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Eight Selected for South Carolina Lettermen’s Hall of Fame
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Eight Selected for South Carolina Lettermen’s Hall of Fame

Eight former University of South Carolina standout student-athletes have been selected for induction into the USC Lettermen’s Hall of Fame as the Class of 2023, it was announced today.

The eight who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame include Allison Brennan (swimming & diving), Ernest Dye (football), Eric Ecker (men’s golf), Shaunzinski Gortman (women’s basketball), Wallie Jones (baseball), Chris Mayotte (men’s tennis), Kim Pietro (softball) and Demetria Washington (women’s track & field). The class will be officially inducted on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, and will be recognized at the South Carolina-Florida football game on Saturday, Oct. 14.

More information regarding the Hall of Fame dinner will be announced at a later date.

Brennan won the first and only NCAA Championship by a South Carolina individual in swimming & diving as she captured the 2004 NCAA crown in the one-meter event. She also won the U.S. Diving National Championship in the three-meter competition en route to being named the 2004 South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame Female Amateur Athlete of the Year. Brennan was named SEC Diver of the Year and USC’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2006 after winning the conference title in both the one- and three-meter events and capturing runner-up honors at the NCAA Championships in the one-meter competition. Overall, she earned four All-America certificates in her Carolina career. Brennan went on to finish third at the 2008 Olympic Trials and was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Olympic Games. She also finished fourth at the U.S. Diving Grand Prix in the three-meter event, third at U.S. Nationals in three-meter, and sixth at the 2007 World Championships in the one-meter, and posted several other top finishes internationally.

ERNEST DYE (1991-92)
Dye played two years at South Carolina after transferring from junior college. An offensive lineman, he earned first-team All-SEC recognition from the league’s coaches in his senior season of 1992, becoming the first Gamecock to garner first-team All-SEC honors. Dye was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals with the 18th pick in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He played professionally from 1993 to 1998 in the Cardinals’ organization before his career came to an abrupt end in 1999 after he was seriously injured in an automobile accident.

ERIC ECKER (1995-2000)
Ecker was a standout on the Carolina golf team from in the late 1990s, helping the Gamecocks climb to as high as number 3 in the national rankings. As a sophomore, he helped the Gamecocks to the 1998 Southeastern Conference, earned first-team All-SEC honors and was an All-American. As a junior in 1999, he again earned first-team All-SEC and All-America honors and was selected for the US/Japan Cup matches. As a senior in 2000, he earned second-team All-SEC honors and finished his collegiate career playing in the most competitive rounds in USC school history. Ecker garnered 26 Top-10 finishes throughout collegiate career and posted a career scoring average of 72.1.

Gortman was a four-year letterwinner for the Gamecock women’s basketball team. She scored 1,367 points during her career on 41.1 percent shooting, averaging over 13 points per game. She added 576 rebounds, 318 assists and 212 steals in 105 contests. She led the Gamecocks in 3-point shooting in both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. Gortman owns one of just eight triple-doubles in program history. She was a second-team All-SEC performer as a junior, then earned first-team All-SEC honors as a senior, along with honorable mention All-America accolades. She was named to the 2002 NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team after leading the Gamecocks to a 25-7 record and a spot in the Elite 8. Gortman was selected by Charlotte with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2002 WNBA Draft, the first SEC player taken in that draft, and played professionally for both Minnesota and Washington, as well as overseas.

WALLIE JONES (1965-69)
Jones lettered in baseball at South Carolina for three seasons from 1967-69. As a senior, he earned first-team All-ACC honors as a second baseman. He remains the Gamecock record-holder for most putouts by a second baseman in a game. He led the team in stolen bases in 1967, in runs scored, doubles and triples in 1968, and in runs scored and stolen bases in 1969. Following his playing career, he began a 40-year career as a dentist and was a highly-successful American Legion baseball coach in Sumter, S.C. for 25 years.

Mayotte was an accomplished member of the South Carolina men’s tennis team from 1976-79. During his four-year collegiate career, he posted a 93-25 record as a singles player and a 62-18 mark in doubles competition. From 1977-78, he recorded an impressive 42-10 mark in singles play. In 1978 and ’79, he teamed with Arthur Anastopoulo to post a 34-14 doubles mark. He was a two-time All-American and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA in doubles. He was the recipient of the 1979 Rafael Osuna Award, signifying outstanding sportsmanship, character, scholastic achievement, and tennis playing accomplishments. He went on to play tennis professionally, winning three doubles titles and was the first Gamecock to play singles in all four Grand Slam events.

KIM PIETRO (1996-99)
Pietro was a four-year letterwinner for the Gamecock softball team. She was a three-time NFCA All-Region First Team selection and a three-time All-SEC First Team honoree. She led the Gamecocks to three NCAA Regional appearances in four years, including a berth in the 1997 Women’s College World Series. Her best season came in 1999 when she was named the SEC Softball Player of the Year and earned first-team NFCA All-America and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors after leading the team in batting average (.419), hits (83), runs (42) and doubles (16). Pietro still ranks in the school’s all-time top-10 list in numerous categories, including batting average (.346), hits (227), runs (135), doubles (55), triples (12) and total bases (348). In addition, she was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member.

Washington was a sprinter who specialized in the 400 meters. She was a six-time NCAA Champion and was part of the South Carolina women’s outdoor track and field team that won the 2002 NCAA championship, the first team title in any sport for the Gamecocks. Her 21 All-American honors remain the most in school history and she was recognized as the 2002 National Indoor Athlete of the Year. Washington was part of the 4×4 relay team that posted a time of 3:26.46, which stood as the fastest time in Gamecock history for 20 years until 2022. Following graduation, she was a gold medalist on the United States’ 2003 4×4 relay team at the World Championships and won the silver medal in the open 400 at the USA Outdoor Championships. More recently, “Mama Dee” was named the 2022 North Carolina Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc., the 58th woman in North Carolina to hold that honor since the program began in 1935.