Jimmy V predicted Ray Tanner's rise to AD
Jul 19, 2012
In case you haven't heard, Ray Tanner is the new Athletics Director at the University of South Carolina. He decided to leave the dugout after winning two national titles in baseball and try his hand at administration. "My move into this chair comes as a surprise to some people, but not to those who know me very well," Tanner said. It took him less than five minutes to mention the influence NC State had on his rise to AD.
Tanner explained how baseball coaches, at the time, had more duties than just coaching. "I gained a lot of experience across a lot of different areas (at NC State) and I really enjoyed it," he said. Tanner explained how Jim Valvano tried to get him to retire from coaching in 1987. According to Ray, when Sam Esposito retired, Valvano asked Tanner to also consider giving up baseball. He offered him a "high level position" working with the basketball team. Tanner remembers Valvano telling him, "You have a great opportunity at a young age to be an Athletic Director, and as a coach you might not make it". Laughter filled the room as the National Champion coach reflected on his past. Obviously, Valvano didn't quite nail his prediction of Tanner's future work in coaching, but he certainly saw the early potential in Ray.
I covered Ray Tanner for 8 years while working in South Carolina. I watched that program blossom. It went from pretty successful to completely dominant in a period of two years. Ray was always a popular guy in Columbia, but after he won the College World Series, he gained Elvis-like status. He really is a hero in the state. That's why I am not surprised to see him take the opportunity to chase another dream now. He can't get more popular and that certainly helps when you are trying to build a department.
I have no idea if Tanner will be a good AD. I know he's plenty personable and a great face for the university, but I am not sure how well he will do with the business aspects of the job. The one thing I know is Tanner is willing to change. During my years covering him, I saw a clear change in the way he led his team. He became laid back and embraced the crazy personality of his his players. He constantly mentioned how he used to get so annoyed with guys messing around on the bus, but he learned to let it go. He found a balance needed to have fun and win. If that seems easy go back and look at what the Gamecocks did the last three years in Omaha. They set some records I doubt will be touched. That ability to learn, grow and change is what I think will make Tanner a success in his new role.
It is weird to see Tanner in a suit and tie and not his typical baseball cap. It's strange to think about the Gamecock baseball team without him in the dugout. Apparently, it's been something he's planned since his days in Raleigh. "Jimmy V, it's not too late," Tanner said with a grin.
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RE: Jimmy V predicted Ray Tanner's rise to ADMandy,
Worked well a few years back for LSU when Skip moved from coaching 5 National championship teams to the AD position.Baseball call them "managers" at the pro level, so maybe the move to an administrative position is not that strange.