played for the Gamecocks. Meankansas, including one that came in the SEC while, Alex Fennell, a transfer from Penn Tournament, and had an excellent chance to State, struggled with back spasms and lower knock off No. 13 Texas A&M in the quarter- back issues throughout the middle of the finals. As mentioned before, the Gamecocks year, which derailed his campaign. were just two points away from a win before However, once those two players got the Aggies charged back to claim the 4-3 win. healthy toward the end of the year, the GameHad the Gamecocks won that match, they cocks showed what kind of team they were, would have guaranteed themselves at least a one that was full of talented, young players. .500 record and a trip to the NCAA TournaHarrison O’Keefe led the Gamecocks with ment. 31 overall wins, including seven at the No. “We felt like we were starting to become 3 spot in SEC singles. Thomas Mayronne

subpar in his mind, and that’s the tenacity that he needs and that he had this year to get there.” The Gamecocks will return every single player next year, which obviously has Goffi and the coaching staff excited for the future. The sophomores and juniors this season will become juniors and seniors next year, upperclassmen that know what it takes to fight through adversity and still produce good results. Six different times this past year, the Gamecocks lost by a 4-3 score, which is the closest a match can get. With more experience in those pressure situations next year, South Carolina appears to be in good shape to come out on top in those close matches, which could turn the Gamecocks into an elite team. photo by allen sharpe “We’ll be more of a mature team next year, which is important for us,” Goffi said. “This added 28 wins while Fennell had 25. Three season gave us the necessary experiences other players had at least 20 wins, including of pushing through the adversity. We put Friedrich, who recorded an 8-11 record at No. ourselves in the situations and we may not 1 singles despite the injury problems. That have come out on top for certain reasons, but was good enough for him to make secondthe more you’re up there, the more familiar team All-SEC and earn a spot in the upcom- you are, and the more comfortable you are in ing NCAA Singles Championship, which those situations.” begin May 25 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Knowing they’ve seen a glimpse of what “He’s a feisty dude on the court,” Goffi said they have the ability to do, the Gamecocks of Friedrich. “He has very high standards for are eagerly looking toward the future. himself that we need to help him maintain “I think there’s a fire in everyone’s belly throughout his career. That’s what makes him right now that we just want next year to start so good. He doesn’t allow himself to ever be quickly,” Goffi said.

Muschamp talks SEC East chances and more by kyle heck Reporter South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp understands that there are a lot of unknowns about his team, but he’s also seen the potential from the players, both newcomers and veterans. Earlier in the spring, Muschamp stated that the Gamecocks have the talent to win the SEC East. On Wednesday, May 4, during a spring wrap-up SEC teleconference call, the first-year South Carolina coach reiterated that anything can happen if the players buy in and the pieces fall into place. “If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t say it,” Muschamp said. “There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ involved in that, but I do believe it and I’ve talked to our players about it. Again,

there’s a lot of ‘ifs’ out there, and we need to go find a way to get it done.” Muschamp conceded that a lot of things have to go right for that to happen, including limiting the amount of injuries during the season, but is excited about the future regardless, especially with the improvement he saw in spring practice. “I thought we improved throughout spring from practice one to 15,” Muschamp said. “We made a lot of strides on both sides of the ball. We still have a long way to go, but the summer is really important for our players as far as really the structure and organization. The buy-in of our players with the new staff and new coaches, schemes and terminology has been outstanding. I’ve been really pleased with their buy-in and attitude and work ethic. They’ve embraced everything that we’ve

asked them to do. Credit (former) coach (Steve) Spurrier and his staff for the type of character kids that are on our campus right now.” As Muschamp stated, with summer fast approaching, the next few months will be an extremely important time for the football team. It will also be an important time for a topic that has garnered a lot of national headlines recently, and that’s satellite camps. With the ruling recently that teams could now hold those camps after the NCAA previously banned them, Muschamp and his staff are planning on taking advantage of the opportunity. Muschamp listed Georgia, North Carolina and Florida as states where South Carolina is planning on holding camps, but also noted the importance of not losing the value of campus visits to Columbia.

“We’re able to get out and see some guys and get off of our campus at times, but I think the most important thing is to get them on our campus and showing them what we’re about,” Muschamp said. “We will get out. We have a good plan in place.” The new staff has made it no secret that they’re going to put a big emphasis on instate recruiting as well. Nine coaches with the team are constantly scouring the state for talent and Muschamp has made it a point to build good relationships with high school coaches across South Carolina. “Our staff needs to get out and roll our sleeves up and go to work in the state,” Muschamp said. “I think it’s important for all of our coaches to have relationships in the state of South Carolina. We’ve got a lot of good football players and there’s a lot of good coaches.”


Spurs & Feathers • 25

May 25, 2016

Swanson has high expectations for Gamecock volleyball by brian hand Executive Editor South Carolina head volleyball coach Scott Swanson cannot hide his excitement. When talking with him about the prospects of the 2016 season, it’s obvious he knows he has a special group. “I always have really high expectations,” Swanson said. “What I will say is, I’m truly and honestly more excited about this coming fall than any other fall that I’ve been here because now all of the hard work is showing. It’s a pay off. A lot of that has to do with just the leadership coming back and the fact that we got an outstanding transfer from Charlotte (Abreia Epps), who is tearing it up. We have a kid coming in that could be playing at any top-10 school in the country, and she’s playing for us. We have a setter coming in that could have gone a lot of places too. The kids that are joining are joining battle-tested veterans that we’ve trained them and they’re really good, so it’s a great combo.” This past spring during their offseason preparations, Swanson feels like his team took full advantage of their time together. “For us, it was technical and mental improvement,” Swanson said. “When I say mental improvement, I mean just confidence in their skills and how they do it, how they

repeat doing it the right way over and over. Really trying to hammer that stuff home. The spring is less pressure, but it’s more information, more lifting, more running and more reps. We wanted to make sure we stayed healthy, that was another big thing that we reached like champs. No one got hurt.” The Gamecocks had a strong spring against outside competition, but to Swanson the biggest takeaway from the spring is how close his team has become. “I felt like we reached the majority of our goals,” Swanson said. “The last one - and maybe the most important one - is we solidified a team culture like we’ve never had before. The chemistry, the leadership, the willingness to go out and do the community service that they did and win that award and to hold each other accountable in the weight room and the gym, it’s makes us as coaches really, really proud of how far we’ve come, and now we’re ready to see what that looks like in the fall.” To Swanson, the camaraderie that as noted by him resulted in his team being named the South Carolina Community Outreach Team of the Year for the fourth time is due to having a grouping of seniors that know what it takes. “I think it’s a product of having five girls

next year one of those really memorable years.” Due to NCAA rules, obviously Swanson and his coaching staff will not have the opportunity to work with their teams again until the start of preseason practices in August, but he knows his group will be working hard prior to stay in volleyball shape over the course of the summer. “A good chunk of them are going to take both summer sessions, which I think is a huge advantage,” Swanson said. “They’ll be with (volleyball strength and conditioning coach) Ryan Waterbury all summer. They’ll have the ability to get in the gym, and whether they’re a setter, a passer or a hitter, they’ll get a lot of quality reps and play with each other. The whole team will be here all of summer two. They’ll also be lifting, playing on their own, and doing all of that too, so if they do it like they did it last summer, I photo by jenny dilworth think we’re going to be really, really happy with the team that steps on the floor in Authat are going to be seniors next year,” gust when we report.” Swanson said. “They’ve got it figured out. Overall once again, Swanson knows that When you have numbers like that and when things are shaping up quite nicely for Gamea third of your team has been through this cock volleyball. for three years already, it’s a big advantage. “We’ll be more talented than we’ve ever You add up their ages, and that’s a really been, and that excites me because you cougood number in volleyball language. I feel ple the talent with the experience and good like they know what they need to do to make things can happen,” Swanson said.

Special night for Junior Gamecocks ball,” executive director of the Gamecock Club Patrick McFarland said. “They’re excited to come out here and see Cocky, and Every year, there is a Junior Gamecock they get to eat, and it’s just a fun day. Our Club event prior to a baseball game at Lexington Gamecocks do a very good job Founders Park. It’s a chance for young with their junior club. It’s just a perfect day Gamecock fans and their families to enjoy to have them out here at the park.” some food and good times before and during As always, it takes a lot of work to put on the game. these kind of events, and Moss was quick The sixth annual event on Saturday, May to thank her fellow Lexington members 14, prior to South Carolina’s game against and the Gamecock Club for helping put it Texas A&M was quite a bit different from together. previous years. Instead of sitting in general The experience of sitting in great seats admission seats, the youngsters and their is something that the children will likely families were treated to a spot on the Coca- remember for a very long time, and the LexCola picnic terrace out in left field. ington Gamecocks know acts of kindness There, they received a fantastic view of and appreciation could go a long way. the field, while still enjoying the good food, “It’s very important,” Moss said. “These courtesy of Centerplate. The Lexington junior Gamecocks are our future Gamecock County Gamecocks host the event every Nation. The more we do for them, that’s year, and wanted to make it even better this going to establish that tradition in their go-round. families and the history of it. You never “Everyone has had a real good, positive re- know which one of these junior Gamecocks sponse,” said Robbin Moss of the Lexington may be our next Gene Cone or our next County Gamecocks. “We enjoy hosting it Marcus Lattimore or our next Nickie Blue. and catering to our future Gamecocks.” You never know when they may say, ‘hey, The event is always a special one each I remember when I was back in the Junior year, and it’s something the children obviGamecock Club and they would do this stuff ously look forward to. for us and show their appreciation, so I’m “It’s fun to see the kids come out for base- going to go to Carolina and play a sport.’”

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26 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

Martin praises work of staff in bringing in top-notch recruiting class by brian hand Executive Editor

all the assistant coaches,” Martin said. “We didn’t anticipate what happened at the end of the year happening. It’s not like we said, ‘hey, At the conclusion of a historic 2015-16 at the end of the year, we’re going to have to season for South Carolina men’s basketball sign four guys, so let’s go figure out who these the circumstances unexpectedly changed for four guys are.’ Unfortunately, a situation took Frank Martin and the South Carolina men’s place, and I’m worried about coaching games basketball staff as they had to add some more and preparing practice and watching film, and names to the 2016-17 roster than was origiwhen I saw that went down, I went to the staff nally anticipated. and I said, ‘alright men, we’ve got to prepare South Carolina since that for A, B and C.’ For those point in time has put together guys to have done legwork one of the elite recruiting with so many good players to classes in all of college basthen allow us to once scholarketball, and Martin knows ships were available to then that is a true credit to his be able to engage in an all-out staff. recruiting effort where it’s not All Gamecock basketball just entertaining it’s reality, “When I say these things, I coverage sponsored by think a lot of people kind of we pretty much hit a home Yesterdays take it for granted, (but) it’s run because we got the guys

photo by jenny dilworth

we went after and that’s a credit to our staff.” Earlier on the same day that Martin talked about this at the Spartanburg stop on the #SpursUp tour, the Gamecocks officially announced that 7-foot-1 center Khadim Gueye had joined the program.

“Khadim, we all call him KG, he’s as big as a house, and he runs and he’s a competitor,” Martin said. “He’s an elite shot blocker, something that we’ve needed. He’s going to bring tremendous value defensively. The way we use our bigs, we don’t have our bigs dribble and try to shoot threes and all kinds of crazy stuff, so the way we use our bigs he fits in real good. He’s got improving to do on offense, but he’s a worker, and our guards are going to be ecstatic having someone like him behind them protecting the basket.” Gueye is the fifth spring signee (and sixh overall) to be officially announced in the spring of 2016, joining guard Hassani Gravett, guard Kory Holden, guard Rakym Felder and forward Maik-Kalev Kotsar. Forward Sedee Keita had joined the Gamecocks during the early signing period in November of 2015.

Smith: ‘Our girls did a tremendous job this spring’ by brian hand Executive Editor

There is no doubt that South Carolina women’s soccer is one of the top programs in the country. The Gamecocks have made eight of the last nine NCAA Tournaments, and last year the Gamecocks were ranked in the top-25 for the entire regular-season. Most programs might consider being ranked in the top-25 all year a great season. South Carolina knows that is special, but for a program that just one year earlier had played in the Elite Eight, bowing out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at home was not the way they wanted to end the season. The Gamecocks were in the top-10 nationally and leading the SEC for a great deal of the 2015 season, but injuries unfortunately derailed what was shaping up to be another elite season. “You want to be peaking towards the end of the season and we peaked in the middle,” South Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelley Smith told Spurs & Feathers after the end of the 2015 season. Once again, most programs would do anything to accomplish what South Carolina did this past season. South Carolina overall concluded 2015 with a record of 12-5-3 (9-2 at home). The Gamecocks were 6-3-2 in the always incredibly tough SEC. After the 2015 season ended unexpectedly

a little bit better in some things that they want to do to contribute to the team to be better for the next year. They had their own focus, but also getting all of them to contribute and play and to get younger players that may not have as many opportunities in the fall to get more experience, so we’re that much better in the fall when they are called upon.” One of the keys of offseason preparations for any team is using the time to figure out what players fit best where and incorporating newcomers into the fold, and that is exactly photo by allen sharpe how South Carolina women’s soccer utilized this spring. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, “We had lost a lot of defenders, so we defiSmith said that she felt that the spring of 2016 nitely had players that were playing in the back was going to be incredibly important for her for the first time and stepping up and doing program, and at the conclusion of this spring, what they could to help the team,” Smith said. she is more than impressed with the way her “That may not be where they play, but we team responded. rotated some people through there, so they got “Our girls did a tremendous job this spring,” some good experience in some different areas. Smith said. “You could see a progression from It was also nice to see the freshmen goalkeepthe start of spring until the end. They put some ers have a chance to play. That’s a brand new tremendous plays together on the field. They position for us. Having a freshman get a spring were focused, they were determined, they with Mikayla (Krzeczowski), and then Hunter clicked, so that was nice to see.” (Peifer) to come back off injury and get to now The Gamecocks obviously had some come to play after redshirting in the fall, that matches against outside competition during was valuable.” the spring, but that is definitely not the most Due to NCAA rules, the Gamecock women’s important part of the offseason practices for soccer coaching staff can obviously not have the team. much contact with their team until they return “Obviously this spring we weren’t focused for preseason camp in August, which means on results,” Smith said. “We were focused on the team will be working hard with women’s the process, and every player would come in soccer strength and conditioning coach Alex

Buchman for the next few months. “They finished the spring on a good note, and they are motivated to continue working,” Smith said. “A lot of them are going to stay in the area and take advantage of the facilities here and working with the strength coach. They were given something to follow through the summer, so to have him to ask questions when needed that will be great to be able to push each other through those hard workouts. It makes you that much better come August. I know they’re all excited to be here and be here together. It adds also to the camaraderie of a team. I don’t have to worry about the team and necessarily how they do anymore. It’s sometimes a question, but when they all come back and are together, we know that they’re going to be ready and prepared.” Smith knows the next few months are crucial to the success of the upcoming 2016 season. “It’s always a question to see the health of your team and to see how the freshmen adjust when they get here,” Smith said. “We are hoping to get some valuable time from freshmen right away. Obviously one spot is the goalkeeping spot, but also on the field players that are coming in, so you hope that once you see them in August that things are the way that you think they will be. That is always the nerve-racking part of our fall sport, but I have all of the confidence in the players that are here and returning that they will help lead and guide those younger players, and have us ready and prepared to go the first day.”


Spurs & Feathers • 27

May 25, 2016

Student-athletes get rare opportunity to dress up and celebrate each other at Gamecock Gala by kyle heck Reporter

Being a student-athlete takes up a lot of time. So much so that much of their time is spent either on the athletic fields or courts or in the Dodie Academic Enrichment Center studying. That’s why events like the Gamecock Gala on Monday, April 25, are so special and something that every student-athlete looks forward to every year. It’s a chance to get out of the jerseys and uniforms and show off your own personal style. Girls break out their best dresses and guys put on their best suits, with all kinds of color combinations. “This is a pretty fun night,” Clarke Schmidt of the baseball team said. “We get to take off our uniforms, and get together as one big family with all of these athletes. We always see each other on campus and at the Dodie and doing stuff together, but we never get one chance to get together and get to hang out together, so this is real fun for us.” Because they’re so busy, the student-athletes not only have very few chances to dress up, but they also don’t get many opportunities to interact with members of other athletic teams. Being a student-athlete means being part of a fraternity, so any chance to catch up and see how other student-athletes are doing is a welcome opportunity. “We don’t really get to do this as a group probably ever,” said the MVP of the men’s golf team and male athlete of the year, Matt NeSmith. “We do it as a class when we have student-athlete orientation, so you see some people. But it’s kind of cool to see people grow. It’s really cool to get everyone together for a night and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments over the year.” Shonda Cole and Brad Muller emceed the event, which was full of funny twists and great moments. There were videos of coaches reading the tweets of student-athletes and studentathletes attempting to play other sports. Sam Swank of the men’s tennis team also came on stage to present the superlative award winners, cracking a few jokes in the process. MVP’s of every team were announced as well as the President’s Award winner, who was Tiffany Mitchell of the women’s basketball team. In another great moment, Emily Ball of the women’s soccer team received the inspiration award. She never played for the Gamecocks because of various injuries, but still persevered to make an impact off the field. It was clear that a lot of people were enjoying themselves at the Gamecock Gala and Deebo Samuel of the football team was one of those people. He walked in wearing a red jacket and

photo by allen sharpe

bow tie to go with a pair of sparkly, dark-red shoes. “I normally wear clothes like this,” Samuel commented. There were a lot of different outfits, which meant there were a lot of pictures taken. “You see everyone out here grinning and smiling and people going back and forth taking pictures, it’s a lot,” Samuel added. Jim and Rebecca Schaper took home the prestigious Garnet Award, which symbolizes passion and devotion for Gamecock athletics. Jim, who is a former track and field All-American at South Carolina, and his wife have long given their financial support to South Carolina athletics. While there were some student-athletes who will get to experience at least one more Gamecock Gala, for others this was their last opportunity to take in the special event. The seniors have spent at least four years at South Carolina and have built up memories with teammates and other student-athletes that they’ll never forget. “The University of South Carolina is one of the best schools in the country,” Khadijah Sessions of the women’s basketball team said. “It’s been amazing and Gamecock Nation has

made it even more amazing.”

en’s basketball)

List of award winners for the 2016 GameTeam MVPs cock Gala Men’s Basketball: Michael Carrera SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Award: Stevi Women’s Basketball: A’ja Wilson Parker (women’s soccer), Kevin Leithold Beach Volleyball: Macie Tendrich and Katie (men’s swimming and diving) Reilly SEC Brad Davis Community Service Cross Country: Mary Reiser Award: Olivia Hassler (women’s track and Equestrian: Abigail Pait field), Bobby Bittner (men’s swimming and Football: Pharoh Cooper diving) Men’s Golf: Matt NeSmith New Student-Athletes of the Year: Emma Women’s Golf: Katelyn Dambaugh Barksdale (women’s swimming and diving), Men’s Soccer: Danny Deakin David Winters (men’s track and field) Women’s Soccer: Stevi Parker Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Stevi Parker Softball (2015 season): Alaynie Page (women’s soccer)/Lauren Lamendola (womMen’s Swim/dive: Akaram Mahmoud en’s swimming and diving), Sean Kelly (men’s Women’s Swim/dive: Julia Vincent golf) Men’s Tennis: Harrison O’Keefe Community Outreach Team of the Year: InWomen’s Tennis: Hadley Berg door Volleyball Men’s Track/field (indoor): Dondre Echols Athletes of the Year: A’ja Wilson (women’s Men’s Track/field (outdoor/2015): Jussi basketball), Akaram Mahmoud (men’s swim- Kanervo ming and diving)/Matt NeSmith (men’s golf) Women’s Track/field (indoor): Natasha Dicks Gamecock Inspiration Award: Emily Ball Women’s Track/field (outdoor/2015): Jean(women’s soccer) nelle Scheper The Garnet Award: Jim and Rebecca Volleyball: Sarah Blomgren Schaper Carolina Girls Dance Team: Taylor DuPree President’s Award: Tiffany Mitchell (womCheerleading: Megan Kunkel


28 • Spurs & Feathers

May 25, 2016

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Spurs & Feathers • 29

May 25, 2016

Gamecocks set new standard in the classroom

South Carolina ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS

Student-athletes at the University of South Carolina set a departmental GPA record by earning a 3.278 for the spring semester, it was announced recently. It marked the 19th-consecutive semester in which the student-athletes have combined for a GPA above a 3.0. Two teams earned their highest GPA to date - Women’s Swimming & Diving (3.733) and Women’s Soccer (3.637). Women’s Swimming & Diving also earned bragging rights by being the GPA leader for teams in the department. Baseball (3.186) earned its highest team GPA in season, while Women’s Golf (3.717) recorded its third consecutive semester with the team GPA above a 3.7. Fifteen of the eighteen teams earned a 3.0 or better GPA. The department named 78 student-athletes to the President’s

List, 179 to the Dean’s List, and 386 to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.0). Seventy-six student-athletes received their diplomas, with an additional 10 on track to graduate in August. Students also completed a record setting 11,153 hours of community service during the academic year. “Our students work very hard in the classroom to achieve their goals and as a result the department has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success,” said Maria Hickman, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Student Development. “We have a great staff in the Dodie Academic Enrichment Center that contributes to this success.” Sport Baseball Men’s Basketball

GPA 3.186 3.093

Women’s Basketball Beach Volleyball Equestrian Football Men’s Golf Women’s Golf Men’s Soccer Women’s Soccer Softball Men’s Swimming & Diving Women’s Swimming & Diving Men’s Tennis Women’s Tennis Men’s Track & Field Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Volleyball

2.904 3.650 3.526 2.855 3.542 3.717 3.332 3.637 3.456 3.348 3.733 3.316 3.645 2.906 3.370 3.335

Brown putting own mark on USC Association of Lettermen as president by kyle heck Reporter

While being a standout wide receiver for South Carolina from 2006-09, Moe Brown was already thinking about his future, and that future was going to be at the University of South Carolina. When he was still in school, Brown sometimes found himself looking for advice or wisdom from someone who had gone through what he was currently going through as a student-athlete, and that wasn’t always there. Because of that, Brown decided that he wanted to stick around after college and help provide that support to future studentathletes. “When I finished up, it was important to me to be a face to those guys who were potentially going through the same things I was going through and letting them know that it’s not the first time it’s going to happen, and it’s not the last time it’s going to happen,” Brown said. “You’re going to be alright and maybe (there are) some hurdles I can prevent them having to clear from telling them my experiences. It was really important to me.” Brown’s influence on student-athletes has continued since then, and at the beginning of 2016, Brown made a big leap and became the new president of the USC Association of Lettermen. He took over for Ryan Brewer and said he’s learned a lot since joining the USC Association of Lettermen board in 2011. Brown knew his time was coming as he was the president-elect previously. “Technically I’m supposed to be presidentelect this year, but the person who was in

and use whatever advice that I could give to them,” Brown said. Brown plans on doing much of the same as president of the USC Association of Lettermen. He wants to continue to provide that support to student-athletes while also putting his own mark on the association before former women’s basketball player Britanna Wilson takes over in 2017. “I’m very excited,” Brown said. “I’m under no illusion that everything I had on my mind and every idea I had is going to be implemented this year. My biggest focus is setting a foundation so that when Brit comes in next year, it’s seamless. One of the biggest focuses is on the community service side. We all did community service as student-athletes and I thought it made zero sense for us not to do it as an association because I feel like we should be an extension of who we were as student-athletes.” Brown considers himself lucky that he’s submitted photo taking over the association during the first Gamecock football great Moe Brown is pictured with South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. year of the Will Muschamp era for football. The new coach has already made it clear that reaching out to former student-athletes is a front of me ended up having other obligaHe goes to practices and hangs out in the priority, and that’s obviously something that tions that pulled them away from the assoweight room to make sure that he’s always ciation, which bumped me up a year,” Brown near if someone needs advice or wants to ask Brown holds dear to his heart. “You can tell he understands how imporsaid. “Prior to that it was Ryan Brewer, who a question. did an outstanding job and is continuing to Former receiver and current Carolina Pan- tant it is to have that strong alumni base,” Brown said. “These are the guys that can do an outstanding job. It’s not a decision I ther Damiere Byrd is a recent player that make without consulting him first and ask Brown took under his wing, saying that Byrd hold the current student-athletes to a different level of accountability than even the for his input along with the other board “reminded me a lot of myself.” He isn’t the coach. I know he gets that because of the members.” only one though, as Brown has been a treaction that he has put in place. I’m just very The responsibility has been a long time mendous help to a lot of people. excited to see where we’re at five years from coming for Brown, who has stuck around “Just really being a constant figure so that now looking back.” and provided a voice to the student-athletes. they know they can lean on me, trust me


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May 25, 2016

Commitment to hard work helps reunite Shingler and Martin by brad muller South Carolina Director of Content Assistant coach Bruce Shingler may be new to the South Carolina men’s basketball program, but he is no rookie when it comes to understanding the expectations of head coach Frank Martin. Having previously worked with Martin at Kansas State, Shingler is thrilled to be a part of his staff at South Carolina. “I’m all about winning and growing,” Shingler said. “I want to bring as much energy as I can to the program, to the athletics department and into the community. I am excited about putting in maximum effort. I’m ready to work hard and spend a lot of time with the guys, on and off the court. I want to build great relationships with them, and help Frank continue to build the product he has already been building here. I see a winning future for a lot of years at South Carolina.” “When you start hiring guys who you gave their first break, it means you’re lucky because it means you’ve been in the business for a while,” Martin said. “We lost someone that was valuable to us in (former assistant coach) Lamont Evans, and we had to find somebody who could come in and understand our culture and values. We’re lucky enough that Bruce was out there, and he was willing to be a part of the family again.” Shingler had spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at Towson University in Maryland, and he noted that his relationship with Martin goes beyond that of being a friend or a boss. “He is a mentor,” Shingler said. “He gave me my first job in the coaching business, and he has been a guy who I have leaned on, whether it was for something with basketball or even personal things. Our relationship is really tight, and that’s why I think it will be a comfortable adjustment for me because I know I will be working for a guy who is not only a great person, but a great friend. “He helped me get the job at Towson. He knew (Towson University Head Coach) Pat Skerry. He made some calls and helped me get

throwing balls all around the gym, and there was Bruce putting three guys through drills. He was about 25 years old, and he had the attention of the 16 year olds with all of these distractions. They never missed a beat of what he was saying. That immediately drew me to him because he was so young, but he already commanded the respect of those kids with so many distractions.” Now that he’s back with his mentor, Shingler is excited to put what he has learned to work for the Gamecocks. “What I’ve learned from Frank is that hard work pays off,” Shingler said. “When we were at Kansas State, he talked a lot about remainthe job there. We kept in touch. He wanted me thank him for the impact he has made on their ing focused and giving your all in everything you do, whether it is coaching, in the film to grow, and my experiences have allowed me lives. I think that is a major attribute that he room, in the weight room or in the classroom. to grow and be better as a coach. So when his has. He builds strong relationships and is a call came, I was thankful and so appreciative remarkable coach. My strength is making his He is all about maximum effort, and that’s one just to be considered.” job easier. I spend a lot of time with the players of the things I took with me from a coaching “When you have someone fully commiton and off the court, making sure that they are perspective and a recruiting perspective. You have to be the hardest worker on the recruiting ted to all the right things, such as work ethic, physically and mentally prepared.” honesty, loyalty, commitment and all the It was Shingler’s role as a teacher and coach trails as well as in the gym with the guys.” Likewise, Martin noted that he never stops things that matter, it’s your duty to help them at Bladensburg High School (Md.) a decade trying to learn from those around him. move forward in the business,” Martin said. ago that first gave Martin some insight into “You learn from your players,” Martin said. “It’s the only way they grow. It’s sort of like his abilities. Martin walked into a busy high “You learn from your assistants. You learn raising children in that you try to give them school gym where Shingler was working out from your staff members and your bosses. I direction and teach values, but eventually you a few players amidst many other after school don’t have life figured out, and anyone thinks have to open up that front door and say ‘go.’ activities going on simultaneously. You have to trust they have been prepared to “I was coaching high school basketball, and that they do, is in deep trouble. The most important skill that I possess is the ability to make the right decision, and always know that there was a kid that he was recruiting when listen. Listening makes me think. Thinking your home is there for them when they need it. he was at K-State,” Shingler recalled. “I was makes my brain grow. I don’t want to surround That’s what happened with Bruce. He helped teaching ninth grade English and coaching. myself with people who think I have all the to turn that program around at Towson. They Frank came in, and right away I think he answers, because I don’t. I’m like everyone had a long losing streak, and they turned it could see how hard I was working with this around to win the conference. He was a big kid. Frank came from a high school coaching else who is searching for answers. I want to surround myself with people who are willing part of that.” background, so he appreciates the effort that Shingler fits the mold that Martin has cast in goes into a teaching and coaching background to share their views and ideas with me so I can continue to grow as a person creating a family dynamic within the program. at the high school level. From too. “Having that family aspect in your program then on, we built a relation“All of those people aren’t with core family values builds trust,” Shinship, and when he had a posihere to say ‘yes’ to me. They gler said. “When you build that trust, it helps tion available, things worked are here to challenge me in conquer a lot of issues before they become itself out in his first year at my thinking every single day problems. Kansas State.” so they can help me. If they “Frank has an uncanny ability to bring the “There were kids who had All Gamecock basketball help me, and I help them, then best out of his players, and not just from a bas- nothing to do with basketball obviously we’ll help the playcoverage sponsored by ketball perspective. There are so many guys just flying around the gym,” ers.” Yesterdays who come back after they have graduated and Martin recalled. “They are

Merrifield makes Major League debut with the Royals south carolina athletics media Relations Whit Merrifield (2008-10) became the 48th Gamecock to make it to the Majors as he made his debut on Wednesday, May 18, as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Merrifield went 1-for-3 at the plate with his first career hit in the bottom of the fifth inning. Merrifield is one of five former Gamecocks currently in the Big Leagues. Merri-

field played against former Gamecock teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. (2009-11) of All Gamecock baseball the Boston coverage sponsored by Red Sox in DiPrato’s the game. Right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson (2008-10) is with

the Texas Rangers with infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce (2004-05) with the Tampa Bay Rays and first baseman Justin Smoak (2006-08) with the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield is the fifth member of the 2010 national championship team to have reached the Majors. Bradley, Dyson, Michael Roth and Christian Walker have all seen time in “The Show.” Roth currently is pitching in Triple-A with the Texas Rangers with Walker in Triple-A with the Baltimore Orioles.

south carolina athletics media relations


Spurs & Feathers • 31

May 25, 2016

What a difference a year makes What a difference a year makes. Now that the Gamecock baseball team is winning more games and in the hunt for a SEC regular season championship. That does help. The weather has been tremendous! Not too hot, and in particular, not too cold. There is nothing better than sitting in the stands and watching baseball and being comfortable, drinking a Coke (diet preferably) and eating peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or whatever your favorite concession food). Last year was just miserable. It was cold every series, or so it seemed. It didn’t warm up until June. Then, of course, it was 100 degrees, but Gamecock Baseball was over by then. It is interesting the correlation of winning and warm weather seems to go hand and hand. Would last season have been bearable if the team had been winning? We will never know. I have no scienEd Girardeau tific facts, but give Contributing me nice South Editor Carolina days and I’ll show you a pretty good baseball team. Case in point, this year’s team won its 42nd game of the season on Saturday, May 21, winning another series on the road by sweeping Alabama. USC finishes the regular season 20-9 in SEC play, a game ahead of top ranked Florida and the winner of the SEC East, but falls short of the SEC regular season championship by a half game, as Mississippi State finished 21-9. Texas A&M finished a half game behind the Gamecocks at 20-10. This puts South Carolina in a position to be a national seed and in line to host a Super Regional. One would think that a team that finishes ahead of the No. 1 ranked Gators (and the odds on number one national seed), would make USC a shoo-in. If we learned anything from the basketball season, you can’t depend on anything to be a slam dunk. Most polls have seven SEC teams ranked in the top-10, so losing in the postseason tournament is probably not a good idea. A good showing in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama next week would certainly put USC in a position to be one of the top eight. Weather aside, certainly an influx of new position players have helped this year’s team to its turnaround. Most notably, to me, is Jonah Bride at third base, who has been terrific defensively and brings a solid bat from the right

photo by jenny dilworth

side, and Dom Thompson-Williams (DTW for I think, will be looked back on as a turning short), who is a good looking hitter at the plate point of the season. The Aggies had won the from the left side and plays a solid outfield, first two games and USC, playing at home, had whether in center or left. to win that game. Finding themselves down Throw in right fielder Gene Cone, who set a early, Reagan came in and held Texas A&M at Gamecock record for consecutive games with bay while the bats came to life, led by DTW’s at least one hit earlier in the year, and has betwo home runs, and picked up the win. come a solid leadoff hitter. He had to battle in Looking back, which all true Gamecocks the preseason for the starting job and solidified like to do, the 2010 team did not do well in that nicely. the SEC Tournament and came in dragging The pitching has also been solid and appears a bit into the regional in Columbia. USC did to be getting better. Clarke Schmidt has been what they had to do, won, and went to Myrtle strong all season as the Friday Beach for the Super Regional, starter, will be an All-SEC won that, and then, after beselection, and is up for several ing down to their last strike, national awards. managed to come back, beat Tyler Johnson coming out Oklahoma, dispatch Clemson, of the bullpen along with Josh and beat UCLA for that first Reagan have been good closNational Championship title. ers and got better as the year Along the way, a little used All Gamecock baseball progressed. Reagan’s relief pitcher named Michael Roth coverage sponsored by appearance on Sunday against emerged and played a key DiPrato’s Texas A&M to get the win, role, beating Clemson and

helping USC win the College World Series. We all know what he was able to accomplish in the following two years, but he really came out of nowhere to help Carolina win that first one. Will new players emerge in this run? It’s possible. That’s the beauty of baseball. Most of the time there are peaks and valleys along the way. This team has certainly had those. I don’t think anyone would argue that this team has improved overall as the season has progressed. Can they put a run together and get back to the World Series? I would not bet against them. The Gamecocks have played the best teams in the country along the way and have put themselves in a position to make another run. The good news is the weather is projected to be nice, probably warming up. Here’s hoping the Gamecocks warm up with the weather and play their best ball of the season in the weeks ahead. What a difference a year makes.


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May 25, 2016

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