As mentioned on Wednesday, December 29th’s edition of “Section 26 Sports”, here are the Top 10 Moments from sports in South Carolina for 2010. As with the previous list, these are purely the opinions of the “Section 26 Sports” hosts. Others might have certain things in different orders, added something, or omitted something.
10. Denny Hamlin sweeps Mother’s Day Weekend at Darlington.
You knew that Hamlin would be a star when in his first race at Darlington, in a Nationwide Series car, finished in the top-10. His performances at the track continued when he won the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington on Mother’s Day Weekend.
9. Kyle Parker gets drafted in MLB, returns to Clemson.
Kyle Parker went to Clemson because they gave him an opportunity to be a two-sport star in baseball and football. He has succeeded at both.
Parker was drafted in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft’s first round by the Colorado Rockies. He wanted to play baseball, but wanted to play football, too.
Down to the last second of negotiations, Parker signed his contract with Colorado, but it allowed him to return to Clemson to play football in 2010.
Looking back on it, might not have been the best decision.
8. South Carolina upsets #1 Kentucky in basketball.
Less than 36 hours from becoming the number-0ne team in the country, and less than 8 hours from speaking with President Barack Obama, Kentucky was beaten by South Carolina 68-62.
A $25,000 celebration later, and the Gamecocks are all over television, for managing to pull the upset. Click here for the post following the game.
7. Oliver Purnell leaves Clemson.
This story somewhat flew under the radar, but was very important nevertheless.
Following the Tigers’ season, Purnell left Clemson for DePaul, a program in the cellar of the Big East Conference.
For Purnell, it is a good move. If he can turn around DePaul, it will put him in the upper echelon of coaches in college basketball, simply for his ability to take a bad program and make them winners.
6. Marcus Lattimore recruiting-trail.
Where would the Byrnes star running back go was the question much of the first part of the year. At the end, it came down to Auburn or South Carolina.
In front of his church, in a much lower-scale “The Decision” moment, Lattimore announced that he would attend South Carolina.
I guess you could say the rest is history.
5. Clemson and South Carolina take the rivalry to Omaha.
In a repeat of an earlier College World Series, the 2010 edition would feature either Clemson or South Carolina in the finale.
South Carolina beat Clemson in back-to-back games to advance to the final, guided by a Michael Roth masterpiece in the first game, where they would eventually be crowned National Champions.
4. Notable Deaths of South Carolina sport’s leaders.
2010 saw the loss of three noted people in South Carolina sport’s history. Legendary radio voice of the Gamecocks Bob Fulton, former Gamecocks wide receiver Kenny McKinley, and former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams all passed away.
McKinley’s and Adams’ death were both very shocking. Adams, 26, passed away in January due to cardiac arrest. McKinley, 23, passed away just a few months ago when he committed suicide.
Fulton’s death at age 89 meant the loss of a person whose eyes had seen many Gamecocks feats, and whose voice described the moments that Gamecock fans who could not attend the game, feel like they were in the front row.
3. South Carolina upsets the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide.
In a year that saw the Gamecocks upset three number-one teams, the upset of Alabama was special. The game drew ESPN’s College GameDay, a national CBS audience, and a sell-out crowd.
It was a game that proved to the SEC and the country that the Gamecocks would be a force, with their 35-21 victory over Alabama.
2. South Carolina wins the SEC East.
Although it was very bittersweet, the Gamecocks achieved something it had never done before, making it to the SEC Championship game. Unfortunately, they had to face an unstoppable Auburn team.
It is easy to go back and forth about how to rank this, considering the Gamecocks were the best in a mediocre division and were not competitive in the game. Click here for the story on the Gamecocks securing the SEC East title.
1. South Carolina Gamecocks are National Champions in College Baseball.
In all honesty, this was a no-brainer in determining this list. The Gamecocks first national championship in a major sport ever, was the team’s back-to-back wins over UCLA in the final College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Click here for the story immediately following the championship, and explaining why the city of Columbia had a right to go crazy over baseball.
There you have, the 10 reasons why 2010 in South Carolina sports will be remembered for a long-time.