Friday, November 23, 2012

Ray Tanner Right Man For The Job

When Eric Hyman left South Carolina to take his athletic administrative skills to Texas A&M, he departed with a word of advice or caution to South Carolina officials, as whispers loomed of Ray Tanner succeeding Hyman as the chief athletic administrator.  In the words of Hyman, Tanner was a good coach but it took more than the "black and white" decisions on the field to running a multi-million dollars athletic program.

Hyman was right, just like the USC Board of Trustees, nothing about Tanner is "black and white" and the basic skills of being a successful Athletic Director are definitely in the character, integrity, focus, organization, vision, tenacity and presence of Ray Tanner.  After 16 years at USC Tanner has built a tradition of winning, community service and civic responsibility.  He personally led the charge for facility upgrades for the baseball program that resulted in immediate returns with three consecutive College World Series Championship appearances, winning two of the first three years of the stadium's existence.  He developed a championship staff that is prepared to succeed him as he takes his marquee status on the road to fund raising, staff development, NCAA compliance's and enhanced public relations.  Tanner is no stranger to surrounding himself with superior talent and that is what he will continue to do as he moves to a new chapter in his life and the future of South Carolina Athletics.  Long time Assistant Athletic Director Charles Waddell was immediately elevated to Chief Deputy Athletic Director, as an obvious recognition of the importance of retaining one of the strongest minds in Sport Management Administration.  If that doesn't sound familiar, think of the name Chad Holbrook, one of the great minds in college baseball who chose to remain Tanners chief assistant in the construction of the recent championship program.  Holbrook has always been a major prospect for a Division I head coach post but has chosen to support a great leader while awaiting his opportunity to transition patiently.  Great leaders will first recognize and follow great leaders before separating from the association.  Waddell's elevation is just an early sign of the foundation that will be established for the Tanner era and commencement of a new stage in his successful legacy.

While Hyman can take great pride in leaving a program in tremendous fiscal and athletic condition, Tanner will lose no ground in leading the South Carolina Athletics Department to continued successes.  Tanner's eleemosynary foundation and his commitment to civic support will attract even more private fiscal support, while his recent coaching successes will garner a cohesive relationship with the coaching staffs.  His love for South Carolina and loyalty for the institution will only insure the long term commitment to the school's interest, goals, focus and vision.  Where else in America will you find an Athletic Director with an autograph and picture line during an the renowned ESPN GameDay Production on its' campus.  Did I say, a long line?

The South Carolina Trustees have to be tickled pink, realizing that this successful maneuver was one of the biggest and easiest decisions they have made in decades.  If there was any doubt please don't waste it on this decision, there was no way to go wrong, the timing and conditions were laid out like a road map.  Thank Hyman for a strong fiscal management and facilities development initiative, and thank Tanner for accepting the responsibility to resume the building of an athletics program to national prominence and recognition.  Something Tanner has done for the last 16 years for South Carolina in his professional craft.

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