Raleigh, N.C. - University of South Carolina head baseball coach Ray Tanner was awarded the prestigious Will Wynne Award on Tuesday evening at the 53rd Annual Raleigh Hot Stove League Banquet. Tanner received an honor previously held by numerous MLB Hall of Fame members, including Gaylord Perry, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Hoyt Wilhelm and Enos Slaughter, as well as current Boston Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, Red Sox manager Grady Little, and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kevin Millwood.
The Raleigh Hot Stove League presents the Will Wynne Award to the North Carolinian who has contributed the most or had the biggest impact on baseball during the previous year. Will Wynne was the first native of Wake County and one of the first North Carolinians to play major league baseball. Tanner, born in Smithfield, N.C., earned the honor for the second time in his career. Tanner also received the Will Wynne Award in 1993.
Tanner is entering his seventh season as head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina. Over the past three seasons under Coach Tanner, South Carolina has won more games than any team in Division I baseball, with 162 wins. The 2002 Gamecocks set a single-season record for wins finishing with a 57-18 record, reaching the championship game at the College World Series.
With Coach Tanner at the helm, the Gamecocks have won two of the last three SEC Championships (2002, 2000) as well as three of the last four SEC Eastern Division Titles (2002, 2000, 1999). Carolina has also made three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Regional and NCAA Super Regional. USC also set a new total attendance record in 2002 with 151,521 fans flocking to Sarge Frye Field. In the last three years, over 134,000 fans have attended games each season at "The Sarge."
Tanner's six-year record at South Carolina is 274-113 with a winning percentage of .708. His 15-year record as a collegiate head coach is 669-285-3. His overall winning percentage of .701 is almost identical to his percentage with the Gamecocks.
Thirty-five Carolina players have signed professional baseball contracts over the last six seasons under Coach Tanner including nine players from the 2002 squad (Gary Bell, Trey Dyson, Garris Gonce, Drew Meyer, Yaron Peters, Chris Spigner, Blake Taylor, John Wesley, Steven Whetstone). Three players from USC (Drew Meyer (2002), Adam Everett (1998), Brian Roberts (1999)) have been drafted in the first round.