Former Gamecocks Flock to USC Association of Lettermen Golf Tournament
More than one hundred former South Carolina student-athletes from a wide variety of sports got together on Friday for the 40th Annual USC Association of Lettermen Golf Tournament sponsored by the Garnet Trust Foundation at the Fort Jackson Golf Club in Columbia.
“The tournament is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Stephen Sheppard, who is the President of the Association of Lettermen and a formal football student-athlete who graduated in 1980. “With the alumni that come back, along with our tournament sponsors, that helps fund the Association as we are a non-profit organization. This allows us to have different events throughout the year. We have over 40 teams playing here today, and they’re representing most of our sports.”
“We wanted to be involved with the lettermen in the hopes that they’ll want to be a part of us and teach the new student-athletes about giving back to the community,” said Jeremy Smith, President of the Garnet Trust Foundation, the title sponsor for the event. “The Garnet Trust Foundation is a non-profit that is going to come alongside local non-profits throughout the state by bringing opportunities for student-athletes to come and facilitate for some of their needs. It’s part of Name, Image, and Likeness, but it’s more about giving back to the community and teaching the student-athletes about that and hoping they go back home to their communities and want to give back as well.”
A common reason for athletics alumni coming back is for events such as this is the comradery and enjoying the company of different generations of Gamecocks while also remembering their days of wearing the Garnet and Black.
“It’s fun to come out here and meet so many new people from so many different sports,” said former beach volleyball standout Shannon (Williams) Orth (2016-2019, who is married to former Gamecock quarterback Perry Orth (2015-2016). “It’s fun to do events like this and share a meal and just get to know different people. I think my best memories were when we went to the two (NCAA) national championships (tournaments).”
“First of all, it’s great to give back,” said football alumnus Patrick DiMarco (2007-2010). “The comradery and the fellowship are great. I haven’t seen some of these folks in four or five years, so it’s great to give them a big hug and reminisce and talk about the experiences that we’ve had. It’s fun to talk about the buzz that’s going on right now. It’s great to see all the different generations of Gamecocks that are out here. We’re all Gamecocks.
“I’m excited to see a lot of guys and also meet a lot of folks from different sports that I haven’t met yet. The stories are great, and they might get a little more exaggerated as the years go by. It’s a blast. Winning the SEC East in 2010 down in the Swamp at Florida, which was near where I grew up, was my greatest memory.”
For more information about the University of South Carolina Association of Lettermen, click here