Wells Fargo Speaker Series
Athletic Director Ray Tanner
University of South Carolina
Thursday, April 3, 12 - 1 p.m.,
The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics Room 150
Community tickets: $10.00
USC Upstate Faculty, Staff and Retirees: $5.00
USC Upstate Students: Free with valid USC Upstate ID
All tickets include presentation and lunch
In his first season as athletic director, Ray Tanner experienced a wealth of success.
The football team turned in its highest national ranking in school history,
while women's basketball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis,
women's indoor and outdoor track & field, men's outdoor track & field,
equestrian, men's and women's swimming and diving, softball and baseball all
reached the NCAA postseason.
A dedicated community leader whose charitable organization has
made a difference in many South Carolina families, a three-time National Coach
of the Year and Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, Tanner completed 16
years as head coach at the University of South Carolina, establishing one of
the premier programs in college baseball prior to being named AD. He led the
Garnet & Black to two NCAA Division I Baseball Championships, a pair of
national runner-up finishes, six College World Series appearances, three SEC
championships, six SEC Eastern division titles, a SEC tournament crown and 13
consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Under the direction of Tanner, South Carolina's postseason success
from 2010-2012 is arguably the greatest run in collegiate baseball history. In
the three-year span, the Gamecocks established NCAA records with 22 consecutive
postseason wins and 12 consecutive wins in the College World Series. The
Gamecocks won the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 2010 and 2011 with a
national runner-up finish in 2012. South Carolina's 30-4 (.882) record over the
past three seasons in the NCAA Tournament is the fifth best three-year
postseason record in NCAA history.
In addition, the 2012 CWS trip marked the sixth time in 11 years
that South Carolina had reached Omaha. No Division I baseball team has made
more appearances than the Gamecocks over the last 11 seasons.
Tanner and the Gamecocks have created one of the top environments
in college baseball at Carolina Stadium. After a successful run at Sarge Frye
Field through 2008, the Gamecocks made the move to the new $36 million Carolina
Stadium where college baseball has continued to grow. South Carolina's total
attendance of 295,389 in the 2012 season was second highest in the nation. The
average attendance of 7,574 also was a Carolina Stadium record, besting the
previous mark of 7,431 in the 2011 season. The Gamecocks also set a record for
sellouts in 2012 with 15 games at a capacity of 8,242 fans. In addition, South
Carolina set a record for season tickets sold with a total of 5,580 sold in the
preseason before the 2012 campaign.
Under Tanner's leadership, South Carolina owns the longest current
streak of NCAA Regional appearances among the 14 SEC schools with 13 straight
trips to the tournament dating back to the 2000 season. In that span, Carolina
has 10 NCAA Super Regional appearances (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006,
2007, 2010, 2011, 2012). South Carolina is one of only two schools in the
nation to make at least 10 NCAA Super Regionals in the last 13 years and one of
only six schools in the country to have reached the NCAA Regionals every season
from 2000 to the present.
For all of his accolades, Tanner's uniform No. 1 was retired and
the street outside Carolina Stadium was renamed in his honor. He was also
inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in May 2013.
The 2012 season was Tanner's 25th year as a collegiate head coach.
He posted a 738-316 record at South Carolina with a .700 winning percentage,
second highest all-time among SEC coaches. His career record was 1,133-489-3
for a winning percentage of .699. His final 12 teams featured 23 All-Americans.
Tanner gained valuable experience at an international level in his
association with USA Baseball. He has served five stints with Red, White and
Blue, including in 2003 as head coach for the USA National Baseball Team. At
the helm of some of the top freshmen and sophomores in the country, Tanner's
club finished with a 27-2 record, the best record for a U.S. National Team
(.931 winning percentage) and won a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American
Games. He was named the U.S. National Coach of the Year for his work that
season. Prior to his head coaching stint, Tanner served as an auxiliary coach
under Tommy Lasorda for the 2000 Olympic Team that won a gold medal at the
XXVII Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. He was also an assistant under former LSU
coach Skip Bertman with the 1995 and 1996 USA teams that culminated in a bronze
medal win at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Tanner also served alongside
current Mississippi State coach Ron Polk on Bertman's staff. Tanner's first
stint with USA Baseball came as an assistant coach to the national team in the
summer of 1993.
Tanner was named the South Carolina head coach June 14, 1996,
after nine successful seasons at North Carolina State. At NC State, Tanner led
his alma mater to seven appearances in the NCAA postseason tournament and
ranked second for most wins in school history. He was the 1990 Atlantic Coast
Conference Coach of the Year and in 1993 was named Atlantic Region Coach of the
Year when his team won 49 games.
Tanner was affiliated with the Wolfpack baseball program for more
than 20 years. He came to the Raleigh campus in the fall of 1976 as a player
following an outstanding career at South Johnston High School in Four Oaks,
N.C. A four-year starter at shortstop and third base, he earned All-Atlantic
Coast Conference honors his senior season and still ranks among the Wolfpack's
all-time leaders in several categories. Following his playing career, Tanner
served as an assistant for NC State coach Sam Esposito, overseeing recruiting
efforts and coaching third base. During his tenure as an assistant, the
Wolfpack reached the NCAA Tournament twice. He had additional duties as
assistant to the athletics director and as assistant athletics director in
charge of game operations.
After Esposito's retirement, Tanner was named head coach at the
age of 28 by the legendary late Jim Valvano, becoming one of the youngest head
baseball coaches in the nation.
Tanner has a bachelor of science degree in recreational
administration from NC State (1980) and a master's of public affairs, public
Born Donald Ray Tanner, Jr., March 25, 1958, in Smithfield, N.C.,
Tanner grew up in Benson, N.C. He is married to the former Karen Donald, a
native of Charleston, S.C. A University of South Carolina graduate, she was
formerly head women's athletic trainer at NC State. During the summer of 1997
she served as trainer for the Charlotte Sting in the Women's National
Basketball Association (WNBA). She is the former director of athletics and
director of sports medicine at Columbia College.
Click here for an archive of previous Wells Fargo Series speakers.