CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The College of Charleston's home opener was more than just the start of the season for the Cougars it was a night dedicated to the Emanuel AME Church Community.
It was a packed house at the TD arena which is just a short walk from Emanuel AME Church. For some members of the church it was their first day back in the arena since their former pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney's funeral was held there.
"That was on my mind the whole day coming back here," says a member of Emanuel AME, Clifford Jones.
Jones came out to honor his church with the College of Charleston. A church choir member sang the national anthem before the men's game.
"Even though it's our first game it's a home win, but we're playing for a bigger purpose today and that's what made it so much more special," says head CofC women's basketball coach, Candice Jackson.
The women's team now has a special patch on its jerseys, a Palmetto Tree with nine doves symbolizing the nine lives lost in the Charleston church shooting.
"The patch means that it's just not today it's all season, that patch is going to be there on our home jerseys on our away jersey's," says Jackson. "You all need to keep those things in mind. That anything can happen at any given moment, and you play as hard as you possibly can. You do something for others...because you never know what's going to happen."
The men's team held a silent auction of its warm up jersey's. They've also replaced their old jersey's that said "The College" with ones that say "Charleston" to pay homage to the city.
"We appreciate all the city do for us," says Jones.
"It's a part of us it's a part of who we are because these are our neighbors you know it's right around the corner from us so I'm really really proud of what we've been able to do for them," says Jackson.
The College of Charleston worked with church administration in organizing the event. All proceeds from the Silent Auction will go towards Emanuel AME Church Youth Programs.