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Athletics News

From the Desk of Ray Tanner
March 16, 2015


Ray Tanner
Athletics Director
University of South Carolina

O

ur athletics vision statement reads, "We serve as a source of pride and inspiration to our University, our State, our nation, and the world by relentlessly competing for Championships with integrity, character and passion."

Collectively, our programs are adhering to this declaration. We have had 13 of our 21 teams ranked at one time this season in the top 25 of their respective sport polls, that includes seven teams that have been ranked this season in the top 10 (football, baseball, women's basketball, women's golf, men's golf, women's soccer and equestrian).

In the latest rankings, there are five teams ranked in latest Top 10, including equestrian and women's golf first, women's basketball and men's golf third and women's soccer eighth (final ranking).

SEC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS

Congratulations to Coach Dawn Staley's Gamecock women's basketball team on its SEC regular season and tournament championships.

In order to grow the sport of women's basketball, the NCAA has allowed teams to host first and second rounds of its tournament based on its merit. This has been done in baseball for many years.

We are excited to have the opportunity to host first and second round games this year at Colonial Life Arena.

Coach Staley's squad has performed at a high level all season long. The team has a 32-game win streak at CLA.

The opportunity for Coach Staley's squad to win a national championship starts at CLA and in front of our great fans. I hope that you will join me for these games and cheer on our SEC champions.

Only one other time in SEC history has a women's basketball team won the SEC regular season, tournament and NCAA tournament titles (1998 Tennessee). Doing that this season would be great!

For more about Carolina hosting the NCAA Tournament, go to Brad Muller's story on Gamecocks Online (gamecocksonline.com/ncaawbb).

To order your NCAA Tournament booklet, call 1-800-4SC-FANS, visit the Colonial Life Arena box office during regular business hours or buy online here.

WIN ANYWAY

You've heard me say that a lot since we were winning national championships in Omaha. It means that no matter the circumstances, we compete to win. That philosophy took us to two baseball national championships and a national runner-up finish.

There is another meaning to Win Anyway that goes to the heart of being a Gamecock. It is taking advantages of the opportunities given to you.

If a starter has an injury, it's time for a reserve to step up. If someone does a favor for you, there'll be a time to reciprocate and proceed with the benefits of that nicety.

In the Gamecock Club, you generously give funds so our student-athletes can have a world-class experience at South Carolina. It's up to our student-athletes to take advantage of those opportunities, whether it be on playing fields, in the classroom or learn lessons that neither can provide.

Recent NCAA legislation has allowed us to make it easier for our student-athletes to succeed. Gamecock student-athletes will have the benefit of receiving full cost of attendance as well as guaranteed scholarships as they work to complete their degree requirements. These were first introduced as tenets of the Gamecock Promise, released last fall, and are now part of NCAA regulations.

It is with extreme pride that I am director of an athletics department at a University that puts the STUDENT in student-athlete. We do what we can to provide a productive and meaningful experience for our student-athletes in every area. We will continue to emphasize this every day.

BEST FANS

The numbers tell the story that I have known for years. Our fans are the best in the nation. You give our teams the best home advantage in all of college sports.

We are one of only four schools in the nation to rank in the top 40 in average attendance for the six fall/winter sports: women's basketball (1st), women's soccer (3rd), men's soccer (5th), football (16th), volleyball (35th) and men's basketball (32nd).

It's not just the numbers that I brag about, but also the atmosphere that you provide. When I go to our home athletic events, I see all of the fun that you are having. We try to create memories that will last a lifetime with our home games. I hope that you feel we have accomplished that this season.

PRIDE IN PERFORMANCE

As a coach, and now an administrator, I have been fortunate to be a part of a tremendous era of success that we have had at South Carolina. From national and conference championships, to fantastic accomplishments in the classroom, in the community and on campus, we have been a part of a "golden age" of Gamecock athletics.

Our student-athletes deserve all of the credit they receive. They work hard to achieve all of the accolades and glory.

There is also the story of the "team behind the teams." I am blessed to have an outstanding staff of individuals who take great pride in performance. There are too many to name, but in all of our departments, these dedicated individuals care about our student-athletes and the University of South Carolina.

It's "teamwork" at its best. I thank them here for their work, support and commitment. Go Gamecocks!

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