May 31, 2017
By Brad Muller | More Features
Whether you define student-athlete success through wins and losses, record books, grade point average, or earning a degree, South Carolina women’s tennis exiting seniors Caroline Dailey and Brigit Folland have all the bases covered. They’re not done learning, however. They look forward to continuing their education as the next step in fulfilling their goals for their respective careers, and they’re grateful that South Carolina has prepared them.
“Ultimately, I want to be a corporate lawyer in Atlanta,” Dailey said. “I want to establish myself in a firm, and down the road, I’d like to transition to the sports side of law for individuals or teams. I think I’d always like to keep sports in my life as much as I can. The relationships we’ve made here, how we learned to communicate with different people, and having that good pressure that we’ve had, is really going to help us.”
“I would also like to keep sports in my life as a job,” Folland said. “If I had a dream job, it would be to work for a big professional team in their sponsorship area or in marketing. I really do like college athletics, too. The demands of being in school as a student-athlete really test you in a way that you’ll never be tested again.”
Folland will attend graduate school at Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina where she will also be a graduate assistant with the tennis team. Dailey will attend Law School at the University of Georgia.
“It’s going to be a completely different experience because I’ll be on the other side of it with coaching,” Folland said. “I’m excited to help other people with my experiences and maybe bring a little of what we had here to that school. From an education standpoint, any chance you can get to enhance your degree or continue to learn is very important.”
“I’m looking forward to focusing specifically on what I want to do,” Dailey said. “I know I will be taking something from every class I take into what I ultimately want to do. It’s going to be exciting, and it will sort of be like being on the tennis team because everyone will be there with one goal in mind in that we’ll all be trying to become successful lawyers.”
More than a name in a record book, I want my legacy to be that we helped create this culture for the program by working our butts off every day.
Dailey and Folland enjoyed tremendous success at South Carolina, on and off the court. As part of head coach Kevin Epley’s first recruiting class, the duo helped the Gamecocks reach the NCAA Tournament every year during their careers, and their names are scattered in different places among the South Carolina tennis record books. Off the court, Folland and Dailey are both three-time ITA Scholar-Athletes and were regulars on the various league and university honor roll lists throughout their careers.
“With both of us having so many academic honors as well as the successes on the tennis court, I’d definitely say our careers here were a success,” Dailey said. “You look back and think how amazing it is to get all of that (school) work done especially with what we’re doing in the spring with all of the travelling with the team, getting back at 3 a.m. and going to a class at 8:30, and having daily practices. Even if we hadn’t done so well, I would have called it a success, but we were able to excel at both.”
“The toolbox of skills you develop and that you have in college grows tremendously,” Folland added. “I’m so grateful for that. Tennis and academics have pushed me. I’ll never be pushed this hard in my life again. There are so many demands, so you learn how you are under pressure. You really grow. You leave here with the confidence that you’re ready to take on whatever is next. You feel prepared.” Dailey and Folland are both amazed at how quickly their four years at South Carolina have passed.
“The big thing I’m going to miss is competing with the team,” Dailey said. “Being out there and putting everything on the line with your teammates is just so much fun. I’ll miss that piece of it. I’ll miss the comradery we have with this athletics community and having friends in all the different sports. It’s a fun way to make the school smaller. I don’t know that I’ll miss practicing every day. It will be nice to go workout when I want to, or to not workout when I want to. It will be nice to create my own schedule.”
“Those hours you spend out there on the court when you play the matches make all those grueling practices so worth it,” Folland said. “I’m going to miss the adrenaline rush you get from that. I’ll miss just being with the team.”
As much as the University has helped them, both hope they have left a mark on the program that won’t be forgotten.
“More than a name in a record book, I want my legacy to be that we helped create this culture for the program by working our butts off every day,” Dailey said. “We never let up, and we held each other accountable. I hope we led by example for the younger girls. I care about that way more than whether I won a bunch of matches.”
“I think our work ethic was solid,” Folland said. “I want that to be my legacy. We went through it and came out as good people.”
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