CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With the decade coming to an end, we look back at the 10 biggest stories we’ve covered in the Lowcountry over the last 10 years
#10 Steve Spurrier leaves South Carolina - In 2015, Steve Spurrier shocked the college football world when he walked away from South Carolina, 6 games into the season. The head ball coach saying at the time, it was time to get out of the way for the next guy. During his 10+ year run with the Gamecocks, he led the program to new heights including a division championship in 2010, 3 straight 11 win seasons and 5 straight wins over Clemson.
“If it starts going south, starts going bad, then I need to get out." Spurrier said at his going away press conference. "You can’t keep a head coach as long as I have if it’s going in the wrong direction.”
#9 Charleston Battery play final game at MUSC Health Stadium, get sold - In may of 2019, MUSC Health Stadium was surprisingly sold to a property company for almost 6.5 million dollars bringing an end to the Battery’s 20 year run on Daniel Island. The team would close the stadium with a 5-1 win over Bethlehem Steele in October.
“right now I’m starting to realize that walking off the field for the last time." head coach Mike Anhaeuser said after the final win. "It’s depressing for me for that. Then I looked up there and I told the guys, we’re gonna make a statement and something that it goes down in history and if it is the last game here, that’s what you’re gonna remember.”
Shortly after the end of the season, the team would be sold to Rob Salvatore and set up an agreement to play at CofC’s field at Patriots Point
#8 Chris Singleton loses his mother in mass shooting, gets selected in MLB Draft - There is no aspect of life in the Lowcountry that wasn’t affected by the tragic shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME church on June 17th of 2015 and sports was no exception. Charleston Southern outfielder and Goose Creek alum Chris Singleton lost his mother Sharonda during the shooting. Just a day later, the 19 year old was in front of a gaggle of cameras, delivering the speech that would help set the tone for how the area would react to this violent act.
“Love is always stronger than hate, so if we just love the way my mom would then the hate won’t be anywhere close to what love is, honestly my knees are a little weak right now but I’m trying to stay as strong as I can as I press on” Singleton would say.
2 years later, Singleton would get to live out one of his dreams as he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and played pro ball in their minor league system for 2 seasons.
#7 South Carolina makes the Final Four - In 2017, for the first time in school history, the Gamecocks reached the pinnacle of college basketball pulling off upsets along the way as the 7th seed would beat higher seeds, Duke, Baylor and Florida led by Sindarius Thornwell.
“if you’re focusing on chasing young kids around hoping that they grow up and believe and you end up with guys like these right next to me and their teammates that have the courage to come back every day and do more. I’m outta words, just extremely proud of these guys right next to me.” Frank Martin would say.
The run would end in Phoenix with a loss to Gonzaga.
#6 The Lowcountry hosts 2 golf majors - The Lowcountry served as the focus of the professional golf world twice this decade hosting 2 major championships. The 2012 PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on Kiawah and the 2019 US Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston. Rory McIlroy was crowned as the champion in 2012, he played a solid tournament never being down by more than 2 strokes at the end of a day.
“It’s nice to break a record like that especially of Jack Nicklaus who’s the most successful player of all-time. It’s a nice acheivement” McIlroy would say.
In 2019, Jeongeun Lee 6, came from behind on the final day to win her first major at the US Women’s Open.
#5 Doug Wojcik fired at CofC - It was weeks of drama at the College of Charleston in the Summer of 2014 when the school fired head basketball coach Doug Wojcik. The move came after the school conducted an investigation that found that Wojcik likely verbally abused the players including using a homophobic slur. He was fired a month after the report came out. The Cougars would hire Earl Grant to replace Wojcik and Grant would lead the team to the NCAA Touranment in 2018.
#4 South Carolina women win National Championship -In 2017, led by one of the greatest athletes in school history, A’ja Wilson, the Gamecocks would reach the Final Four in Dallas. Carolina would face off against conference rivals Mississippi State in the national title game and Wilson led the way scoring 23 points in the clinching victory.
“It feels incredible." head coach Dawn Staley said. "It’s a relief to be so close and have our players execute a game plan. To have players step up and hit big shots.”
#3 John McKissick reaches 600 wins, retires, passes away - At number 3, perhaps the most important sports figure in the Lowcountry, John McKissick. The Summerville coach would add to his list of records in 2012 when he beat former assistant Kenny Walker and Ashley Ridge to win his 600th game. He would add 21 more wins to his resume before finally deciding to step away from the game in 2015. The winningest coach at any level of organized football.
“I’ve had a great life here in Summerville.” McKissick said at his retirement press conference. “I don’t think that anybody has had a better career then I’ve had as far as me enjoying it and living in a place like Summerville.”
McKissick would pass away on Thanksgiving day 2019 at the age of 92.
#2 South Carolina baseball wins back to back National Championships - The Gamecocks had perennially been one of the best teams in the country, but they took the next step in 2010 when led by Michael Roth and Jackie Bradley Junior, they would beat UCLA in the final series to win the national championship.
“The new stadium is going to be tremendous, but this is history and we’re gonna be a part of this for many years to come” Ray Tanner said after winning the final CWS game at the old stadium in Omaha.
They would return to Omaha a year later and this time, facing conference rivals Florida, Ray Tanner led his team to their 2nd straight national title.
#1 Clemson football wins 2 National Championships - After coming up just short in the National Championship game in 2016, the Tigers came roaring back in 2017 led by Deshaun Watson to win their first national title since 1981 beating Alabama in Tampa.
“I said, I love you. I said this is what you came here to do.” Dabo Swinney said after the win. “I’m so proud of you, we did it, we did it. Did what we set out to do.”
After falling to the Tide in the semifinals in 2018, Clemson would get the better of Alabama again in the 2019 title game in Santa Clara giving the Tigers a perfect 15-0 record and claiming their spot as one of the best teams ever.