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South Carolina will retire four more jerseys in 2023
The recent retirements of Kip Bouknight's No. 14 and Jadeveon Clowney's No. 7 jersey will make it a total of six for the academic year 2022-03.
Since 2019, the University of South Carolina has made a concerted effort to retire more athletics jerseys than it has in the past, and To Thee Forever Ago has learned that four additional University of South Carolina athletics jerseys are designated for retirement during the 2022-23 academic year. This will bring the total for 2022-23 to six — the maximum allowed under the university’s current bylaws, and the most jerseys South Carolina has retired in a single season since athletics director Ray Tanner placed renewed emphasis on the practice beginning in 2019. The ceremonies are still being scheduled, and corresponding announcements for the remaining recipients are not expected to arrive until the fall of 2023.
The first 2022-23 jersey retirement came in September, when Jadeveon Clowney’s No. 7 jersey was retired at halftime of the the football team’s 2022 season opener against Georgia State. The second jersey retirement happened on Friday, April 28th, when former baseball star Kip Bouknight had his No. 14 jersey retired in a ceremony at Founders Park. It is not known from which sports the other retirements have been chosen, but we do know that they will not be baseball or football jerseys; rules prohibit more than one jersey retirement per sport in any given academic year.
Clowney and Bouknight were both returned from the jersey retirement committee with unanimous recommendations. The four unannounced recipients were also unanimous selections by the committee, TTFA has learned.
Both coaches and athletes are eligible for jersey retirement, provided that they are five years removed from their final season of competition. The voting begins with committee members selecting from a list of players and coaches who have been recommended by the sport’s current head coach (with the support of the athletics director) and who satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
University record holder
A consensus All-American
A consensus National Player of the Year (Naismith, Wooden, Heisman, Outland, Golden Spikes)
An Olympic medalist while a student at USC
An All SEC 1st or 2nd team for 3 years
A Conference championship win(s)
A NCAA national championship win(s)
Coach for NCAA national championship record holder(s)
Iconic status within the South Carolina University community and with the general public
The jersey retirement committee members for the 2022-23 academic year are Curtis Frye, Shelley Smith, Boo Major, Alex English, Stephen Sheppard (President of the Lettermen’s Association), and Steve Fink (athletics director’s designee). Every year, the committee is composed of a male and female head coach, a former recipient (if available), a member of the Letterman’s Association, a member of the Board of Trustees’ intercollegiate activities committee, and an AD’s designee.
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The committee conducts two rounds of voting, each member ranking their choices from the available candidates, one through six. This process produces a group of finalists; for 2022-23, there were 12 finalists. Then, the committee conducts a straw poll that forms the basis of discussion for selecting the recipients.
In March 2019, South Carolina announced the retirements of jerseys for softball pitcher Trinity Johnson (1995-97), baseball pitcher Earl Bass (1972-75), and track and field stars Terrence Trammell (1998-2000) and Miki Barber (1999-2003). Since, then USC has made individual announcements for Clint Mathis (1994-97) of men’s soccer in Oct. 2019, former softball coach Joyce Compton (1997-2010) in Feb. 2022, and Dawn Ellerbee of track and field (1992-97) in April 2022.
“I think we’re way behind across the board in all sports in retiring jerseys,” athletics director Ray Tanner told the Charleston Post & Courier in March 2018. “You will probably see in the next few years more jerseys being retired.”
Since 2007, a player’s jersey number remains in circulation even after his or her jersey is retired. A jersey is not eligible for retirement until five years after the player or coach’s final season of competition.
Thanks to fellow Substacker and USC sports historianfor his recent post on jersey retirements, which first attracted my attention to this issue.
Have an educated guess about whose jersey retirement we might see this fall? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.