Over 230 invitees from Gamecock Club chapters across the state were welcomed to campus last Saturday for tours of various athletic facilities. The fans were guided through the football facilities at Williams-Brice, the Carolina Stadium baseball facilities, and the newly opened Rice Athletics Center.
"Our goal is to let people see where their money is going," said Executive Director of the Gamecock Club Patrick McFarland. "Their dedication, support, and generosity make it possible for us to be able to support student-athletes and to be able to have the Rice Athletics Center, which replaced the Roundhouse. They hadn't seen [the Rice Athletics Center] yet and they got to see areas of Williams-Brice Stadium and Carolina Stadium they wouldn't typically see. Everyone really enjoyed it."
With the tours held in the morning, fans were also offered a group rate on tickets for the men's basketball game vs. Auburn that afternoon, including the halftime recognition of the football team. For many fans it was great to turn the day into one big celebration. Roger Sloan, president of the Dillon chapter of the Gamecock Club, brought several members of his family for the day, including his mother, Fay, who was celebrating her birthday with the tours and a family lunch. Fay and her husband, Howard, attended ball games at Carolina for about 35 years straight starting in the 1950's. Now in their more elder years, they do not come to games as often, so the opportunity to come see the updated facilities was special.
The Sloan family taking their turn in the hot seat in the media room at Williams-Brice
"It's really great to be able to come up here and see everything behind the scenes, get a feel for what the student-athletes and coaches have," said Roger Sloan. "It's great to be a Gamecock right now. The university is second to none in facilities. For fans and Gamecock Club members it's great to come up here and be a part of this, feel more connected to the university and Gamecock family."
For his part, Roger says he is really looking forward to more of the same success from the Gamecocks on the gridiron in 2013.
"We're expecting to win now. Coach Spurrier has gotten great recruiting classes and gotten us to where we expect to win. When I was coming up we would hope to win; now Gamecocks expect to win. We're expecting good things for years to come."