Will Vandervort joins CUTigers

Award-winning sportswriter joins CUTigers staff as a fulltime senior writer.

CUTigers announced today Will Vandervort will join its staff on a fulltime basis starting March 9, 2009- the first day of spring practice for the Clemson football team.

Vandervort, who will cover the Clemson beat as well as recruiting in his new role as a senior writer for CUTigers, is an award-winning sportswriter who comes from The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger in Seneca and Clemson.

He also served as the sports editor of The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger and as part of his duties he covered Clemson University Athletics on a daily basis.

"We are excited to have Will on board now at CUTigers," site publisher Roy Philpott said. "The bottom line is Will is a strong writer and will give our subscribers excactly what they want - quality Clemson-related content every single day.

"He's done a tremendous job covering Clemson athletics over the years and now he can focus all of his efforts on what he loves most- writing. We can't wait for him to get started."

While in Seneca, Vandervort played a big role in the The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger's success and growth over the last five years. The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger is one of just a handful of papers in the state of South Carolina to continue to grow in circulation.

Thanks to some of the many elements Vandervort established in the sports section during his time at the paper, including an increased presence covering Clemson sports, he and his staff won multiple awards in the newspaper industry.

Vandervort was born and raised in South Carolina. After spending the first 10 years of his life in Greenville, he moved to Bamberg in 1982 where he graduated from Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School in 1991.

An avid Clemson fan growing up, Vandervort learned the Clemson ways and traditions through his stepfather Carl Buck, Jr., Class of '49.

"Growing up, I bled orange," Vandervort said. "I followed the Tigers in every sport and I was fascinated with the history of the school and its great traditions. I wanted to be a Clemson Tiger, and like all little boys who grow up a Clemson fan, I wanted to run down the hill and touch Howard's Rock one day."

After high school, Vandervort went to Anderson College where he wrote for the school newspaper. While at Anderson he covered both the basketball and baseball teams.

"That's when I first learned that I enjoyed writing," he said. "I already knew by then that I would never get to play for Clemson, but that's when I discovered that maybe one day I would get the opportunity to cover my favorite team, my stepfather's school, as a journalist."

That opportunity came in 2004 when Vandervort accepted the job to be the sports editor at The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger in Seneca. At that time, he had been the sports editor at The Newberry Observer in Newberry for three years.

"I loved my job at The Observer. The people there were great," he said. "It was a tough decision, but it was an opportunity for me to achieve one of my goals. I was going to get the chance to cover the Tigers."

But like any true journalist, Vandervort put his passion for Clemson aside and covered the Tigers in all sports with an unbiased eye.

"I think it is important for my readers to understand that I am a journalist first," he said. "I have an obligation to my readers, and that is to do my best for them and tell them the truth about the happenings inside the program.

"I'm their eyes, and if that means taking off my orange colored glasses to get the job done correctly, then that's what I'm going to do."

Vandervort says his experiences covering the Tigers at The Daily Journal/The Daily Messenger will only help him in his efforts to be the best at CUTigers.com.

"They gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer and reporter over there and it also gave me the opportunity to understand what the reader truly wants and that is informative news and in depth reporting," he said. "That's what I will bring to CUTigers.com. Yes, I'm a Clemson guy, I always have been, but like Roy, Dan and Don, I will do my absolute best to bring the readers of this Web site the most update and informative unbiased news that I can."

Vandervort has been a sportswriter for more than 12 years and has worked as a sportswriter and editor for daily newspapers in both Georgia and South Carolina, where he has won several awards in sports writing, layout design, special sections and photography. Vandervort is happily married to his wife of 15 years, Cindy, and is affiliated with The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

"We are happy to have Will on board with CUTigers, and he will only strengthen what is already one of the leading team-sites on the Internet today," Philpott said.

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