COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina men's basketball team and Gamecock Athletics concluded it's community outreach initiative, the "8K In 8 Days" campaign on Tuesday. The campaign was a success, as head coach Frank Martin, staff and team members took part in community outreach events throughout the Midlands and the State of South Carolina with the goal of reaching 8,000 fans to lay the foundation to reach 8,000 season tickets for the 2014-15 campaign.
According to Josh Waters, Gamecock Athletics director of marketing, as of the final day of the campaign (July 29), season tickets were currently up 54 percent compared to last year at this time. That percentage includes both renewed season tickets and new sales. This is a great start and momentum builder for the year.
Martin celebrated the campaign as well as the efforts of the Gamecock marketing department and his team's outreach.
"The campaign was great. Unbelievable job by Josh Waters and Eric Nichols in our marketing department to put together this stretch of eight days that allowed us to go into the community to visit with young kids and older people. Our players, I can't say enough about them and their enthusiasm every single day in doing this (the campaign), at the time of year when everyone else is vacationing and relaxing, meaning in men's basketball, and they are actively helping us build our program. It was a great eight days as far as I'm concerned."
Waters called the campaign a "huge success."
"The main objective of `8K In 8 Days' was to connect with 8,000 people in and around Columbia and to lay the foundation to reach 8,000 season tickets for the 2014-2015 season. Throughout the campaign and the different outreach events, the initiative has been a huge success. Coach Martin and the student-athletes have done a great job of interacting with the community and we hope that we can increase season ticket sales and create the best home court advantage for our student-athletes as possible at Colonial Life Arena."
Below is a day-by-day breakdown of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign.
TUESDAY, JULY 29
Frank Martin Attends Academy Sports + Outdoors' Back-To-School Donation Event
Gamecock head men's basketball coach Frank Martin attended Academy Sports + Outdoors' Back-To-School Donation Event on Tuesday morning at the newest Academy location in the midlands, near the Harbison shopping district. The event was the final community outreach event of the "8K In 8 Days Campaign" for Gamecock men's basketball.
The event opened at Academy Sports with 50 children from the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands receiving a gift card for back-to-school shopping in the store. Martin spoke to the kids before members of the staff accompanied the children while shopping. Martin, along with Cocky and Gamecock cheerleaders, helped the kids shop for school gear before signing autographs and taking photos.
The South Carolina men's basketball team, along with head coach Frank Martin, spent time at Fort Jackson in Columbia today, holding an event for children at the Solomon Center. The community outreach is part of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign for Gamecock men's basketball.
The event opened with Major General Bradley Becker, the Fort Jackson Commanding General, addressing the crowd and introducing Martin. The team members were next introduced before Major General Becker presented Coach Martin with a gift.
Schedule Breakdown: Clemson, Coker, NC A&T, Iowa State
GamecocksOnline.com will break down each of the Gamecocks' non-conference opponents this week, following the release of the non-conference schedule on July 22. We conclude our non-conference breakdown with a look at cross-state rival Clemson, first-time opponents Coker and NC A&T and the Big 12's Iowa State.
Members of the South Carolina men's basketball team spent time visiting the Palmetto Children's Hospital on Friday afternoon, signing autographs and playing with kids. The community outreach is part of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign for Gamecock men's basketball.
Sophomore guards Justin McKie and Duane Notice, and freshman forward TeMarcus Blanton attended the hour-long event. Playing several games with children and even stopping by a few rooms at the hospital to bring Happy Birthday wishes.
Schedule Breakdown: UNC Asheville, Marshall, Oklahoma State
GamecocksOnline.com will break down each of the Gamecocks' non-conference opponents this week, following the release of the non-conference schedule on July 22. We next look at UNC Asheville, who returns the reigning Big South Rookie of the Year, Marshall, who is led by first-year head coach Dan D'Antoni and Oklahoma State, who is Carolina's SEC/Big 12 Challenge opponent for the second-straight season.
Men's Basketball Participates in Cocky's Reading Express
Members of the South Carolina men's basketball team participated in a Cocky's Reading Express program on Thursday morning at the Richland County Public Library. The community outreach is part of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign for Gamecock men's basketball.
GamecocksOnline.com will break down each of the Gamecocks' non-conference opponents this week, following the release of the non-conference schedule on July 22. Thursday we look at potential opponents from the Charleston Classic (CharlestonClassic.com).
Men's Basketball Visits Richland County Sheriff Department Stars Of Tomorrow Camp
Members of the South Carolina men's basketball team spent Wednesday afternoon at the Richland County Sheriff Department's Stars of Tomorrow Summer Camp, which is held for kids during the summer at elementary schools throughout the county. The community outreach is part of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign for Gamecock men's basketball.
Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell, along with junior forwards Michael Carrera and Laimonas Chatkevicius, spent time with the camp attendees teaching them fundamentals of basketball, such as dribbling and free throw shooting. The group posed for a team photo at the end of the event and team members signed autographs for the crowd.
GamecocksOnline.com will break down each of the Gamecocks' non-conference opponents this week, following the release of the men's hoops non-conference schedule on July 22. First up, our season-opening opponent North Florida, and the always strong Baylor Bears.
South Carolina men's basketball kicked off its "8K In 8 Days" campaign on Tuesday when third-year head coach Frank Martin released the non-conference schedule for the 2014-15 season. The slate features 13 contests, including eight home games, which includes one exhibition (to be announced at a later date). Highlighting the non-conference schedule is the Gamecocks' participation in the 2014 Charleston Classic in late November.
In the non-conference portion of its schedule, the Gamecocks will face three NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State, with the possibility of playing five postseason teams, including Akron and Penn State, during the slate. Both Baylor and Iowa State advanced to the Sweet 16.
"Once again we have put together a very challenging schedule," Martin said. "A schedule to prepare us to find success and be prepared in the SEC. We start with very tough home games, followed by a great tournament in Charleston, and a road game at Marshall, which is one of the most difficult facilities and places to play at. We're extremely excited about the challenges. Hopefully this schedule will harden our basketball team and prepare it for the unbelievable challenge of competing in the SEC."
Gamecocks Host Special Olympics Event As Part Of 8K In 8 Days
The South Carolina men's basketball team concluded the first day of the "8K In 8 Days" campaign by hosting Special Olympics of South Carolina in a community outreach event Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena.
"This meant a lot to us to give back to the community because [head coach] Frank [Martin] always teaches us that you never know when your day might be over, to make every day your best and be the best man you can possibly be every day," senior guard Tyrone Johnson said.
"I'm not just speaking for myself, but also my teammates and coaches and everyone else here when I say that there's no better feeling than working with these kids."
That's what South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin told reporters on Tuesday following the release of the non-conference portion of his team's schedule, which will include three Big 12 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year with Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State, along with other major conference opponents in Southern California, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), and Clemson.
Comparing it to the difficult slates he crafted while the head coach at Kansas State, the announcement comes in tandem with the launch of the 8K in 8 Days campaign in which the players and coaches will reach more than 8,000 members of the community through various service events while also setting a goal to sell 8,000 season tickets.
"We always ask our fans to come to us," Martin said. "We've got to find a way to go to our fans. I don't want our fans to show up just because our guys play basketball. I want our fans to show up because they respect what our players do around the clock. Yes, they play basketball, but they also care about things that take place in this community. I want them to embrace this as their home the way me and my family have."
Coke Family Section Extended, Added Incentives for Season Tickets
As part of the "8K In 8 Days" marketing initiative this week, Gamecock Athletics has announced exciting new information and incentives for South Carolina men's basketball season ticket holders for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.
The popular Coke Family Section, which was first available last season and includes four season tickets, four T-shirts and four drinks for each game, has now extended to include both sections 109 and 118 after reaching near capacity last season. That package sells at $600.