South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner wrote the following letter to Gamecock fans ahead of the football team’s appearance in the Outback Bowl.
“The regular season is over, and our South Carolina Gamecocks are headed to the postseason once again! This team surpassed every prognosticators’ prediction and achieved a level of success not many pundits thought possible.
SEC Media Days – 4th in the East
Pre-Season Associated Press & USA Today Polls – Not a single vote among any of the voters
Never miss a local story.
Not this year!
Coach Muschamp and his team adopted the theme, “So what, now what,” meaning the next play is the biggest play. That resulted in an 8-4 record and a second place finish in the SEC Eastern Division. What a year!
We are headed to the Outback Bowl!
We have so much to be excited about with Gamecock football. Two years ago, we were 3-9. Last week, we started 10 freshmen and sophomores, five juniors and seven seniors.
Two years ago, we were in a transition period looking for a new coach and a new direction. We definitely found one!
In two years, Coach Muschamp has directed our team to a bowl game in 2016 and a great bowl trip this year to Tampa and the Outback Bowl. We are the only Power 5 football team in the nation (and one of 3 in NCAA FBS) to have multiple win improvements from one regular season to the next in two consecutive years.
On the recruiting front, in less than four months on the job, Coach Muschamp directed our recruiting class in 2016, was 25th in the nation and moved to 16th in the nation with the 2017 class. All signs point to another outstanding recruiting class this year.
Our Football Operations Center will be a beacon for our program for years to come. The 110,000-square-foot center will provide Gamecock Football with a recruiting center, locker room, weight room, athletic training room, coaches' offices, meeting rooms, dining room, equipment room and player areas -- all in one convenient location.
Our fundraising efforts for the Football Operations Center continue. We hope you will consider a gift toward this transformational project.
It is adjacent to the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility and outdoor practice fields, which have been in use for just two years.
There is more work to do. This team, this year, was up to the challenge. They played their hearts out each game. Eight wins at South Carolina has only been accomplished 14 times and nine has only happened six times. Let’s go get our ninth win in Tampa on January 1.
I hope you will consider joining us at the Outback Bowl to support our Gamecocks. If you are a Gamecock Club member, buy your tickets by going online to GamecocksOnline.com/tickets. If you are not a Gamecock Club member, please consider joining and helping Gamecock student-athletes achieve academic and athletic success. You can buy tickets now here.
If you are unable to be there, I hope you can take a minute and reflect on the season we had. It was a very good one and know, the best is yet to come.
Thank you for being great Gamecocks and supporting all of our sports as we are relentless in our pursuit of excellence in the classroom and in competition. Happy Holidays!”