Eight inducted into University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame
Eight new members have been elected to the University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Association of Lettermen, it was announced today.
This year’s class includes Laura Bernstein Kassirer from women’s tennis, softball coach Joyce Compton, LaShinda Demus representing women’s track and field, Otukile Lekote from men’s track and field, Blakely Mattern from women’s soccer, soccer stars Corey Miller and Del Wilkes (posthumously), and Matt Price representing baseball.
Since the establishment of the University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 1967, 205 members, including these eight, have been selected by the University of South Carolina Scholars Association.
These individuals will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in October. More information regarding the induction ceremony will be announced at a later date.
Laura Bernstein Kassirer – Women’s Tennis (1981-83)
Bernstein Kassirer played at Carolina for two years before turning pro… posted a two-year singles record of 41-11 and a doubles mark of 42-5… became the first All-American in franchise history program after advancing to the NCAA Singles Championship Round 16 in 1983…finished her first year as the 30th-ranked player in the nation and improved to 15th in her sophomore year…led her team to a mark of 50-8 over that two-year span, the most combined wins in consecutive years in school history.
Joyce Compton – Softball (1987-2010)
Compton retired after 24 years at South Carolina with a mark of 951-486-4, making her the winningest coach in school history…her overall record of 1,066-563- 4, ranked 10th in wins among all NCAA softball coaches, regardless of division and ninth in Division I history at the time of his retirement… participated in the NCAA Tournament program 13 times , including two trips to the Women’s College World Series…was Regional Coach of the Year five times and was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002…his jersey retired at Carolina in 2022.
LaShinda Demus – Women’s Athletics (2002-04)
Demus was a four-time NCAA champion and 11-time All-American…won NCAA titles in the 400-meter indoors in 2003, the 4×400-meter indoor relay in 2002, the 400-meter outdoor hurdles in 2002 and the outdoor 4×400 meter relay in 2002…an integral part of Gamecock’s national champion team in 2002, contributing 26 points…a two-time SEC champion, Demus qualified for two Olympic Games (2004 and 2012), winning an Olympic medal silver in the 400 meters hurdles in 2012, and was world champion in the event in 2011.
Otukile Lekote – Men’s Athletics (2001-04)
Lekote won three individual NCAA titles for the Gamecocks…won the indoor 800 meters in 2001 and swept the 800 meters indoor and outdoor titles in 2002…was a nine-time All-American in the 800 meters and as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team…has been a seven-time SEC champion…still holds the indoor and outdoor 800-meter program records and is a member of the school-record 4×400-meter relay team .
Blakely Mattern – Women’s Football (2006-09)
Mattern started as a defenseman in 92 games over her four-year career, scoring 16 goals and assisting six others for 38 points, including five game-winning goals… recognized as the first All-American in program history, she earned three All-Region honors and was a four-time All-SEC selection…named 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and 2009 SEC Scholar Athlete…in 2009 was a finalist for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award…was a pick third-rounder in the 2010 WPS Draft, the 21st overall selection.
Corey Miller – Soccer (1987-90)
Outstanding defensive end for the Pageland, SC Gamecocks who went on to a successful NFL career… earned All-South Independent honors as a defensive end in 1989 and 1990… totaled 187 tackles with 15.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks… selected Carolina’s Outstanding Defensive Player in 1989 and team captain in 1990… played in Blue-Gray All-Star Game… selected by New York Giants in sixth round of draft NFL in 1991… had seven seasons with the Giants before concluding his playing days with the Minnesota Vikings.
Matt Price – Baseball (2009-12)
Price was closest to the Gamecocks’ national championship run from 2010-2012… set career school records for saves (43) and appearances (102), as well as the SEC career record for saves…earned Freshman All-America and second-team All-SEC honors in 2010…credited with victory over UCLA which won the team’s first national title…earned All-America honors and first-team All-SEC in 2011…named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team after going 2-0 with two saves in five CWS appearances, pitching nine scoreless innings…won second-team All-SEC honors in 2012 as team captain.
Del Wilkes – Soccer (1980-84)
Wilkes, an all-state offensive lineman from Irmo, SC, had a stellar season as a senior in 1984 for the Gamecocks, being named to four All-America teams (Kodak Coaches, Walter Camp, AP and UPI (2nd team) while being named All-South Independent and winning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the state’s top blocker… co-captain of the team, he was named MVP as a senior and was named to the USC All-Time Team of the Modern Era in 1993…went on to a professional wrestling career as “The Patriot”…died in 2021 at age 59.