The mood was festive this afternoon in The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium.
In what university president Dr. Harris Pastides described as perhaps "the world's worst-kept secret", former head baseball coach Ray Tanner was named the new Director of Athletics at South Carolina, effective August 2, 2012.
The two-time National Championship winning baseball coach took the podium after his introduction to thank the Board of Trustees, the advisory board, and Dr. Pastides, then got a little choked up expressing his appreciation for his wife, Karen, and their three children, all sitting in the front row.
Tanner will take the helm of our athletics program during a time of great success over the past few years, with more exciting things on the horizon.
"I'm very excited to begin my new role as we continue on our path to give Carolina forward momentum," said Tanner. "It is imperative that we stay on track as we compete in the SEC and nationally. As you all know, we have tremendous coaches across all sports, and we have a great administrative staff here in place."
Tanner announced two new assignments within the athletics staff, thanking them for stepping up to help him lead the department. Charles Waddell will move into the role of Deputy Athletics Director, while Kevin O'Connell will take over as Chief Operating Officer for the department.
Tanner told a story of his time at NC State under Jimmy Valvano, when the late legendary coach encouraged Tanner to move into administration full-time, saying he had a great opportunity to become an athletics director at a young age and that as a coach he, "might not make it."
"So Jimmy V," said Tanner, with a smile. "It's not too late. And now, I'm not just at the collegiate level, I'm at the University of South Carolina. I'm a Gamecock and I bleed Garnet and Black."
Check out the full archived video of today's press conference, photo gallery and quotes from several South Carolina head coaches here.
Check out the excitement on social media among our staff and fans here on our Storify post.
Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com; we'll have a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m. to officially introduce the new baseball head coach.