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Gamecocks Return for All-Sports Reunion

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A new part of the Carolina Homecoming festivities this year was our All-Sports Reunion. Student-athletes who graduated in ten year intervals (1961, 1971, 1981, etc) were invited to return for a weekend of events, including a reception, a tour of Williams-Brice, a gameday party and being recognized on the field during halftime of the football game vs. Florida. Gamecock Club Director Patrick McFarland said the department was excited to organize the reunion.

 "The reunions are a fantastic way to reach out to our former student athletes," said McFarland. "The University of South Carolina is a huge part of their lives as they spent a great deal of time here competing and earning an education. We want them to return and continue to feel a part of the successes we have here and know they are a part of the athletics department and will always be a Gamecock."

For some this is their first chance to return since their time here as student-athletes. Martin Small, who played baseball and graduated in 1981, said that he decided to participate in the reunion because he loves the university and has a lot of great memories here. He saw it as a "great opportunity to get back."  Small is familiar with the experience of going to Omaha, he and his brothers all played on teams that made the College World Series. His brothers were members of the runner up teams in 1975 and 1977. He wanted to avoid sounding "corny," but when asked about the Gamecocks' current success, Smalls admitted that it brought tears to his eyes.

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Small with his family and AD Eric Hyman at the reception

Beverly Hawkins-Anderson (Women's Basketball, class of 1981) is now a coach herself. She chose to attend the reunion to see people that she hasn't seen in over 20 years. Hawkins-Anderson praised current coach Dawn Staley on her ability to recruit in-state players and hopes that her daughter, who is eleven, will be able to play under Staley in the future.

Jennifer Wood and several other members of the 2001 Equestrian class were present. Wood said the team had originally picked the same weekend to have an Equestrian team reunion.

"Fortunately it coincided with the [All-Sports] reunion and it was awesome," said Wood.

 The team was amazed to see how far the Equestrian program has come since they graduated. Wood pointed out the new facilities and that the Gamecocks "have some of the most talented riders in the country."

 "I was so excited to get the postcard. I haven't been back in a number of years and I haven't seen a game in quite some time," said former football player Curtis Godwin. Godwin was joined by his wife whom he met while at USC. During the tour of the football stadium, Godwin was surprised by the extent of the changes that have been made since he graduated in 1991. "I got completely turned around and couldn't find my way out," joked Godwin. During his time here, Godwin played under current defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who was then in his first stint coaching at Carolina.

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Alumni line up by class to be recognized at halftime.

 "The reunion was an incredible event that all who attended enjoyed," said Toni Karl, Stewardship Coordinator for the Gamecock Club.  "Many attendees were overwhelmed with all the improvements."

The next reunion for former Gamecock student-athletes will be for the "2's" (classes of 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982, etc.) If you were a student-athlete who graduated in one of these years, please contact Toni Karl at tonik@sc.edu if you would like to be included in next year's reunion.


Written by student assistant Rebecca Duensing
Photos courtesy of Allen Sharpe

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