By: Khadijah Dennis
Move over Rover, there’s a new coach in town, and he means business. Frank Martin was named USC’s men’s basketball head coach on March 27, 2012, leading the team into their 105th season as a varsity sport. For the past five seasons, he’s managed to lead the Kansas State University Wildcats to the NCAA tournament four times, with a current overall winning record for the season. He’s hoping to lead the Gamecocks in the same direction.
G&B: You talk a lot about the team in many of your press conferences and interviews, how have you made an effort to get to know the players?
Coach Martin: You have to communicate with them. You have to let them get to know you first. I’m the new guy around here; most players have been here before. They understand this better than I did when I got here. For them to be able to open up and accept me, I have to let them understand what I’m about. The beauty of sports is that the season throws some difficult emotions into your relationship [and] those difficult emotions are the ones that allow you to fully understand people because you’re not just going through everything that’s good and great.
G&B: Can students expect any more free food? *crosses fingers*
Coach Martin: [laughs] If you look at the top 10, 12, 15, programs in the country, you also have the best home environments in the country, and with all due respect to the folks that pay a lot of money and make donations to schools, the student body is what gives you the building that becomes special. The student body is who determines the personality that takes place on the court during the game. I’ll do everything I can to thank those students, whether it is shirts, food, or anything I can as a way of thanking them for helping us.
G&B: Are you an iPhone or Android type of guy?
G&B: Before this season is over, what do you want students to know about you as a coach?
Coach Martin: I love people, and I’ve got tremendous passion for people. Some of the most difficult moments for me are when we take to court, and we’ve got those seniors that have gone through the life lessons, the experiences, the negative, the positive, and the raw emotion that 4 years of college brings to you. I know I’m not perfect, so I don’t continue to hold people in judgment as to whether they’re perfect or not. Hopefully, one day, when the players or myself walk onto the court for the last time, we all can know we have made this a better place, a better university because of the passion we have for what we do.
Meet J. Clowney. No, not the football player but Jalavender Clowney, fourth-year biology and pre-med student with a psychology minor from Rock Hill, SC. She’s a member of Alpha Phi Omega and the Leadership Team under Leadership Programs and Women’s Student Services in Student Life. She has also been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters for three years, an EMPOWER diversity peer educator for four years and is its current team leader. With a zany history and a great name to boot, this super student tackles any new project that comes her way.
Stephen Britt is not your average student. The 26-year-old native of St. George, S.C., holds numerous titles, including fifth-year senior, Delta Sigma Pi brother, president of the South Carolina Fishing Team and Grade E-5 sergeant of the U.S. Marines. Stephen served eight years in the armed forces right out of high school and spent a total of 13 months in Iraq and six in Afghanistan. He has three majors – management, marketing and real estate. G&B’s Sarah Langdon sat down with Britt to talk about his transition from military to student life, how it feels to be back and how he’s changed.
Russell House has plenty to offer, but not many would guess that upstairs on the third floor, there is a hair salon called Carolina Styles. Here, you can find hairstylist Wanda Davis. Her friendly but quirky attitude and great sense of fashion will make you never want to see another stylist.
G&B catches Carolina second-year small forward Lakeem Jackson off the court.