South Carolina Legends Society members enjoyed an exclusive sneak peek into the upcoming basketball season with dinner and a question and answer session at Colonial Life Arena recently. The Legends Society consists of donors who have generously given $250,000 or more philanthropically to South Carolina Athletics.
"We always try to have the Legends Dinner in a venue where we've just made facility improvements to illustrate to our donors the impact that their support is making," said Steve Eigenbrot, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development. "Gamecock Club memberships allow us to fund scholarships and provide a high level experience for our student-athletes, but when it comes to improving our facilities, we really rely heavily on those donors that are willing to make a commitment beyond what they are compelled to give for seats and membership.
"Having an event like this is important because it not only allows these great donors to enjoy exclusive access to our coaches and the facility, but it also allows us to show these folks firsthand what their donations allow us to do."
Donors were able to drive their cars right inside Colonial Life Arena for valet service, and enjoyed a cocktail hour before settling in for an intimate dinner under café lighting beside the basketball floor where the NCAA trophies were on display. The Legends Society members also enjoyed a first look at South Carolina's new state-of-art video board and message boards in the arena. Athletics Director Ray Tanner was also in attendance.
Russ and Karen Lloyd (pictured right) are Legends Society members from Summerville, S.C., who have had one son graduate from the University and another who is a junior. For them, supporting South Carolina is a no-brainer.
"We're just trying to give back," Russ Lloyd said. "The University has given our son a great education, and working on the second one now. So we're just big fans who wanted to give back to the University. Just being able to see the upgrade for the scoreboard and the ribbon boards was great. I thought it looked completely modernized. It was a real treat to drive up courtside and have a picture taken with it all in the background. It was all first class."
It also allows us to show these folks firsthand what their donations allow us to do.Steve Eigenbrot,
Senior Assoc. A.D.
South Carolina basketball head coaches Dawn Staley and Frank Martin were on hand to answer questions and show off their impressive hardware from last season. Staley's women's basketball team won the program's first NCAA National Championship along with its fourth straight SEC regular season championship and third straight SEC Tournament title. Frank Martin's men's team advanced to the program's first NCAA Final Four while setting a school record for wins in a season with 26.
"Being able to meet face to face with Coach Martin, Coach Staley, and members of the staff was great," Karen Lloyd said. "Everyone was extremely personable and very grateful. The whole evening was a really fun event."
"Both coaches really do an excellent job of conveying their appreciation to our community of supporters, while Coach Tanner and our development staff try hard to make sure our donors know we appreciate them," Eigenbrot said. "The message really resonates when you hear it come from Dawn and Frank, especially while sitting courtside with a brand new video board lighting up the arena with two huge trophies behind them."
"Getting our pictures with the trophies was absolutely awesome," Russ Lloyd added. "It makes you proud to be able to support programs that have the kind of success that they are having."
For those interested in more information about the South Carolina Legends Society please visit garnetsociety.com.