Action would honor USC baseball coach Ray Tanner
State Sens. Courson, Lourie, Land, Setzler, Leventis, Knotts, Malloy, Cromer and Gregory all collaborated on a resolution to name the field of the baseball stadium after USC’s head coach Ray Tanner. The resulting name, Tanner Field at Carolina Stadium, would be aimed at honoring Tanner for his work with the team in his past 15 seasons.
Since Tanner’s arrival, the team has won two national championships (making it the first sport at the university to do so), three SEC Championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles and one SEC Tournament title. He also has a 689-296 win-to-loss record in the 15 seasons he has been at USC, giving the team a .699 winning percentage. The percentage is the second highest all-time among SEC coaches. The team also has won 16 consecutive NCAA tournament games and 11 consecutive College World Series games, which makes the Gamecocks record holders for both.
Tanner himself is a three-time recipient of the SEC Coach of the Year award, with a 1,084-469-3 record for a winning percentage of .698.
“I think it’s a great time, after two back-to-back championships, to [rename the field],” said Matt Orr, a third-year political science student. A follower of Gamecock athletics since childhood, Orr went on to say, “We should do it while we still have Ray Tanner here instead of waiting for some corporate sponsor to take the opportunity.”
The resolution, which is still in its infancy, would not negate the possibility for a sponsor purchasing naming rights of the stadium as the name would only pertain to the field. The situation would work similarly to the naming of the arena inside of the Carolina Coliseum after Frank McGuire in 1977. If naming rights were to be purchased by a sponsor, the Carolina Stadium would become the second baseball stadium to have its naming rights purchased.
The only other baseball field with a sponsored name is the UFCU Disch-Falk Field at the University of Texas at Austin. The stadium is named for two coaches as well as the sponsor, University Federal Credit Union. The sponsorship awarded the school with $13.1 million.
The renaming action may find obstacles as USC officials say that the action would require a change in by-laws for this to happen. Article VII Section 2 of the current bylaws would make Tanner ineligible of the honor until one year after his death.
Other possible honors include a plaque, a statue or the renaming a section of Williams Street. While a plaque or a statue would prove relatively simple, the renaming of Williams Street would require approval from the General Assembly, which is where the move to honor Tanner stemmed from.
Still, senators like Joel Lourie believe that the board could find a way to rename the field as they had with the Darla Moore School of Business.