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Muschamp embracing former players

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South Carolina first-year head coach Will Muschamp knows there's plenty to fix for the Gamecocks to get to where they need to be on the field.

But one of Muschamp's biggest priorities since arriving in November has been to continue to improve off-the-field aspects of the program as well.

The most glaring example of that is last week's first (and now annual) alumni flag football game that took place before the Garnet and Black spring game and featured 124 former players spanning multiple decades.

"Anyone that's been a part of an organization, you always want to feel welcome to be back," Muschamp said. "We want them to feel welcome to walk through our doors, and certainly making some networking for our present players to be able to talk to a former player about his experience at Carolina. I want those guys involved as much as possible and we're going to continue to embrace that as much as possible."

The alumni game was widely accepted by former players who jumped at the opportunity to play in front of the fan base at Williams-Brice Stadium again. As Muschamp looked on from behind the action, countless former players participating in the game stopped to introduce themselves and thank Muschamp for inviting them back.

"This is awesome," former quarterback Anthony Wright said in this interview with Langston Moore. "It's a great job that coach Mushamp is doing.got all the guys out here, just coming back and realizing that we're all family. It's awesome."

Former wide receiver Tim Frisby, in this GamecocksOnline feature, added: "Coach Muschamp has done an awesome job of integrating the older players with the newer players. It's one big family -- a Gamecock family."

Athletic director Ray Tanner has been instrumental in the push, across sports, to make former players feel welcomed back on the Carolina campus and Tanner was on the sidelines watching the game as well.

"For a long, long time, we've had the greatest fan base in the country and it continues to grow," Tanner said. "What Coach Muschamp has done here, in a short period of time, bringing people back -- you're a Gamecock forever -- so it's very, very special. We're excited about what's going on here and everybody coming back. They're always welcome."

Muschamp added that he believes there's value to his current players in connecting with former players who are established in the post-football private sector of business. A connection now, could make for a job opportunity layer.

"It's definitely the first time that I've seen so many come back and show support," senior linebacker T.J. Holloman said. "It just shows that Coach Muschamp is welcoming everyone in trying to get everyone to buy back into the program and bring the older alumni in. It just shows that this program is about to turn around. We have everyone around us, all the support we need, now it's just on us to go out and do our jobs."

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