The USC Athletic Department announced late Wednesday night that the reins of the play-by-play job for the upcoming football season has been handed over to former USC quarterback Todd Ellis.
Ellis, a practicing attorney in Columbia, has served as a sideline reporter for the Gamecock Radio Network and as a color analyst in various other roles for the past ten seasons. He has also done play-by-play for Comcast Sports Southeast during Gamecock rebroadcasts on their TV network.
Ellis will also host the Lou Holtz television "Coach's Show," where weekly highlights are aired and discussed, and the weekly radio call-in shows on the Gamecock Radio Network. Tommy Suggs, another former Gamecock great quarterback, will remain in the booth with Ellis doing his color commentary as he has for the past 30 seasons. Suggs had worked 23 years with Bob Fulton prior to his seven seasons with Charlie McAlexander.
Mike Morgan, currently the voice of Lady Gamecock Basketball and Gamecock Baseball, will assume the play-by-play responsibilities on the CSS network being vacated by Ellis. Morgan will also retain his duties as the voice of the women's basketball team, and the beloved voice of Gamecock baseball along with his color man Tom Price. Morgan will also serve as the host of the Ray Tanner and Susan Walvius coaches' TV shows.
1980 Gamecock Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers will also continue in his role on future tape-delayed broadcasts of Gamecock football.
Charlie McAlexander has been offered to remain as the play-by-play man for the Gamecock mens' basketball team ... a position that most Gamecock fans feel he is most suited. But Alexander has yet to respond to the offer.
Casey Manning will return as the color analyst for men's basketball and his eleventh season behind the sidecourt mic.
McAlexander had come under increasing fire in recent seasons for his somewhat bland, often confusing play-by-play calls of the Gamecock football games. Fans complained openly that McAlexander failed to give them a true visual description and "feel" for the contests as he often conveyed equal excitement for an opponent as he did for the home town team.
Neutral listeners were often unsure of which team Charlie "Mac," as he has become known ... of which team was paying his salary? Gamecock fans seem to desire someone who is more intune with their program and the emotions of their fans. Ellis, a long time Gamecock favorite among the fans, is sure to add a dash of alumni flair to the games.
"Give'em a Garnet Six" became McAlexander's catch-phrase and that only served to infuriate many long time followers of Gamecock football who felt it was condescending and amateurish. "Kiss and Hug the ones you love," was considered by many to be equally silly and poorly chosen.
GAMECOCK ATHLETICS ENTERS PARTNERSHIP WITH NATIONAL SPORTS MARKETING
For Immediate Release May 28, 2003
COLUMBIA, SC - The University of South Carolina formally announced today the formation of Gamecock Sports Properties, a partnership between the USC Department of Athletics and two of the country's leaders in the collegiate sports marketing industry, ISP Sports and Learfield Communications, Inc.
Gamecock Sports Properties will be responsible for the overall management of the athletic program's corporate partnership effort, which includes producing, selling and distributing the Gamecock Radio Network
(live play-by-play and call-in shows) and television programming (pay per view opportunities and coaches shows), print advertising in various athletic department publications, and selected signage in university athletic
"The South Carolina athletics program is pleased to enter into this new partnership with ISP Sports and Learfield," said USC Athletics Director Mike McGee. "We believe the Carolina program continues to progress towards a high level of success and we look forward to providing our loyal faithful with optimum opportunities to follow our sports programs like never before."
The Gamecock Sports Properties staff will be directed by Liz McMillan, a USC alum with extensive experience in the sports marketing field. Since 1989, McMillan has worked with the athletic program in a variety of capacities, all involving the areas of corporate relations, promotions and marketing.
ISP Sports and Learfield, in conjunction with the USC Athletics Department, are also pleased to announce the following: handling play-by-play duties for radio network in their coverage of Gamecock football this upcoming year will be USC's winningest quarterback in school history, Todd Ellis. During Ellis' 10-year broadcasting career, he has served as sideline reporter for the Gamecock Radio Network; and color analyst and play-by-play announcer for Comcast Sports Southeast for Gamecock telecasts. Ellis has also hosted the
coaches television show in the past and served on CBS' Bowl game radio coverage. Ellis has been approached by other networks, but has chosen to stay with the Gamecock Radio Network. Ellis will also serve as the host of the Lou Holtz television and radio call-in shows.
Joining Ellis in the radio booth will be former Gamecock great Tommy Suggs, who begins his 30th year as color analyst for Carolina. Mike Morgan, currently the voice of Lady Gamecock Basketball and Baseball teams, will handle play-by-play responsibilities on the Comcast Sports Southeast Gamecock football tape delay. Morgan, who will remain as the voice of the women's basketball and baseball teams, will also serve as the host on the Ray Tanner and Susan Walvius television shows. 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers will have roles on both the radio network and tape delay television broadcasts for football.
An offer was extended to Charlie McAlexander on May 16 to remain with the network as the men's basketball play-by-play voice and also to host the Dave Odom television and radio Call-in shows. McAlexander has yet to inform ISP Sports and Learfield of his decision to remain with the network.
Casey Manning will return for his 11th season on the radio network as the color analyst for men's basketball.
ISP Sports and Learfield currently represent some of the premier athletic programs in America, including SEC members Alabama and Vanderbilt, as well as institutions affiliated with the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII,
Conference USA and Pac 10. ISP Sports and Learfield are joint venture partners as the multi-media rightsholder for Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Missouri, Syracuse and Villanova.
"We are extremely pleased to be associated with the University of South Carolina and its notable academic and athletic tradition," ISP president Ben Sutton and Learfield Senior Vice President for Sports Greg Brown said in a joint statement. "The opportunity to partner with one of the premier collegiate programs in the nation is tremendously exciting for our companies."
Learfield Communications Inc., which was founded in 1972, began its business with news and agriculture radio networks. Growing its sports division in the last decade, the company owns multi-media rights to 15 other leading universities. In addition to its joint ventures with ISP sports, Learfield represents Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Memphis, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Wisconsin. The company's website is www.learfield.com.
ISP Sports was founded by Sutton in 1992 and has displayed the ability to grow along with the sports marketing industry, now serving as the multi-media rightsholder for 18 athletic programs. Those include
Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Houston, Marshall, Ohio, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, the University of Central Florida, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in addition to its joint ventures with Learfield. The
company's web address is www.ispsports.com.
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