Top 10 stories of 2015: Sun Belt, Sharks and Seahawks

ccu-sunbeltIt’s been a good year to be a Grand Strand sports fan. Coming up with a Top 10 list is easy. Narrowing it down to 10 was the hard part. With apologies to those whose teams didn’t make the cut, here are our Top 10 sports stories for 2015:

10) Mutiny Afoot: The Myrtle Beach Mutiny turned a hodgepodge of local, college and international players and made a run to the NPSL finals. They fell one victory short of winning it all, but it was a nice and surprising run.

9) Bang the DJ: After taking time off to address personal issues, former Myrtle Beach resident Dustin Johnson returned to win the Doral and make impressive showings at the US and British Opens. But his dream of winning a major is still ahead of him.

8) Panthers Purr-fect: With the help of Coastal Carolina grads Josh Norman and Mike Tolbert, the Carolina Panthers are two wins from posting a perfect 16-0 season. A deep playoff run could be in the near future.

7) Chickening Out: Facing a woeful second half of the season, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier suddenly resigned. Conway commit Bryan Edwards decided to stick with the Gamecocks and replacement Will Muschamp.

6) Chants Dance: In its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team made their second trip in a row to the dance. The Chants were eliminated by top-seeded Wisconsin.

5) Tigers on Top: The Clemson football team is undefeated and Orange Bowl-bound with a shot at a national title for the first time since 1981. Local product Hunter Renfrow has been one of the best stories on the nation’s No. 1 team.

4) Peli-Cubs: In their first season of affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, the Advanced Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans captured their first Carolina League championship since 2000. Maybe the Cubs’ curse is cracking.

3) Seahawks’ 16 Candles: The Myrtle Beach High girls tennis team dominated from start to finish en route to the program’s 16th Class 3A championship. Want to know something scarier? Only one starter graduates.

2) Shark Attack: After several surprising deep playoff runs by the St. James High boys basketball and soccer teams, the Lady Sharks golf program finally brought home a state championship to the Shark Tank.

1) Day in the Sun: The top sports story of the year didn’t take place on the court or field, but rather in the board room. Coastal Carolina’s decision to leave the Big South Conference to join the Sun Belt and step up to the FCS level shows the school’s commitment to athletics and the great progress of its programs. This story will likely be even bigger in the future.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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