Student-athletes celebrate end of the 2012-13 academic year with awards ceremony and dinner.
Student-Athletes signed thank you cards for donors.
University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner is in his sixth year guiding the fortunes of the Gamecocks’ athletics programs. After a long and highly successful career as Carolina’s baseball coach, Tanner officially began his new duties on Aug. 2, 2012.
Under Tanner’s watch, Gamecock student-athletes have achieved tremendous success in intercollegiate athletic competition, in the classroom and the community.
In May 2017, Tanner was awarded a contract extension by the USC Board of Trustees, keeping him in the athletics director chair until 2022.
In addition to his athletics director duties, Tanner accepted the role of student mentor on the South Carolina campus that was offered to him by President Harris Pastides. “When he does talk to the broader student body, he has huge respect. I am looking for someone who is impactful,” said Pastides.
Gamecock student-athletes have led all schools in the SEC Academic Honor Roll, earning 911 recognitions in the last 10 reports (2014-17 / Fall, Winter, Spring, First-Year). Carolina student-athletes have earned a cumulative 3.0 grade point average or better in 21 consecutive semesters.
In the last five academic years, the Gamecocks have won two national championships (2017 women’s basketball, 2014 equestrian), eight SEC regular season and tournament championships and its 832.5 points in the 2016-17 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup All-Sports Standings is the most in school history. The Gamecocks placed 21st in the Learfield Cup in 2016-17, its best finish since 2002-03 (18th) and third best finish in school history.
For the second straight year, in 2016-17. Carolina also claimed the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series, sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. The series consists of athletic, community service and academic points in head-to-head matchups against Clemson.
The Gamecocks have had 21 teams finish in the Top 10 and 40 finish in the Top 25 during the last five years.
Carolina student-athletes accomplished these academic and athletic feats while performing more than 9,000 hours of community service, breaking an athletics department record for four straight years.
In September 2014, Tanner spearheaded the development of “The Gamecock Student-Athlete Promise,” a document that showcases the depth and breadth of the commitments the South Carolina Athletics Department has made to its student-athletes.
As part of the document, USC became the first school in the SEC to guarantee four-year scholarships for all qualifying sports. It also offers former student-athletes the opportunity to return back to campus to complete their undergraduate degree as part of the “Gamecock Degree Completion Program.”
As part of giving Gamecock student-athletes a “championship experience” at USC, the commitment to develop the finest facilities in the nation continues.
Since taking on the athletics director role at USC, Tanner has overseen construction and facility renovation projects such as Springs-Brooks Plaza and the Bignon Game Day Center, Gamecock Football Indoor Practice Facility, USC Soccer Complex, Wheeler Beach Volleyball facility and locker rooms in Carolina Natatorium. Carolina hosted the 2017 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the newly-renovated Cregger Track.
Plans are also underway for a new football operations building and upgrades to Founders Park.
Tanner completed his second year as a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee and is scheduled to be on the committee through the 2019 baseball season.
A dedicated community leader whose charitable organization, The Ray Tanner Foundation, has made a difference in many South Carolina families, a three-time National Coach of the Year and Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, Tanner completed 16 years as head coach at the University of South Carolina, establishing one of the premier programs in college baseball prior to being named AD. He led the Garnet & Black to two NCAA Division I Baseball Championships, a pair of national runner-up finishes, six College World Series appearances, three SEC championships, six SEC Eastern division titles, a SEC tournament crown and 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Tanner gained valuable experience at an international level in his association with USA Baseball. He served five stints with Red, White and Blue, including in 2003 as head coach for the USA National Baseball Team. He was named the U.S. National Coach of the Year for his work that season.
Tanner was named the South Carolina head coach June 14, 1996, after nine successful seasons as head coach at his alma mater, North Carolina State.
Tanner has a bachelor’s degree in recreational administration from NC State (1980) and a master’s of public affairs, public administration (1983).
Born Donald Ray Tanner, Jr., March 25, 1958, in Smithfield, NC, Tanner grew up in Benson, NC. He is married to the former Karen Donald, a native of Charleston, SC. The Tanners have two daughters, Bridgette Grace (“Gracie”) and Margaret Pearl (“Maggie”) and one son, Joseph Luke (“Luke”).