Ruth Sorrel, a 2000 graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, enters her 11th season as the associate head coach/western coach for the Gamecocks. She is at the helm of the Western team and came to South Carolina in 2005 after year-long stints as an assistant coach at Auburn and Fresno State.
In 2007, Sorrel coached the USC Western Team to the Reserve National Championship to help the equestrian team win its second overall national championship in three years. Seeded seventh at the championships, Sorrel coached the team to a second place finish, the highest the Western team has placed in school history.
The Western team placed sixth in 2008 and 2009, but also saw its first individual earn a national seed as Katie Grossnickle was the No. 5 seed in horsemanship in 2009.
Since 2002, Sorrel has qualified five equestrians for the National Reining Horse Derby, including most recently, Chloe Gray in the 2009 Derby. Gray placed ninth overall, following the solid showings put on by Rachel Sternoff and Lindsay Williams in the 2006 Derby. Sorrel's other qualifications were in 2002, 2005 and Gray's other appearance in 2008. Administratively, Sorrel serves as a member of Varsity Equestrian Championship and Finance committees.
At Fresno State, Sorrel coached the Western team in 2004 to a seventh place finish nationally. She also coached the Auburn team to a seventh place finish at the 2005 Varsity Nationals where the Gamecocks won the national title.
Sorrel coached freshman rider Johnna Letchworth to the top record in Horsemanship in the country. During the 2010-2011 season, Letchworth went 11-1-1 during regular-season competition, earning her a spot on the inaugural Varsity Equestrian All-America Team. Letchworth went 4-1 during post-season competition, giving her a combined record of 15-2-1.
As a former Gamecock, Sorrel competed from 1998 to 2000 on the equestrian team and served as a captain in 1999-2000. She received two SEC Academic Achievement awards and was a member of the Dean's list. She also received the Sportsmanship Award for IHSA Zone 5, Region II in 2000 and was the IHSA High Point Rider for Zone 5 Region II in 1999-2000. Sorrel finished seventh at the IHSA Championship in 2000 in the AQHA Trophy Class.
Sorrel grew up in New Iberia, La., before moving to Chapin, S.C. She has ridden horses her entire life, starting at Rock's Quarter Horses in New Iberia, La., then in Blythewood with Julie Kennedy and Prather Quarter Horses in Camden. The youngest of five children, Sorrel has nine nieces and nephews.