Thursday, October 31, 2013

USC's Shaw earns College All Star Bowl nod

By Michael Foster
Connor Shaw, the quarterback of South Carolina, is one of those players that are hard to evaluate based just on physical tools.  He doesn’t have prototypical NFL size or arm strength.  When it comes down to it, he doesn’t wow you physically, until you see him run. Plus, he has had problems staying healthy in his collegiate career.  What has just been described is not to bash Shaw; it is to tell you what an NFL scout would likely tell you about his physical tools.  As we know, there is more to playing football as a quarterback than being 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds and having a gun for an arm.  In some cases, those attributes help, but it doesn’t complete passes, lead a group of men or more importantly win football games.  Those attributes just mentioned is what really does seem to matter, and it especially works in the college game.  Fortunately, for Shaw, those are the things that Shaw does, and does well.
If you ask any fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks, they would say that Shaw is the undoubted leader of their program right now.  In a conference full of quarterbacks that are more heralded than him, I believe there may not be one more important to his team.  That was shown in this past week’s game against the previously undefeated number five ranked Missouri Tigers.  That wasn’t the first time we have seen that, it has really been evident ever since  Shaw has been the starting quarterback at South Carolina.  He has helped make South Carolina relevant in the SEC East and in the conference as a whole, including an undefeated record at Williams-Brice Stadium, the home of the Gamecocks.  Frankly, that is something that has never been seen in the school’s football history.  
This past Saturday, Connor didn’t even start.  Matter of fact, he wasn’t supposed to play because of a sprained knee.  Missouri got up 17-0 on South Carolina halfway through the third quarter at home.  Then the “Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier made the decision to put Connor out there. He came out looking like Kirk Gibson pinch hitting in game one of the 1988 World Series facing the great, Dennis Eckersley.  Of course, you remember that the knee and hamstring hobbled Gibson hit a hit home run to win that game; well you can say Shaw hit a home run with his fourth quarter and overtime performance to take out an undefeated SEC foe.  It was really an iconic moment for Shaw and the Gamecocks, maybe not as iconic as Kirk Gibson’s heroics but you get the picture.
Coming onto the field in the middle of the third quarter you could tell Shaw wasn’t completely healthy.  You also could tell that the whole attitude and flow of the game was about to change.  It did, dramatically.  He was limited at first, not moving around as smoothly as he normally would, but come the fourth quarter, it was Shaw’s time to shine.  Still down 17-0, Connor led his team to a six yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington on his second drive of the game.  That started five consecutive scoring drives including another touchdown pass to Ellington on a fourth down play in the first overtime when Missouri was up seven, that sent the game to double overtime.  He finished 20 of 29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns.  He changed the whole outcome of the game when he entered.  He started throwing darts on the run, scrambling when he had too, and completing passes when the team needed it most.  Bottom line, he did what he had to do for his team to win.  It seems as if that is more than the rule than the exception for Shaw. 
His heroics have not gone unnoticed.  Even though he didn’t start the game he has received plenty of credit for his play.  Shaw has been named SEC Offensive Player of the Week by the SEC office, National and SEC Offensive Player of the Week by Athlon Sports, the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week, and listed among eight quarterbacks named by the Manning Award as its “Stars of the Week.”  Since, it seemed like those honors weren’t enough, we figured we would write this “spotlight” for The College All Star Bowl, and mention that he is still listed as a nominee for the Inaugural South Carolina College Football Player of the Year Award given out by the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame to be awarded on February 13, 2014.
If you have a chance, watch Connor Shaw play.  Don’t look at his stature; look at how he carries himself.  Look at the whole package of what Connor Shaw brings to the table?  Does he play with toughness and heart? Is he a leader on and off the field?  Does he win? These are the traits a college quarterback should have, and Connor does.
*Football Note: The College All Star Bowl will be played February 14, 2014 at Furman University. It will be broadcast Nationally on the CBS Sports Network.  Top players from all over the country will be invited to play in front of NFL scouts before the NFL Draft in May.   We have just released our TOP 400 Prospect List; you can access it at our website
Each week The College All Star Bowl chooses five players from their watch list who had exceptional performances during the previous week’s college football action.  You can access each week’s profiles in the Players Spotlight section at  This article highlights one of those players.

Michael Foster is responsible for Football Operations at Wyatt Sports, LLC and coordinates Scouting for The College All Star Bowl.  Michael is originally from the state of Michigan, but has lived with his wife Jody in the Upstate of South Carolina for the past five years.  He has a Business Sports Management degree and has experience in sports media and scouting. You can email Michael at, follow the bowl game on twitter @theallstarbowl, or get more information about the game at

Latest results from the Woodlands at Furman Challenge

GREENVILLE, SC – A large amount of out-of-state runners and walkers fueled The Woodlands at Furman Challenge during the Spinx Run Fest this weekend.

Chuck Van Duzee of Florida was the overall points leader followed by Mirek Malinowski of Texas and Jim Simpson of California. On the women’s side, Tina Jonker of Simpsonville was first followed by Anne Brooks of Simpsonville and Betty Burrell of Pendleton.

The Woodlands at Furman Challenge is road race series for Upstate senior runners and walkers. Points are award based on finish and age. For the year, the women’s leaders are Lola Amcher, Monika Wells and Flora Fulton. The men’s side is paced by Guenter Full, James Horne and George Luke.

The Woodlands at Furman Challenge was started in 2011 in conjunction with the Greenville Track Club as a way to promote physical fitness amongst Upstate residents age 65 and older. The Woodlands sponsors the Challenge because of its commitment to healthy senior living in the Upstate. 

It is a Life Care community that added Masterpiece Living, which assists visionary communities who are already leading the industry with their wellness commitment, to become places where residents and staff alike seek to better themselves.

The Challenge is put on with the help of The Greenville Track Club, which is the state’s second-oldest running club. The club’s goal is to provide the running and fitness community with a schedule of top quality events in which area residents can reach fitness and life enrichment goals through participation or volunteering.

The Woodlands at Furman is a non-profit, mission driven continuing care retirement community owned and operated by a local board of directors and managed professionally by Greystone Communities. The 22-acre campus, adjacent to Furman University, opened in March 2009 and consists of 132 apartment homes in addition to 32 assisted living apartments, 16 memory support suites and 30 skilled nursing suites. Residents enjoy a wide range of amenities - enabling them to continue an active and engaged lifestyle. For more information, please visit

Events in this year’s Woodlands at Furman Challenge will be the Greenville News Downtown 5K, Green Valley in February, the TD Bank Reedy River Run in March, the Furman 5K in April, the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Trail 5K in May, the Red White and Blue Shoes in July, the Michelin 5K in August, the BMW Classic in September, the Spinx Runfest in October and will culminate with the Paris Mountain Road Race in December.

More information on the races can be found on the Greenville Track Club’s website,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Habitat for Humanity opens Simpsonville ReStore

SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. – Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County has added its first ReStore in the Golden Strip community.

Habitat Greenville and City of Simpsonville officials opened the 12,000 square foot store at 10017 Pelham Pointe in Simpsonville with a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning. This is Habitat for Humanity’s third store in Greenville County making it one of a handful of Habitat affiliates nationwide with that many stores.

Habitat’s ReStores support the mission of Habitat Greenville through the sales of donated building materials and household items. Donations to the ReStores help enable Habitat Greenville to increase the number of homes constructed each year; reduce the amount of usable items that are deposited into landfills and provide building materials and household items to the general public at discounted prices.

“The ReStore has good merchandise, most of it recycled so that people can purchase at affordable prices,” said Monroe Free, executive director of Habitat Greenville. “Building supplies, furniture and a variety of other merchandise are available. While anyone is welcome to shop at the ReStore, low income families have a low-cost option that can help them stretch their budgets.”

The Simpsonville location, which is at the corner of Highway 14 and Main Street, was chosen for several reasons including its location in the Golden Strip. The other two ReStores are close to downtown Greenville and in the Taylors area, he said.

The site also was selected because of Habitat’s several decades’ long partnership with the Golden Strip Coalitions, an affiliation of churches in the community, to build houses in Simpsonville, Mauldin and Fountain Inn.
“We are proud to be further strengthening our bond in this community,” Free said.
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County was chartered in 1985 and has provided home ownership to more than 310 low-income families.  In the coming year, Habitat for Humanity Greenville County plans to serve 26 families; twelve through new homeownership, 12 through weatherization and two through critical repair.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GHS makes history as new form of academic health center

GREENVILLE, SC – Greenville Health System was not only named an academic health center this week; it joined with partners Clemson University, Furman University and the University of South Carolina to announce a unique “clinical university model” that will help pave the way for breakthroughs in healthcare delivery, access and affordability.
GHS’ hospital-centric model is the first of its kind in the nation.

“This kind of singular vision to transform health care simply hasn’t happened before in the U.S.,” said Spence Taylor, GHS vice president of academics, at the packed-room announcement on Tuesday. “GHS and its university partners will be a catalyst for a new way of thinking, a model of change that breaks down boundaries and rebuilds a new approach that can leverage resources, harness new ideas and create a synergy that creates tangible real-world results.” Taylor is the architect of the new model and himself a nationally acclaimed academic surgeon.

“Health care is at a crucial crossroads,” said GHS President and CEO Michael Riordan.  “We believe that the clinical university model is a game changer that will improve patient care, not only at GHS, but across the state and even at a national level. By focusing our efforts in this collaborative powerhouse, we can leverage resources to accomplish more than any one of us could do by ourselves.” 

Only about two percent of healthcare systems in the U.S. are academic health centers. According to the Association of Academic Health Centers, a center is typically a university with a medical school and at least one other health profession school that owns or is affiliated with a teaching hospital or health system.

GHS is the first shared academic health center with a healthcare system and multiple universities. Unlike most hospitals, academic health centers are teaching hospitals that provide a range of care from routine to highly complex; develop new technologies and treatments; provide patients first-in-region access to clinical trials; conduct research and educate new healthcare providers. 

“GHS in association with its university partners presents a forward-thinking model for many of the challenges facing health care today,” said Steven Wartman, MD, PhD, president and CEO of the Association of Academic Health Centers. “It is an innovative approach, and I look forward to following their progress in the coming years.”

This week’s news completes a four-year journey that began with GHS’ expanded role in academics and the creation of the USC School of Medicine Greenville on the Greenville Memorial Medical Campus. The clinical university model formally aligns South Carolina’s two largest research universities and most prominent liberal arts university with one of the largest health systems in the Southeast.

University partners said this novel approach to higher/professional education will limit duplication of expensive infrastructure while helping the universities fulfill their vital education missions

This applied-sciences approach pulls the best of academic scholarship, medical research and front-line experience to find better solutions, said Taylor. The initiative’s immediate priorities are helping make healthcare more affordable, resolving healthcare delivery gaps and improving workforce pipelines to deliver ready-to-work graduates.
“It’s not enough to discover breakthrough treatments for diabetes; we have to find a reliable system of ensuring that patients have access to those treatments and use them appropriately,” said Taylor.

The GHS clinical university model will leverage the existing competencies and resources of its primary academic partners rather than duplicating infrastructure. This unique collaboration allows GHS and its academic partners to concentrate on the academic and research initiatives that best meet the region’s healthcare and workforce needs.

Even before the adoption of the clinical university model, GHS – had it been a traditional college or university would be among the largest in South Carolina, providing applied education and training to more than 5,000 students each year. GHS has more clinical trials than any other healthcare system in the state. GHS faculty members already publish more than 170 peer-reviewed publications and present more than 250 regionally and nationally peer-reviewed publications annually.

Through the clinical university model, GHS will work with its primary academic partners but also collaborate with approximately 60 colleges and universities to provide clinical education required for student degree completion. This collaboration includes not only graduate and professional studies but also healthcare career pipeline programs for undergraduates.
Teaching and learning in the clinical university model will be based on the current, real-world healthcare needs of the community. Students will leave uniquely ready to enter the workforce rather than needing the additional training or clinical integration that may be required of graduates from other programs.

Because students are embedded in the healthcare delivery system from their first days on the GHS campus, they experience an interprofessional approach to education from practicing clinicians that hones their academic skills as well as critical team skills. The clinical university model helps offer the right experience at the right time in each student’s educational journey.

But the excitement of GHS and its university partners may be dwarfed by the excitement of business leaders, who see the growing initiative as an enormous boon for the Upstate economy.

That number includes Ben Haskew, president and CEO of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, who along with 50 other business leaders visited Pittsburgh last week as part of an intercommunity leadership visit. “While there, we learned about the impact their academic health center, the University of Pittsburgh, had on their community, and it was truly impressive. And – I’m very proud to say – they were impressed by our new innovative model and were interested in seeing how it might be harnessed elsewhere.”

“From a business point of view, this is incredibly exciting news for the Upstate,” said J. Mac Holladay, former director for the S.C. Development Board. He is also founder and CEO of Market Street Services, which has facilitated strategies for Austin, Nashville and more than 150 communities in 33 states. “Economic impact studies show that academic health centers are awarded approximately half of all governmental research funding for health care,” he said. “That can grow $100 million annually in some locations. This research funding benefits the community both directly and indirectly and can serve as catalyst for spin-off quality job creation and new investment.”

Holladay said the GHS academic health center will have a direct and positive impact on the area’s economic health for decades to come.
“Even beyond the direct jobs growth and projected entrepreneurial spinoffs, having an academic health center in your own backyard will carry significant weight when recruiting new industries to your area,” said Holladay. “You cannot overstate its significance and long-term impact on your area’s economic health.”

B-roll highlighting research and academics of GHS and its academic partners is available at GHS’ FTP site: (User name is ftpvideo; case-sensitive password is 2rCdi7yB.) The related video is in the B-roll folder.