Sports 4's look back at the big Lowcountry sports stories of 2015
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- What a year it's been in Lowcountry sports! It's a Sports 4 tradition to look back on the year that was as the world embarks on a new year.
It looks like 2015 may be the wildest, most unpredictable, and most emotional year ever in Lowcountry sports.
10. The Wando Warriors win their first-ever state baseball title, a monumental tast for the Tribe of East Cooper. They lost their top player Kep Brown, an eventual MLB draft pick, but gutted out the game to beat JL Mann in Greenville for the first state title in the storied program's history.
9. It's the biggest win in more than two decades for The Citadel, as Mike Houston's bunch marched to Columbia in desperate need of a win for their playoff chances. And they pulled off what many think would be the impossible. The small, Southern Conference FCS military school beat the SEC's South Carolina Gamecocks. The win propeled The Citadel to the playoffs, as well as showed the triple option may stand up to Division I teams.
8. Charleston Southern made an amazing run to the Elite 8. The small school from North Charleston played a nearly perfect year under third-year head coach Jamey Chadwell, including perfection in FCS play, two wins over The Citadel, and eventually ending their season with a playoff loss at Jacksonville State.
7. The Stingrays made for a wild start to the year as they ran all the way to Allex, Texas, for Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Finals. The season included an improbably 23-game mid-winter win streak and an incredible run through the playoffs. But that game 7 matchup saw the Rays get shelled by the Allen Americans, and they fell short of their fourth Kelly Cup.
6. There was a major changing of the guard in Clemson as legendary coach Jack Leggett was fired after 22 years and 955 wins. But under Leggett's tenure, there were no trips to Omaha in the 2010s, so the torch was passed to a guy who did wonders in the Lowcountry. After leading the College of Charleston to unprecedented success, Monte Lee left his alma mater on George Street and took over one of the most storied programs in college baseball.
5. Perfection is the only word to adequately describe what Fort Dorchester's football program put together in 2015. The Patriots finished their season unblemished with the first state championship in school history, routing Dorman for the state title in Columbia. Steve La Prad's bunch, led by one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation Dakereon Joyner, returns for 2016 largely intact.
4. There was the shocking turn in the middle of the Gamecocks' worst season in more than a decade. The week of the Vanderbilt game, Steve Spurrier resigned, saying he's firing himself because he just wasn't getting it done. He ended arguably the most successful 10-and-a-half-year run in Gamecocks history. After a lengthy search, the Gamecocks brought in former Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp to replace Spurrier.
3. The Clemson Tigers making an incredible run -- and it's still at least one game from being over. Dabo Swinney was voted the national Coach of the Year; Deshaun Watson was a Heisman finalist; and the Tigers were undefeated in the regular season. The team waits for the College Football Playoff with Thursday's Orange Bowl and a possible trip to the national championship if they power past Oklahoma.
2. One of the most important and memorable speeched ever given in Charleston was given on the field of Charleston Southern's baseball team. Chris Singleton, the night after his mother and eight others were tragically killed in the Emanuel AME shooting, spoke words that will never be forgotten and called on a community and a nation to let love conquer hate.
1. The top story of 2015 is one of a legend in high school football ending his time on the sidelines, a story Sports 4 broke. John McKissick, after 63 years, 620 wins, and thousands of lives touched including an entire town, stepped down as the head coach of the Summervilel Green Wave. He did it quietly and with little pomp and circumstance. Still, nothing will ever match what the man accomplished and the longevity he had.
It's been a lot of fun in 2015, so let's do it again in 2016. Have a great New Year's, everyone.