College Sports

‘I’ve been so blessed.’ Tribute to Mac Credille brings revered USC figure to tears

WATCH: A tearful Mac Credille accepts South Carolina honor

Mac Credille, longtime equipment manager for the South Carolina basketball programs, was honored by the Gamecocks on Feb. 9, 2019. Credille retired a month earlier.
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Mac Credille, longtime equipment manager for the South Carolina basketball programs, was honored by the Gamecocks on Feb. 9, 2019. Credille retired a month earlier.

Mac Credille went around the baseline, sharing hugs with everyone from Bruce Ellington to Alex English.

It was an emotional scene for the recently retired South Carolina equipment manager on Saturday as he was honored during halftime of South Carolina’s win over Arkansas at Colonial Life Arena. It was Legends Weekend at USC and Credille, who gave 46 years of service to Gamecock athletics, was the main attraction. A video tribute to Credille included words from English, Frank Martin, P.J. Dozier, Duane Notice, Ray Tanner and George Rogers, among others.

He was moved to tears when speaking to reporters and reflecting on the well-wishes he’s received over the last month.

“It’s been really hard to deal with,” Credille said, “because I’m very behind-the-scenes. But it’s been really good. I didn’t realize so many people thought that much of me. ... I’m not on Twitter and all that, but people told me people were saying so many nice things about me and it really just overwhelmed me.

“I’m just so appreciative of everybody here because this has been my life. And I needed to take care of family. I’m getting older and nobody knows how many years you get and you need to take care of family and your wife and son, spend time with them.

“But this place has been so good. I’ve been so blessed.”

What others said about Credille ...

Frank Martin, USC coach

It’s my first summer here as a head coach. So I’ve never coached a game, I’ve never won a game as a South Carolina basketball coach. He and I had just met three months earlier. I had been running around trying to recruit everyone in the country, so it’s not like I’ve had a lot of time to build a relationship with him.

And all of a sudden, we turn around and it’s team camp weekend. And it’s Friday night. And we had 100 teams here. And the last game ended around 10 o’clock at night. Now everyone leaves and I go in the locker room and try to catch my breath. I’m here all day, just like my staff was, trying to meet as many people as we could since none of us were from the area. And now I walk out. And I was walking through the Coliseum. At the time, it wasn’t our practice facility. At that time, we had set it up for camp. And there’s no one in the gym but Mac. There’s paper cups everywhere, there’s tape -- like people cut off their ankle tape and just threw it on the floor. When you got team camp, you got a lot of people there. And he’s on his hands and knees drying up a wet spot by one of the benches.

And I walk up to him, I said, ‘Mac, come on man, it’s 10:30 at night. It’s OK.’ He looked at me dead in the eyes and he said, ‘Coach, this is my job.’ I never once again questioned that man’s loyalty to his job, to making this a better place for everyone that’s a part of basketball on this campus.

Bruce Ellington, USC player from 2010-14

Mac! Anything you ask for, he’s going to have it for you. Anything you need, he’s going to have it for you. And just the person that he is. As a matter of fact, when I saw him, he gave me a big hug. He’s just a great guy.

Chris Silva, USC senior forward

He’s always been here for me. There’s some games where I have a bad game and we lose because of something I did. I would come back at night and try to shoot the ball and try to (improve) myself. And Mac used to always be there at night and talk to me and try to keep my head above my shoulders.

He did so much for me.

Hassani Gravett, USC senior guard

My first year here, actually, and I was struggling to shoot. And I was the last guy in the locker with my head down. Mac came in there and he just encouraged me. He told me that he’s seen players come in and out of this program and he knows that if I just continue to work hard and listen to what Coach tells me that things will start to pull together and I would feel a lot better.

That talk that he gave me, it really did help my confidence and I’ll never forget that.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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