Nov. 4, 2009
South Carolina Athletics Director Eric Hyman firmly believes that there are four components needed to create a championship program: a great university; a vibrant community you can proudly present to recruits; excellent coaches; and outstanding facilities. Since taking over the athletics department, Hyman has made it clear that one of his priorities is to provide outstanding facilities that will allow Gamecock student-athletes to train for and excel in competition.
Since January of 2006, South Carolina Athletics has benefited from several philanthropic gifts for its Master Plan for Athletics Facilities. The Yearly Equitable Seating (YES) program has also been initiated to generate additional annual revenue to be used for capital projects. As a result of this support, it was possible to fund Carolina Stadium, several internal upgrades at Williams-Brice Stadium, and the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center, among other projects.
These first steps were critical to launching the master plan. Now the athletics program will build on that success as the Gamecocks embark on a comprehensive campaign that will set the course of South Carolina Athletics for years to come.
The Garnet Way Campaign was revealed in August 2008. Along with being a celebration of what it means to be a Gamecock, The Garnet Way is also part of the plan to elevate the Gamecocks to a championship level.
"With The Garnet Way, the department of athletics is aligning with the expectations of the board of trustees and the university to develop a road map that marries the unbridled passion of Gamecock Nation with a plan to battle for championships and be a nationally prominent program," Hyman explained.
Helping Hyman announce The Garnet Way Campaign was Tommy Suggs, former South Carolina varsity quarterback from 1968-1970. Suggs accepted the invitation to serve as chair of The Garnet Way fundraising efforts. He believes The Garnet Way is special. "It is really who we are as Gamecock fans," he said. "It's passion, energy, love... It's how we do things now and how we will do things in the future. We'll do them The Garnet Way. It is the future."
For South Carolina Athletics to reach its full potential, Suggs knew there was and still is a lot of hard work ahead. "It won't be easy. It is a five-year project at minimum, but I am excited." He made an initial call for Gamecock Nation and its more than 200,000 alumni to join the cause and help shape the future of South Carolina Athletics through the campaign.
To build a foundation for the capital campaign, Hyman and Suggs identified the need for an advisory group. The Garnet Way Cabinet has been formed to meet this need.
The purpose of the cabinet is to provide vision and advice for the direction of the athletics department and the athletics program. In addition to assisting with the implementation of the Master Plan for Athletics Facilities, campaign case statement, and marketing strategy, this group will serve as a trusted sounding board for the athletics director on important issues. The cabinet members are ambassadors for South Carolina Athletics among its key constituencies, stating the athletics department's case and making fundraising visits.
The Garnet Way Cabinet is composed of Gamecock alumni and friends. Each member is committed to building a championship-caliber program at South Carolina and will help do so by dedicating their time and expertise to the Garnet Way Cabinet and Capital Campaign.
The Cabinet includes:
• Tommy Suggs, Garnet Way Chairman - President & CEO, KeenanSuggs, Columbia S.C.
• Jimmy Addison - Senior VP & CFO, SCANA Corporation; Columbia, S.C.
• Dodie Anderson - Former Co-owner, Anderson Hardwood Floors; Greer, S.C.
• Luther Battiste - Partner, Johnson, Toal & Battiste; Columbia, S.C.
• Harris DeLoach - Chairman, President & CEO, Sonoco Products Co.; Hartsville, S.C.
• Jerry Inman - Retail Fixed Income Sales Trader, LPL Financial; Charlotte, N.C.
• Stan Juk - Cardiologist, Columbia Cardiology Consultants; Columbia, S.C.
• Doyle McBride - Chairman, IAP Worldwide Services; Chapin, S.C.
• Dan Reeves - Former NFL Head Coach; Commentator, CBS Radio; Atlanta, G.A.
• Joe Rice - Partner, Motley Rice; Mount Pleasant, S.C.
• Darius Rucker - Musician; Mount Pleasant, S.C.
• Jim Schaper - Chairman & CEO, Infor Global Solutions; Alpharetta, G.A.
• C.B. Smith - Owner, John C.B. Smith Real Estate; Partner, Nelson Mullins; Columbia, S.C.
• Bill Stern - President, Stern & Stern; Columbia, S.C.
• Susie VanHuss -Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Moore School of Business; Columbia, S.C.
• William Hubbard, ex officio - Partner, Nelson Mullins; Columbia, S.C.
In June 2009, the athletics department hosted the first meeting of the Garnet Way Cabinet. The first day the group saw the Gamecocks' new and old facilities firsthand, as well as benchmarks against other SEC universities and programs across the country and the Master Plan for Athletics Facilities to address South Carolina's needs. That night the group gathered for dinner with coaches and staff at Pauline and Eric Hyman's home.
The next day the cabinet met on campus at the home of President Harris Pastides. The primary discussion topic was the current state of college athletics and how South Carolina fits into that picture. The group also talked about its significance and the role it will play for Gamecock Athletics over the next several years. The meeting concluded with a student-athlete panel that spoke and answered questions about their experiences at South Carolina.
The Garnet Way Cabinet has met twice since its initial meeting and discussed topics such as South Carolina Athletics' financial need for philanthropic gifts to the Master Plan for Athletics Facilities, fundraising goals and methods, marketing initiatives for reaching all Gamecocks, and potential naming opportunities for upcoming facility projects. They have also had the opportunity to attend a closed football practice and a closed basketball practice thanks to Coach Steve Spurrier and Coach Darrin Horn.
South Carolina Athletics extends its thanks to each member of the Garnet Way Cabinet for their dedication and enthusiasm. More information about The Garnet Way Cabinet and Capital Campaign will be shared in the coming months.
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