USC Gamecocks Football

Ray Tanner ‘optimistic’ about getting giant gamecock statue in place

South Carolina wasn’t able to get its massive gamecock statue erected in time for the 2018 football season, but athletics director Ray Tanner is optimistic it will be in place for the next one.

The 15- to 18-foot-tall statue was set to be ready for 2018, but engineering challenges delayed the installation in a plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium. Asked about it Tuesday, Tanner said there had been measured progress.

“There’s been some dialogue,” Tanner said. “We’ve exchanged some conversations. We’re optimistic that before we kick it again, we’ll have the statue in place. That’s certainly my aspiration. I ask about it quite often.”

The $995,000 bronze statue was originally supposed to debut before the 2017 season, but that date has been pushed back twice. It was approved by USC’s board in 2016.

The school has put up a few statues in recent years, including one of the school mascot, Cocky and one of Richard Greener, the school’s first African-American professor. One is in the works of former basketball star A’ja Wilson.

Elsewhere in construction around South Carolina athletics, Tanner said he’s seen pictures of the new baseball video board and expects the softball team will add one in coming years.

As for the statue, he’d just like to see it up before South Carolina’s season kicks off. USC plays North Carolina in Charlotte on Aug. 31. Its home opener is Sept. 7 against Charleston Southern.

“I’m optimistic that it will be in place,” Tanner said, “before we kick it again.”