Top 10 Local Sports Stories of 2022-Part One
2022 is almost completely behind us and 2023 is just a few days away with all kind of new possibilities in store.
Over the next couple of days we will take a look back at some of the biggest local sports stories of 2022. We talk some high school stuff and South Carolina and Clemson as we recap the year that was 2022.
#10-Monte Lee Fired From Clemson-
Monte Lee was hired as Clemson’s head baseball coach to replace Jack Legette after the 2015 baseball season. Lee who left his Alma Mater, College of Charleston, to take over as the Tiger’s skipper, was also a former assistant coach under Ray Tanner at South Carolina.
Lee guided the Tigers for seven seasons and managed to garner an overall record of 242-136 (.640), and an ACC record of 102-86 (.543). While those numbers look, Clemson AD Graham Neff made it quite clear that Lee’s postseason failures and inability to make it to the post season in his final two season led to his dismissal.
Just a couple of weeks later Clemson named Erik Bakich the schools new head baseball coach. Bakich came to Clemson from Michigan where he had served as head coach for the last ten seasons. He led the Wolverines to the 2019 College World Series Championship Series. He also had stops as head coach at Maryland as well as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt and Clemson.
Monte Lee accepted the position of Associate Head Coach at South Carolina and will serve under Mark Kingston in 2023.
#9-Chapman Baseball Wins Upperstate
The Chapman Panthers baseball team had a great season in 2022 and they got real hot at the right time and it led them to a birth in the State Title Series.
The Panthers were led on the mound by their ace Ricky Montalvo who was called upon several times to pitch in some high pressure situations for the Panthers. None probably bigger than the elimination game of the upperstate series.
Chapman started the playoffs 5-0 before falling in game two of the upperstate series to Powdersville. With both teams now with a win and a loss it forced a decisive game three and Chapman coach Steven Fusaro knew he had to call on his ace to led them to victory.
That he did. Montalvo allowed just two runs in a complete game outing for the Panthers who won the decisive game 9-2. Hudson Moss and Johann Rodriquez also played really big roles for the Panthers all season long and especially in the upperstate title.
The Panthers would go to the State Championship series and fall in two games to Oceanside Collegiate, a charter school out of the Charleston area.
#8-Gamecock Women Win 2nd Title
The Univeristy of South Carolina further cemented their place as a women’s basketball school in 2022 winning the schools second National Championship in the sport.
The Gamecocks went 35-2 overall and had a 15-1 regular season SEC record. This was a redeeming year for Coach Dawn Staley following the Final Four loss to Stanford in 2021 and the cancelling of the playoffs in 2020 that many felt was the Gamecocks tournament to lose.
The Gamecocks were led by Aliyah Boston who earned several award in honors, including being named SEC and National player of the year and numerous All-American Awards.
Dawn Staley was also named SEC Coach of the year as well as three national Coach of the Year awards.
The Gamecocks looked invincible for most of the year rolling over many ranked opponents, and going from preseason to the end ranked number one, but fell in the SEC tournament to Kentucky.
Among all of their accomplishments though, maybe the biggest on was the fact that South Carolina had to defeat UConn in the National Title game to claim the schools 2nd title and 1st since 2017. Defeating UConn had been the Gamecocks Achilles’ heal leading up to the this season, having been unable to do so in Staley’s tenure. But the Gamecocks were able to get it done twice in this season including the big one in the title game in Minneapolis.
#7- New Eras Begin for Local Football Teams-
After the 2021 High School Football season ended two long time coaches announced their retirement. Coach Rick Tate of Boiling Springs and hall of fame Dave Gutshall of Dorman both stepped down to make way for new starts at both schools.
Both Schools did extensive searches and found two coaches that they believed fit what their vision was for their respective football programs. Matt Reel was hired to lead the Bulldogs and Dustin Curtis was hired to take over at Dorman.
Matt Reel came to Boiling Springs High School from the lower state, where he has spent the past five seasons as the head coach at North Myrtle Beach High School and has compiled a 40-16 record at the school. Reel also led the team to the 2020 4A State Championship Game where they lost to AC Flora.
Curtis had been at AC Flora for three seasons and compiled a 30-4 record and won the 2020 class 4A State Championship. Prior to taking the job at AC Flora Curtis was the head coach at Westwood High School where he had a 15-19 record in three seasons.
To say these programs were in different places starting these new eras may be an understatement.
Boiling Springs made their first state title game appearance in school history under Tate in 2016 but had since been in a downward spiral.
Dorman was a perineal power and a team who you still always expected to make a deep run that would often end in a visit to the title game.
Both coaches had different challenges in 2022 one coach was tasked with righting the ship while the other was challenged with taking over for a legend and tryin to build on the blue print that he had left behind.
Boiling Springs ended 2022 with a 2-9 overall record 0-4 in the toughest region in football. However, the Bulldogs showed signs of constant improvement over the season, ending in them earning an at-large playoff bid.
Dorman went 9-3 overall and 2-2 in region play losing to Gaffney and Spartanburg in region play and falling in the second round of the playoffs to eventual state champ Dutch Fork. The Cavs had a great season but their inability to get consistent QB play was their downfall.
#6- Markee Anderson Picks Gamecocks
As mention in the previous story Dorman had a great year, 9-3 overall record, and had one of the best rushing attacks in the state. That has been a calling card for Dorman over the tenure of Dave Gutshall and now to start the Curtis era. Probably the biggest reason for that is the ability of the Cavs to year after year to produce D-1 lineman.
Markee Anderson is another in the long line of big, strong offensive lineman that the Cavs continue to bring up through their program. Lineman like Jordan McFadden, who has helped anchor the Clemson offensive line the last couple of years.
Anderson is rated as one of the top college prospects in South Carolina by all of the recruiting sites, most having him ranked as the 2nd best player in the state. Anderson received offers from tons of schools including, Clemson, LSU, UNC, FSU, and Arkansas among many others.
But it was the Gamecocks that Anderson picked ahead of the 2022 season in a ceremony at his church. The big man made it official on NSD in the early signing period inking his letter of intent to play at South Carolina.
Anderson could compete for a starting spot immediately for South Carolina who has had their share of struggles over the last few years along the offensive front.
There are the first five stories we will do the top 5 next! Stay tuned and Happy New Year!