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Former Gamecocks Make Impact by Supporting New Facilities
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Former Gamecocks Make Impact by Supporting New Facilities

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

South Carolina will celebrate the grand opening of its brand-new Carolina Indoor Tennis Center this week, and supporters such as former Gamecock tennis standout Jose Salibi Neto (1980-1982), who became a Cornerstone donor in support of the new facility, are a big reason why. The former Gamecock has not only supported the new Indoor Facility, but he has also contributed to be a naming sponsor for one of the courts at the Carolina Tennis Center (outdoor facility) and has supported the Harold White Courtyard at the Cregger Athletics Village, which is named for the former long-time South Carolina coach and administrator.
Jose Salibi Neto current
Jose Salibi Neto

“I have always felt that the University of South Carolina is my second home,” said Salibi Neto, who lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he had founded his native country’s leading executive education company, HSM, and also wrote six best-selling management books. “Whenever I visit the school I have a warm feeling of caring and protection. That is what South Carolina had done for me when I was a young tennis player for our team. I can’t wait to visit South Carolina again and seeing my name on one of the courts.

“I am very proud to be a part of the new facility which will help attract better players and that my donation will help to continue the Gamecock tennis legacy. Regarding coach White, I lost my father when I was just 21 and a senior at South Carolina. Coach White embraced me and made sure I graduated, giving me mental professionals and also a tutor to help me study. That will never be forgotten.”

In 2009 Salibi Neto was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Moore School of Business, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since graduation, he has been a consistent advocate for the University.

“South Carolina gave me the personal infrastructure to be able to become a successful entrepreneur at a young age (26),” Salibi Neto said. “The coaches, professors, and staff did everything they could to develop me.”

South Carolina’s men’s and women’s tennis programs have been nationally competitive for decades, and the Carolina Indoor Tennis Center backs up the Athletics Department’s commitment to support all of its programs in their quest to win championships and also make a difference in recruiting.

“I encourage everyone to support the team and the school, especially the ones that have achieved professional success. We shall never forget the people at the school that helped us become who we are today.”

The Carolina Indoor Tennis Center is the only one of its kind in the Midlands. Former student-athletes, alumni, as well as other supporters of tennis at the University and in the community have selflessly stepped up in raising more than $500,000 to complete the project.

The Gamecocks needed an indoor facility for training and to play matches year-round in inclement or “famously hot” weather. The new facility is just over 55,000 square feet with six competition courts, and is outfitted with scoreboards, locker rooms, public restrooms, athletics training space for medical treatment of student-athletes as well as other needs for the teams and officials. The teams had previously had four courts in what used to be a multi-purpose facility shared by several Athletics programs, but that was converted to the state-of-the-art Carolina Track & Field Indoor Complex in 2019.

While the Gamecocks enjoy priority access to the facility for practice, matches and camps, it will also be made available to others on a limited basis, including Cornerstone ($25K) and Founding ($15K) member donors, and there is still room for others to show their support.

“I encourage everyone to support the team and the school, especially the ones that have achieved professional success,” Salibi-Neto said.  “We shall never forget the people at the school that helped us become who we are today.”

There are still opportunities to make a difference and those interested in offering their support can click here or call Jesse Kasser, Director of Athletics Development at 803.777.5451.

Indoor Tennis Center