9First Baptist winning back to back state championships in football, Daria Kasatkina winning her first Volvo Car Open championship and Fort Dorchester’s Dakereon Joyner signing with South Carolina. These were just a few of the big sports stories from 2017 that weren’t big enough to crack our top 10 stories of the year. We kick off our look back on the last 12 months with numbers 10 through 6.
10. Goose Creek alum Chris Singleton drafted by the Cubs
At number 10, a life long dream comes true for Chris Singleton. The Goose Creek native and Charleston Southern outfielder was selected on the final day of the major league baseball draft by the Chicago Cubs in the 19th round. Singleton became most well known not for his bat, but for his words in the days after he lost his mother in the Mother Emanuel AME shooting. On the same field where he talked about losing her 2 years earlier, he celebrated the news of becoming a pro ball player.
9. Wando Boys Soccer finishes season ranked #1 in country
At number 9, the Wando boys soccer team completing one of the best seasons any high school team in our area has ever had as they got a late goal from Charlie Marino in the 5-A state title game against JL Mann to complete a perfect season. Wando would go 27-0 on the season and finished ranked 1st in the entire country according to the USA Today prep poll.
8. Fred Jordan retires at The Citadel
A number 8, a legendary career ends at The Citadel. After 26 seasons and over 800 career wins, Fred Jordan announced his retirement as the Bulldogs head baseball coach back in May. In his time with the school, Jordan led the team to the NCAA Tournament 7 times, won 5 southern conference regular season titles and 7 more tournament championships. He was replaced by former Bulldogs player Tony Skole in June.
7. Chad Holbrook leaves South Carolina
Coming in a 7, an unceremonious end in Columbia. After missing the NCAA Tournament for 2 of the last 3 seasons, Chad Holbrook resigned as the head baseball coach at South Carolina. Holbrook’s seat was hot for much of his time at Carolina after replacing the legendary Ray Tanner. After starting the season with a team ranked in the top 5 and losing their last 8 SEC series, Holbrook was out. The team replaced him with South Florida head coach Mark Kingston.
6. Stingrays reach Kelly Cup Finals
And at number 6, another great run for the Stingrays coming up a little short. For the 2nd time in 3 seasons, the Rays made a big run through the eastern conference to reach the Kelly Cup finals. Despite finishing 3rd in their division during the regular season, the Rays got hot during the playoffs and upset Greenville and Florida before beating Manchester in a game 7 but the Rays ran out of gas in the finals getting swept by Colorado.
5. Matt Heath fired, Chad Holbrook hired at CofC
At number 5, another crazy coaching situation at the College of Charleston. Back in June, head baseball coach Matt Heath was fired after 2 seasons as the school investigated the coach for allegations of abusive behavior towards players. Heath would go on to file a lawsuit against the school for not giving him an opportunity to defend himself against the allegations. The ensuing search was as messy as Chad Holbrook was offered the job, had the deal vetoed by President Glenn McConnell and eventually accepted the position when it was re-offered.
4. Clemson wins ACC again, advances to College Football Playoff
Number 4, The 2017 Clemson Tigers football team. Dabo Swinney has his team back in the college football playoff for the 3rd straight year and has them primed for another run at the national championship. Despite losing a ton of talent from last years team, Clemson rolled through the regular season, minus a small hiccup on a Friday in Syracuse, and after winning another ACC championship game, finished the season as the top-ranked team as they get ready to play Alabama in the national semifinal…Clemson also extended their winning streak over in-state rivals South Carolina to 4
3. South Carolina women win National Championship
At number 3, the South Carolina women’s basketball team captured their first-ever national championship when they went into Dallas and beat conference rivals Mississippi State to cut down the nets. Dawn Staley’s team finished 33-4 on the season led by A’ja Wilson who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
2. South Carolina men advance to the Final Four
At number 2, the South Carolina men found success this year as well. Frank Martin not only guided the team back to the NCAA Tournament but they went on a run of upsets that included beating 2 seed Duke in Greenville, and 3 seed Baylor and 4 seed Florida in Madison Square Garden to reach their first ever Final Four. Their run would end in the national semifinal in Phoenix against Gonzaga.
1. Clemson wins National Championship
And the number 1 sports story of 2017, the Clemson Tigers pulling off an upset for the ages and winning their first national championship in 35 years. Deshaun Watson threw the game-winning TD pass to Hunter Renfrow with just a second left to bring the title back to the Palmetto state for the first time since 1981.