Welcome to South Carolina: College Sports Capital of the World

col-tbuzznewI can see the road signs now: “Welcome to South Carolina: The College Sports Capital of the World!” It might not have the same ring to it as “Pedro Never Sleeps” or “Sober or Slammer”, but the Palmetto State deserves to boast about its college sports accomplishments over the past calendar year – three national titles and a semifinal trip in the four major sports.

Not to stomp a dead Palmetto bug to death, but South Carolina’s collection of championships is unprecedented in the modern sports era. Not since the state of California completed the trifecta in the 1970s (back when UCLA ruled men’s college basketball and “the other” USC owned college football and baseball) has one state dominated the NCAA landscape.

To put the feat in perspective, rewind your mind exactly one year and try to remember what it was like when we were all considered a bunch of losers. Aside from Clemson’s football national championship in 1981 and the Gamecocks’ back-to-back College World Series titles in 2010-11, the Palmetto State didn’t have a lot to hang its hats on in college athletics.

One year later, the cheers of South Carolinians can be heard throughout the state – from the roars of Tiger fans in the Upstate to the crows Gamecock and Chanticleer supporters in the Midlands and on the Grand Strand. Even if you were raised to love your team and hate the others, you can’t help but take pride in the achievements of even the bitterest of rivals.

Part of what made the Palmetto State’s surge so excited was that they were so unexpected, and none shocked the college sports world like Coastal Carolina’s miracle run to the College World Series championship. The Chanticleers had never been to Omaha, and most fans couldn’t find Coastal Carolina on a map if there wasn’t one heck of a clue in the title.

Coastal made a name for itself by beating some of the biggest names in college baseball – LSU, TCU and finally Arizona. Fans from across the country without a dog in the hunt adopted the Chants (and learned that the mascot is a rooster) during the playoffs as CCU repeatedly rescued itself when it was on the verge of elimination. America loves an underdog.

Although Clemson’s college football success was not as surprising, the Tigers found themselves in a similar situation going up against national powerhouse Alabama. After losing to the Crimson Tide in the national title game the previous year, many fans expected another “Clemsoning” (sorry Dabo), but instead saw a team pull together to deliver in the clutch.

But perhaps the biggest shocker was South Carolina’s dual success in basketball. Frank Martin’s Gamecocks caught fire in the tournament and overcame halftime deficits in four straight games to reach the Final Four, nearly upsetting top-seeded Gonzaga. Our neighbors to the north (now known as “the other Carolina”) went on to zap the Zags and cut down the nets.

Dawn Staley’s team dodged a bullet when UConn had its 111-game win streak snapped in the semifinals, but the Lady Gamecocks took full advantage of the opportunity. Of all the accomplishments by teams from the Palmetto State this year, none reflects a bigger rags-to-riches story than a South Carolina women’s program that was once the doormat of the SEC.

It all adds up to the most impressive current trophy collection in college sports, and it belongs to the most unlikely of states. South Carolina is middle of the pack in population, one of the smallest in size, and one of the lowest in terms of respect before we went out and earned it on the nation’s college sports courts, fields and diamonds. Now we can say it – and mean it – “We’re No. 1!”

Terry Massey is the editor and co-owner of Grand Strand Sports Report. He has been an award-winning sports writer for 25 years. He can be reached at tbuzz1908@yahoo.com.

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outing

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outingFive Coast FA boys teams entered the Charlotte Invitational over [more]

Hemingway follows family, teammates to Gamecocks

Hemingway follows family, teammates to GamecocksSix minutes after his youngest child had announced his college [more]

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country season

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country seasonBuilding on the success of the track and field season, [more]

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football poll

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football pollDefending state champion Myrtle Beach opened the 2019 preseason as [more]

Ten beach games that add fun to the sand, surf, sun

Ten beach games that add fun to the sand, surf, sunThe Grand Strand’s 60-mile strip of sand and surf is [more]

New blood infuses lineup for '19 Beach Ball Classic

New blood infuses lineup for '19 Beach Ball ClassicIt’s been quite some time since this much new blood [more]

Gray becomes first Chant to win SCGA Amateur title

Gray becomes first Chant to win SCGA Amateur titleCoastal Carolina rising sophomore Tyler Gray carded four-straight rounds of [more]

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Surfoff makes waves for fun times, worthy cause

Surfoff makes waves for fun times, worthy causeThe water is a second home for August Powalie. The Myrtle [more]

Jordans go coast to coast for Junior Olympics meet

Jordans go coast to coast for Junior Olympics meetIt has been a long and winding trip to California [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Local teams look ahead to 30th CNB Kickoff Classic

Local teams look ahead to 30th CNB Kickoff ClassicConway National Bank will sponsor the 30th annual CNB Kickoff [more]

CAC swimmers team up to capture six state titles

CAC swimmers team up to capture six state titlesSouth Carolina Swimming welcomed almost 800 swimmers from 25 Swim [more]

Surfers hang 10 for 20th Guy Daniels Memorial

Surfers hang 10 for 20th Guy Daniels MemorialAs surfers prepare to hit the South Strand this weekend [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sand

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sandWhat was once a leisurely pick-up game on the beach [more]

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haul

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haulNorth Myrtle Beach believes Ryan Walker is the person to [more]

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut Former Coastal Carolina standout and Los Angeles Angels second baseman [more]

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures Game

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures GameMyrtle Beach Pelicans’ catcher Miguel Amaya has been selected to [more]

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth Clinic

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth ClinicEight former big leaguers - and about 60 aspiring ones [more]

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior Olympics

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program New Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach Alyssa Hunter knows she [more]

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach