Lanham Serves as “Caddie” for Citadel Basketball

Justin Lanham-2013-14-Headshot-1

By Jon Cole
Citadel Basketball SID

Every college basketball coach across the nation dreams of finding that one person who will put your program over the top. They all search in the smallest of gyms, go through hours of tape, call their friends and say I need “that guy.”

The Citadel basketball program had “that guy” stroll through the door, as legend would have it, during the week of January 26, 2011. It was a week that the Bulldogs were set to play Appalachian State, Western Carolina and Davidson. Justin Argenal, then The Citadel basketball operations director, told “that guy” (aka Justin Lanham) that he could serve as the manager for the basketball team.

Citadel assistant coach Rob Burke had even gone so far, after the addition of Lanham, to convince head coach Chuck Driesell that he was in fact Davidson head coach Bob McKillop’s nephew and was there to spy on the team.

That was the only minor flaw with Lanham (one of his many nicknames), as Driesell and his staff might have seen it—“that guy” was a lifelong Davidson fan. He had witnessed his prized Wildcats make their trek to the 2008 NCAA Elite Eight that included victories over Gonzaga, Georgetown, Wisconsin (where he sat two rows behind LeBron James) before suffering a devastating 59-57 loss to Kansas where he was eight rows back of the team bench.

Lanham still knows, and emulates for that matter, everything about former Davidson star Stephen Curry. He shoots long range 3-pointers before and after practice and shouts out “wet ball” as does his basketball idol. Justin even follows Curry’s Warriors and their success to this very day.

Justin Lanham-Will Gordon

An avid golfer, Mr. Lanham—as he prefers to be called—traveled to Scotland last summer to play one round at New Course at St. Andrews, one round at The Jubilee Course at St. Andrews and two rounds each at the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

Golf is only one of his passions, the others include his hometown Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Bobcats. During the first Panthers run to the Super Bowl, Justin was 12 years old, but he still has nightmares about John Kasay kicking the ball out of bounds on the kickoff in the waning stages of the game. He also has fond memories of Jake Delhomme and Stephen Davis carrying the team to its only NFC Championship, all while wearing a No. 30 Mike Minter jersey.

The other passion is being a personal caddie for fellow Davidson, N.C., native Will Gordon. Gordon is a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt and ranks among the top 25 junior players in the world.

The CEO, another nickname for Lanham, has aspirations of one day becoming a pilot—which dream with which Burke has major issues. “I would never fly on any plane that Lanham is the pilot,” said Burke. Mr. Lanham obviously loves airports and enjoying the luxuries of flying first class as he is constantly on the go to various places such as a recent N.Y. Rangers-Chicago Blackhawks game.

Named Mr. Basketball at McKillop’s basketball camp as a fourth grader, Lanham truly loves the game. It shows in the smile on his face when he is around all of the players including best friend Matt Van Scyoc. He and Van Scyoc are inseparable, with Lanham taking him to his first Panthers game during the 2013-14 season and the two spending time together at Matt’s home in Wisconsin this summer.

Lanham is truly “that guy” for Citadel basketball, earning him the title of basketball equipment manager. His duties include, but are not limited to, washing the jerseys, preparing the team in all phases from a packing standpoint for all road trips, setting up for video on the road, coordinating bus travel, daily setup for team practice (shot clocks in proper working order, basketballs on the racks, video is up and running, etc.).

Bulldog fans sit across from the team at McAlister Field House and see the basketball coaching staff dressed out in their suits. If they look a little further down the bench and see someone dressed in similar fashion it is certainly Mr. Lanham.

The Citadel to Honor ’64 Golf Team on January 25

Golf Bag

By Andy Solomon

Almost every fan of Citadel Athletics is aware of football’s two Southern Conference Championships and the many, many titles that the baseball team has accumulated over the decades.

Some are even aware of the tennis crown and track and field titles that The Citadel captured in the early 1960s and even the wrestling titles.

But here’s one that probably slipped your mind:  In 1964, The Citadel won the league’s golf championship.

And what a surprise it was.

The ’64 team had won only two of 11 dual matches during the regular season and finished third in the state intercollegiate match.

However, the group put it all together and took first place at the ’64 Southern Conference Championships, topping eight other teams.

Talk about peaking at the right time!

The site of the championship was the Dunes Golf Club in Myrtle Beach and Bill Etheridge ’64, along with Charles Collett of George Washington University, tied for medalist honors with an impressive two-round total of 151.

Bill Etheridge

Bill Etheridge

While there are football championship banners at Johnson Hagood Stadium and recognition at Riley Park for baseball and a wrestling banner in McAlister Field House (with one more planned to be unfurled next year), there is no place to showcase the golf team’s achievement because we have no “home” golf course nor do we even have a men’s golf team anymore (the sport was discontinued after the 2005 season).

On Saturday, January 25, during halftime of the Western Carolina basketball game, the Department of Athletics will unveil another banner in McAlister Field House to honor the ’64 golf team, the lone squad ever to collect a Southern Conference Championship in that sport.

Ten members of that team are expected to return and they include Etheridge, Buddy Brooks ’66, Doug Carnes ’64, Nelson DuRant ’66, Bob Coleman ’66, Ed Grimball ’66, Terry Hull ’65, Tommy Maybank ’65, Bill Powell ’64 and Bob Stafford ’65.

It will be the first time that the group collectively will return to campus.

And it will be the first time in a half-century that this group will be able to recall the long drives, approach shots and both made and missed putts together.

It will be a homecoming for a band of brothers who put it all together for two consecutive days and shined like the champions they are.

Truthfully, this recognition is long overdue.  And while you may have missed the fact that The Citadel golf team won a Southern Conference Championship, you don’t want to miss the facial expression of this team when their belated banner is unfurled.

And amongst the many smiles and congratulations that team will showcase, don’t be surprised to see a tear or two as this group, like all championship teams, is special.

Johnson Hagood Stadium Hosted Inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl on Saturday

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By Andy Solomon

Since its beginning, Johnson Hagood Stadium has witnessed so many memorable games on its emerald green turf that nearly every individual has their own favorite games they recall.  Certainly, I have mine and Saturday, Jan. 11, was another and certainly one of the biggest.

The historic facility hosted the Inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl, a premier all-star game that featured the nation’s top draft-eligible college football players as projected for the NFL draft.

The game honored a total of nine Medal of Honor recipients and a host of Wounded Warriors who attended. The game’s beneficiaries are the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The American Team was coached by former Citadel assistant coach Ralph Friedgen, who later achieved great successes as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and later as the head coach at the University of Maryland. His squad challenged the National Team that was guided by former Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey, and at the end, the American Team defeated the National Team, 20-3.

Photo courtesy of Frankie Mansfield - The Moultrie News

Photo courtesy of Frankie Mansfield – The Moultrie News

A crowd of 5,135 braved dismal weather that forced the postponement of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights skydiving team that was going to bring in the game ball.  However, the fans were thoroughly entertained by the soon-to-be-NFL hopefuls on the field, the South Carolina State University “Marching 101” Band’s patriotic halftime performance and the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, who added to the festivities.

The local organizing committee of 43, led by Tommy McQueeney ’74, had only 105 days to prepare for the event, and the facility certainly would have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000-10,000 fans, had the weather – that included a tornado watch – not been a factor.

One of the players for the game was The Citadel’s cornerback Brandon McCladdie, an all-Southern Conference performer, who had a splendid day playing for the American Team.  He recorded two solo tackles and had one broke up one pass.

The Bowl was far from just a game as there was a weeklong schedule of events for the players, coaches and fans that included a black tie gala on Friday night that brought approximately 500 people together that welcomed the nine Medal of Honor recipients together in a most solemn ceremony.

Medal of Honor

The University of Florida wide receiver Solomon Patton was named the MVP of the American Team while linebacker Deron Furr of Fort Valley State collected the plaque for the National Team.  A permanent trophy, which will be on permanent display on the USS Yorktown, will have Coach Friedgen’s name engraved as the winning coach.

MOH

The future of this game is indeed bright as there was a lengthy list of sponsors that supported it.

Now that the committee has a year to plan for the next one, the Medal of Honor Bowl will gain a tremendous amount of steam for the second annual event that will be held in about 51 weeks.