COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Dr. Mike McGee, the former athletics director for the University of South Carolina, passed away at the age of 80 his home in Montrose, Colo., school officials announced on Friday.
Dr. McGee first came to South Carolina in 1993 after spending 10 years at the University of Southern California. Dr. McGee spent 12 years leading the Gamecocks athletics program.
“I owe so much to Dr. McGee for trusting me to lead his baseball program when he hired me in the summer of 1996,” said current Gamecock Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “I learned so much from him about athletics, administration, and life, in general. He’s not only a legendary coach and administrator but a Hall of Fame person as well.”
Previously, he served as athletics director at Cincinnati (1980-84), the head football coach at Duke (1971-78), the head football coach at East Carolina (1970), and as an assistant coach at Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Duke.
Dr. McGee received the Homer Rice Award in 2016, which is given to a former athletics director who had made a significant and meaningful contribution to intercollegiate athletics. He also received the Order of the Palmetto from then-Gov. Jim Hodges for his contributions to the promotion of and the achievement in sports in South Carolina.
Here are a few other highlights from Dr. McGee’s career at South Carolina:
- The Gamecocks 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. South Carolina posted its best-ever finish in the Learfield IMG College Director's Cup in 2002 with an 11th place finish and followed it up with an 18th-place finish in 2003.
- The football team won three straight bowl games, including back-to-back Outback Bowl Championships against Ohio State. Those two victories catapulted the Gamecocks to consecutive Top 20 national finishes, a first in the history of the program.
- McGee hired high-caliber coaches at South Carolina during his tenure. Among his hires at South Carolina included Curtis Frye (track and field), Lou Holtz (football), Ray Tanner (baseball), Dave Odom (men's basketball) and Steve Spurrier (football). In McGee's final eight years at South Carolina, 13 Gamecock head coaches earned either national or SEC Coach of the Year awards.
- Athletics department revenues almost tripled during his tenure as athletics director, rising from approximately $18 million when he first came to South Carolina, to $52.8 million for fiscal year 2004.
- The women's track team won the school's first-ever national team championship, claiming the 2002 NCAA Outdoor title.
- In 2000, for the first time in the history of the Southeastern Conference, South Carolina 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).
- South Carolina won nine SEC team championships, including baseball (3), women's outdoor track (3), men's basketball (1), softball (1), and women's golf (1).
- McGee oversaw more than $110 million in facility improvements at Carolina, including the 18,000-seat Colonial Center (now Colonial Life Arena) and major improvements and additions to Williams-Brice Stadium.
- McGee was a leader in addressing gender equity progress, as Carolina added two women's sports (soccer, equestrian), upgraded Olympic sports facilities and provided for major increases in budget and additional staff under his direction.
- McGee served 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.
- McGee served on the SEC Task Force Committee for Compliance and Enforcement.
- McGee served as a member on the NCAA Academic Reform Committee on Incentives and Disincentives.
- McGee was a vice-chairman of the board for the Columbia Urban League
*Information from this report provided by South Carolina Athletics Department