"Mike McGee will leave an indelible mark of professionalism upon the University of South Carolina and its athletics department that will be apparent for years to come," Sorensen said.
Sorensen said that McGee notified him of his decision to step down last spring.
"Mike advised me in May 2004 of his intent to retire June 30, 2005, so that he could devote more time and attention to his wonderful family. Since then, we've talked about his plans on numerous occasions. Each time, I hoped Mike would change his mind and agree to continue as athletics director, but last week he let me know that his decision to retire was final. I am hopeful that Mike will accept our offer to continue to serve the university as a consultant to me and the new athletics director after his June 30 retirement date."
Sorensen said McGee has transformed Carolina's athletics department into one of the best in the nation.
"When Mike came to Carolina in 1993, his charge from the university was to develop a first-class athletics program that we could all be proud of. Not only has he accomplished that, but our department is regarded as one of the very best in the nation, and so is our director of athletics.
"Under Mike's leadership, the department has shown and continues to show improvement on the competition fields, in the caliber of our athletes and coaches, in facilities, in all of our revenue operations and in the department's overall level of professionalism.
"I know that I speak on behalf of the entire Carolina family when I say to Mike, 'Thanks for a job well done!' We all are grateful for his tireless efforts, exemplary work ethic and tremendous service to the University of South Carolina. Carolina will always owe him a debt of gratitude, and we all wish him and Ginger and his entire family only the best in the future."
Sorensen said he will begin to focus on finding a replacement for McGee immediately and plans to have that individual by June 30, 2005.
Statement from USC Athletics Director Mike McGee
Jan. 18, 2005
"Since January 1993, I have approached each day of my responsibilities as Carolina's Athletics Director with a steadfast commitment to pursue the best for Gamecock Athletics.
That reality was foremost in my mind last spring, as my wife Ginger and I approached 2004, my 11th year as Carolina's Athletics Director. At that time, Ginger and I prayerfully considered whether we were prepared to sustain that level of activity and commitment throughout 2005. Our considerations were influenced by our desire to spend more time with our family, particularly our 13 grandchildren, who are now located across various parts of the country. In addition, in recent years we have delayed fulfilling our desire to have more time in pursuit of our other interests.
Based upon those factors, last May Ginger and I concluded that the 2004-2005 athletics seasons would be our last at Carolina. Consequently, in May of 2004, I advised Dr. Sorensen of my decision to retire as Carolina's Athletics Director, effective June 30, 2005. We have each delayed until now, announcement of this decision in order to continue to maintain stability and permit me to focus on a head football coaching search if that became necessary.
For the next five months I will be available to Dr. Sorensen, as he might like, as he seeks Carolina's next Athletics Director. In addition, I will continue to serve and support our programs' pursuit of conference and national championships.
I have also been blessed to serve with a group of outstanding coaches, administrators and support staff, whose experience has taught them how to value the needs and opportunities of student-athletes within the context of a multi-million dollar operation. They are truly among the best in our profession. They have a very strong loyalty to USC. To that end, it is my hope that the University will give every consideration to fill my position from within.
Importantly, between now and June 30, I will seek the appropriate opportunities to thank the student-athletes; coaches; administrative staff; faculty and staff; board members; legislators, and other public servants who have been an important part of the USC Athletics program's successes of the past 12 years, and who have so greatly enriched life for Ginger and me. Today however, and each day thereafter for the duration of my tenure as Carolina's Athletics Director, I will offer continuing and sincere gratitude to the Gamecock Club leadership, and the thousands of Gamecock Club members and Gamecock faithful who, since January 1993, have so devotedly and generously supported Carolina's athletics programs, and its athletics' department.
My vision when I arrived from Southern California to THE USC, was to build a rock solid foundation within the athletics program that would forever ensure consistent championship athletic performance, academic excellence, and financial responsibility. With the help of our outstanding staff, coaches, student-athletes, and community support, I think we have achieved our goal of laying and solidifying this permanent foundation. My blood will always run Garnet and Black and the McGee family will always be tried and true Gamecocks."
Mike McGee Highlights
During Mike McGee's 12-years of service as the Director of Athletics at the University of South Carolina, the Gamecock program has experienced an era of success and accomplishment that is unprecedented in school history. Among the numerous achievements during this period include:
o The Gamecocks have emerged as a highly competitive athletics program, across the board, with consistent top 20 national rankings for a majority of its 20 varsity teams. A record 17 teams competed in post-season competition in 2001-02, with 16 teams qualifying in 2002-03 and 15 teams advancing in 2003-04
o Two of the past three years has seen Carolina post top 20 finishes in the Director's Cup, with a school-best 11th-place showing in 2002 and a final ranking of #18 in 2003.
o The football team has won three straight bowl games, including back-to-back Outback Bowl Championships against Ohio State. Those two victories catapulted USC to consecutive Top 20 national finishes, a first in the history of the program. Included in that stretch (2000-01) were the most wins (17) in consecutive years in the history of the football program.
o McGee's ability to attract and hire high-caliber coaches has been amazing. Among his hires at Carolina have included Curtis Frye (track and field), Lou Holtz (football), Ray Tanner (baseball), Dave Odom (men's basketball) and most recently, Steve Spurrier (football). The past eight seasons, 13 Gamecock head coaches have earned either National Coach of the Year or Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year accolades.
o Has overseen a dramatic increase in the athletics department's overall revenues, rising from approximately $18 million when he first came to Carolina, to $52.8 million for fiscal year 2004.
o USC has become a national leader in fundraising, as the Gamecock Club totaled more than $11.9 million in annual giving in 2003-04, the highest in the program's history. In addition, $5.6 million over the past two years has been transferred to the University academic budget.
o Fan support has never been better. Attendance records have been shattered in football, baseball and men's and women's basketball.
o The women's track team won the school's first-ever national team championship, claiming the 2002 NCAA Outdoor title.
o The baseball team has made three straight appearances in the College World Series and is the winningest program in the country over the past five seasons.
o In 2000, for the first time in the history of the Southeastern Conference, USC had three of its athletes named National Athlete of the Year in their respective sports: Kip Bouknight (baseball); Terrence Trammell (men's indoor and outdoor track); and Miki Barber (women's outdoor track).
o USC has won eight SEC team championships, including baseball (3), women's outdoor track (2), men's basketball (1), softball (1), and women's golf (1).
o McGee has overseen more than $110 million in facility improvements at Carolina, including the 18,000-seat Colonial Center and major improvements and additions to Williams-Brice Stadium.
o USC has been a leader in addressing gender equity progress, as Carolina has added two women's sports (soccer, equestrian), upgraded Olympic sports facilities and provided for major increases in budget and additional staff under McGee's direction.
o Has seen an upward trend in academic performance, with the athletics department recording a program-best 2.939 grade point average for the spring semester, 2004.
o Overseen the process in which the athletics department was successfully certified by the NCAA in 1995 and in 2004.
o McGee serves for the SEC on the NCAA Management Council, a position he also held for the Pac-10 Conference when he was the athletics director at Southern California.
o McGee served on the SEC Task Force Committee for Compliance and Enforcement.
o McGee served as a member on the recent NCAA Academic Reform Committee on Incentives and Disincentives.
o McGee is a vice-chairman of the board for the Columbia Urban League
What Others Are Saying About Mike McGee ...
"Not only has Mike's leadership been felt at the University of South Carolina, but his positive influence has been felt throughout the Southeastern Conference and all of intercollegiate athletics. On SEC issues, Mike proved invaluable to the league as a member of the Task Force Committee on Compliance and Enforcement and he helped us develop policy for the SEC as a member of the Athletics Director Subcommittee on Sportsmanship and Fan Behavior. On the national level, he has made an impact on the NCAA Management Council and the Division I Incentives and Disincentives Working Group. Mike's legacy will not only be his work on behalf of student-athletes at South Carolina and around the nation, but also his work as a founder of the Sports Management Institute in helping to develop leaders in sports administration for years to come. The SEC joins with the University of South Carolina and all of his friends and co-workers in the past and present in wishing Mike and his wife, Ginger, all of the enjoyment and satisfaction of being with family that retirement can bring."
Mike Slive, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference
"This really doesn't come as a big shock to me. He told me that he was giving strong consideration to retiring in the near future. I know that he and Ginger want to spend more time with their family and I think we all understand that. I can tell you that Coach McGee has done an outstanding job of putting our football program in an excellent position to be successful. The new facility in the south end zone is as good as I've seen and from a facility standpoint, we have the best of any place I've ever coached at. I am extremely excited about being the head football coach at South Carolina. I believe everything is in place for us to have success and for that, I'm very appreciative to Coach McGee. I understand he may stay involved with the program as a consultant and I think we'd be wise to utilize someone like him who has such great insight, knowledge and experience when it comes to college athletics."
Steve Spurrier, Head Football Coach, University of South Carolina
"Mike has always been a strong and insightful administrator. He was very innovative in a lot of ways, not only in the SEC, but at the NCAA level, as well. He played a large role in the development of new ideas that have been incorporated within the NCAA over the last couple of decades. He did a terrific job in expanding and developing the athletics program at South Carolina. The facilities there are now second to none. He was always a very strong participant in the SEC and was always one of the real leaders in the affairs of the SEC. Mike has that uncanny gift of evaluating coaches and administrators, and I think if you look at his track record of hiring coaches at South Carolina, it's been impressive. He's worked with his staff to help build a very competitive program and I think that's a mark of a strong leader."
Roy Kramer, Former Commissioner, Southeastern Conference
"This is a very emotional day. Mike is a tremendous leader and this is a huge loss both for the athletic department and for the state of South Carolina. He has been wonderful to work for and I can't say enough good things about him. I really believe in him. He is very tough, but also very fair and very caring about his coaches. He is very committed in his vision of having an all-around athletic program and he will be missed."
Susan Walvius, Head Women's Basketball Coach, University of South Carolina
"It has been an honor to work under one of the very best athletics directors in this country. Dr. McGee's experience and leadership in intercollegiate athletics are unsurpassed. Not only has he been the director of our athletics department, but he is also a mentor and a coach to me. His support of our baseball program has enabled us to compete at the highest level. Dr. McGee and Ginger will be greatly missed by the Carolina Family."
Ray Tanner, Head Baseball Coach, University of South Carolina
"Mike McGee's contributions to the Columbia community and economy have been astonishing. The growth and development of the athletic facilities, from Williams-Brice Stadium to the Colonial Center, will leave an everlasting impact on our City. The hiring of Lou Holtz and now Steve Spurrier, has brought tremendous notoriety to this community. Mike worked tirelessly for the good of the Carolina program. I realize we've had a few differences in the past, but the contributions he has made to this City of Columbia will have a long and lasting positive impact for generations to come."
Bob Coble, Mayor, City of Columbia
"In the 25 years I have been involved with the Urban League, Dr. McGee has provided more access for the African-American community to the University and its athletics program than any other person I have been associated with. Dr. McGee recognized early on the importance of broadening and providing for the inclusion of the African-Americans in our City. He has been such a strong advocate and proponent of the African-American community in Columbia and has been a very active member of our Board."
James T. McLawhorn, Jr., President and CEO of The Columbia Urban League
"I'm really happy for Coach McGee, happy for his family, grandchildren and wife. It's great to spend 40 years of your life doing what you love and including your family. But having such an extended family, I can see how it can cause you to limit your personal family. Without Dr. McGee, I personally would not have reached the greatest part of my dreams. I'm saddened, but I'm happy. I hope that we can continue here at Carolina in the tradition of Mike McGee, competing on the highest level, in the best conference, given the fairest opportunities in the state of South Carolina. Women and minorities, in particular, are losing a great friend in his retirement. The challenge goes out. It'll be a difficult one-to replace Mike McGee, the upper bar. Because the upper bar is so high-graduation rates, facility improvements, academic support system, in-state recruitment, minority recruitment. He is a dreamer, an executer of a dream. He saw in me and gave me a chance. I hope he remains as a consultant to athletics, NCAA and Carolina. We have to use him as a resource. I'll be calling on him."
Curtis Frye, Head Track and Field Coach, University of South Carolina
"There are many things that Mike McGee will be remembered for at the University of South Carolina. He improved our facilities and brought some of the highest-profile coaches in America into the Carolina athletic family. To me, his greatest legacy is the stability, strong leadership and continuity he provided for this department over the last 12 years."
Mark Berson, Head Soccer Coach, University of South Carolina
"I would like to thank Mike for everything he has done for the Athletic Department and in particular, our program. In his tenure at South Carolina, his insight in facility development, to the hiring of top coaches across the board, has raised the standard for our future. Under his guidance, the department has achieved much success. I wish both he and Ginger all the best."
Joyce Compton, Head Softball Coach, University of South Carolina
"Mike McGee is a terrific athletics director and administrator, but more importantly, he's a caring man who is passionate about his family and friends. His presence in the Gamecock family will be appreciated for years to come. In our short time at Carolina, Lynn and I have enjoyed our relationship with Mike and Ginger and their family. We wish them all the best."
Dave Odom, Head Men's Basketball Coach, University of South Carolina
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