Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Ray Tanner

Ray Tanner

University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner is in his 11th year guiding 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. On March 17, 2023, Tanner was awarded a contract extension, keeping him in the AD’s chair until 2026.

As reforms start to take place in intercollegiate athletics, Tanner has maintained the importance of the student-athlete experience at South Carolina. The athletics department has committed to giving each student-athlete the maximum amount of financial awards as allowed by the Alston vs. NCAA Supreme Court decision.

South Carolina has also put resources in place for its student-athletes to take advantage of the Name, Image, Likeness opportunities. Whether it is NIL compensation-generating opportunities or learning about promotion, branding and business, Gamecock student-athletes can succeed in this new landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

Under Tanner’s watch, Gamecock student-athletes have achieved tremendous success in intercollegiate athletic competition, in the classroom and in the community.

Gamecock student-athletes have posted a cumulative 3.0 grade point average or better in 32-consecutive semesters. Since 2015, Gamecock student-athletes have earned more SEC Academic Honor Roll honors than any other school. The departmental GPA of 3.700 in Spring 2020 was a school record, topping the previous mark of 3.338 set in Spring 2019.

Under Tanner’s watch, the Gamecocks have won three national championships (2014 equestrian, 2017 and 2022 women’s basketball), 17 SEC regular season and tournament championships and have posted three of the top six finishes in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup All-Sports Standings in school history, including a 21st-place finish in 2016-17.

During Tanner’s tenure as AD, the Gamecocks have had 40 teams finish in the Top 10 and 85 finish in the Top 25.

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 to campus to complete their undergraduate degree as part of the “Gamecock Degree Completion Program.”

In fulfilling The Promise, the Gamecock athletics department launched “Beyond Sports,” a professional development and internship summer program for student-athletes, who wish to get “real world” experience in their field of study.

As part of giving Gamecock student-athletes a “championship experience”, the commitment to develop the finest facilities in the nation continues.

Since taking on the athletics director role, every athletics program at USC has been the beneficiary of either a new or significantly upgraded practice or competition facility. These include the Cyndi and Kenneth Long Family Football Operations Center, Springs-Brooks Plaza and the Bignon Game Day Center, Jerri and Steve Spurrier Football Indoor Practice Facility, USC Soccer Complex, Wheeler Beach Volleyball facility, Carolina Softball Stadium, practice courts, training rooms and weight rooms for basketball and volleyball, and locker rooms in Carolina Natatorium.

For the 2022 football season, Williams-Brice Stadium had new LED lighting, ribbon boards and audio upgrades to enhance the fan experience.

Prior to the 2020 football season, renovations to Williams-Brice Stadium included upgrades in premium seating for the East Side, West Side and South Lower, as well as a new “2001 Club” located near the team entrance.

Tanner has negotiated contracts for Gamecock Athletics that have created additional exposure and revenue for the department. As part of a 10-year agreement with IMG, a new center-hung scoreboard and 360-degree LED ribbon board was added to Colonial Life Arena in 2018. South Carolina’s IMG marketing arrangement, finalized in 2016, was ranked as the seventh-largest in college athletics by the Portland Business Journal.

The Gamecocks have a 10-year contract with Under Armour as its official outfitter, which was signed in 2016. At that time, the contract was one of the 10 largest in college athletics, ranked by Forbes magazine.

During Tanner’s tenure, revenues and expenses for Gamecock athletics have increased more than 52 percent. While the costs of sustaining a major college athletics department is increasing, Tanner is committed to giving Gamecock student-athletes a “championship experience.”

Tanner ensured Gamecock student-athletes had the latest in safety and health precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with campus and local health officials and represented their interests on the SEC and national collegiate level.

Tanner recently served on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee for four years and was its chair for two seasons.

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. He celebrated his 25th year at South Carolina during the 2021-22 academic year.

Born March 25, 1958 in Smithfield, N.C., Tanner owns two degrees from NC State. He and his wife, Karen, have three children, Gracie, Maggie and Luke.