Sports

SC signs honoring Gamecocks national championship unveiled


Just over two months after the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team secured its second national championship in program history, head coach Dawn Staley and company are still celebrating.

On Thursday, athletics director Ray Tanner, state of South Carolina Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall and Staley gathered outside of Colonial Life Arena for the unveiling of new highway signs that honor the 2022 championship victory.

“The passion and diversity of this fan base is what makes having these signs all around our state so very important,” Tanner said. “I want to thank the South Carolina Department of Transportation for giving us this opportunity to share the celebration of Dawn Staley’s program with every South Carolinian and all the visitors that come to our great state.”

Starting Thursday, 15 road signs will be placed around the state, with several being in the Columbia area. The signs honor both of the program’s national championship from 2017 and 2022.

The team that won the title in 2022 went 35-2, including 14 wins over nationally ranked opponents, and beat UConn in the national title game 64-49.

“It’s an awesome tribute to our team, and all the wonderful players who were part of making this happen,” Staley said.

Staley said she was incredibly grateful for the recognition and hopes to be in the same spot next year unveiling a new sign, joking that she would pass Tanner in the record books with another national title.

“I have to thank coach Tanner for actually being the inspiration,” Staley said. “He’s won two national championships here at the University of South Carolina and he was a big inspiration in paving the way for us to be here and to accomplish those things, and we hope to one up him next year.”

The unveiling of the signs comes on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a civil rights law that was passed in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that receives funding form the federal government.

Staley said the sign being unveiled on Title IX Day was a coincidence but that it’s still important nonetheless.

“The significance is, if this was something done for every champion in the state, it’s only right for it to happen for our team,” Staley said. “We did not actually strategically choose to do it this particular day … but, you know, now that we’re here, and it’s the inception of Title IX, I think it’s an incredible tribute for us to celebrate on this day.”

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University of South Carolina head womens basketball coach Dawn Staley speaks after unveiling a new highway sign acknowledging the 2017 and 2022 national championship wins on Thursday, June 23, 2022 during a press conference at the Colonial Life Arena. Tracy Glantz tglantz@thestate.com

Hall, who is a Clemson graduate and a “Tiger through and through,” said Staley’s success has inspired her to follow the team and she thanked the coach for all she’s done for USC and women’s sports in general.

“I truly, truly appreciate and have nothing but the greatest respect for her and the team and everything they’ve been able to accomplish,” Hall said.

According to USC, all the signs will be in place no later than July 1.

“I’m not going to take the street anymore, I’m gonna take the highway just so I can see the signs,” Staley joked.

GAMECOCK SIGN LOCATIONS

  • Eastbound I-20 Exit 58 (US 1) Exit Ramp, Lexington County
  • Westbound I-20 Exit 73A (SC 277) Exit Ramp, Richland County
  • Eastbound I-26 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at North Carolina state line, Spartanburg County
  • Eastbound I-26 Exit 111B (US 1) Exit Ramp, Lexington County
  • Westbound I-26 Exit 111B (US 1) Exit Ramp, Lexington County
  • Southbound I-77 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at North Carolina state line, York County
  • Southbound I-77 Exit 5 (SC 48) Exit Ramp, Richland County
  • Northbound I-77 Exit 5 (SC 48) Exit Ramp, Richland County
  • Northbound I-85 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at Georgia State line, Oconee County
  • Southbound I-85 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at North Carolina state line, Cherokee County
  • Northbound I-95 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at Georgia state line, Jasper County
  • Southbound I-95 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at North Carolina state line, Dillon County
  • Southbound US 17 Welcome Center (Exit Ramp) at the North Carolina state line, Horry County
  • Southbound SC 277 Prior to Harden Street Ext. Intersection, Richland County

Michael Sauls is The State’s summer sports intern. He is an award-winning student journalist who attends the University of South Carolina where he is the managing editor of The Daily Gamecock.



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