The South Carolina athletics hall of fame held its annual ceremony on Thursday to induct the class of 2021, which featured a record 10 members.
This year’s class includes John Abraham, Mike Durrah and Connor Shaw from football, Michael Roth from baseball, Scotti Ward from men's basketball, Brantley Southers and head coach Nancy Wilson from women's basketball, Ron Willis from track & field, volleyball coach Kim Hudson Williams and former athletics director Dr. Mike McGee.
Durrah, Ward and McGee were all posthumously inducted with friends and family speaking in their place.
“There is not a more talented, more jovial personality that has ever donned a Gamecock uniform than Scotti Ward, and I promise you that,” family friend Matt Younginer said.
Abraham, who was very emotional on Thursday evening, said his journey to this point has been tough, but worth it for him.
“Being here tonight and going into the University of South Carolina hall of fame — when I say it’s gonna stick in my heart forever because y’all came at the right time — it really came at the right time,” he said.
When Wilson, a two-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year, stepped up to the podium, she had high praise for her former player and fellow inductee.
“The first thought I had when I got the job was ‘I get to coach Brantley Southers,’” she said. “Brantley, I want to say thank you, Brantley, not just for staying and helping our team, my team, but for helping this women’s basketball program. This program is different because of you.”
A three-time All-American, Southers said she had an “overwhelming feeling of humbleness” and “never felt something so strong” when she received the induction message.
Hired at South Carolina by Dr. McGee in 1993, Williams highlighted her speech with a quote from the former athletics director.
“It’s not about where you are now, it’s about where we’re going,” she said.
Roth, who originally joined the Gamecock baseball team as a hitter, credited former head coach Ray Tanner for changing his career by making him a pitcher.
“Thankfully, he let me become a lefty specialist and then made a great call on trying to throw me for an inning or two against Clemson in 2010,” Roth said. “That really changed the course of my career at South Carolina, and let me play for seven years professionally.”
Shaw, the winningest quarterback in school history, said being inducted is “undoubtedly one of the greatest honors that I will receive in my lifetime.”
“What I’m most proud of is the expectation of winning for the University of South Carolina football program,” he said. “To be on those teams that created that expectation is what I’m most prideful about.”
The 2021 class will be honored during the South Carolina-Vanderbilt football game on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.