By Brian Hand/Contributing writer
For King Dixon, it is all about preparing the student-athlete, and he believes that nobody does that better than the University of South Carolina.
That’s why when he was approached by his sons on how to become involved with the construction of the Cyndi and Kenneth Long Football Operations Center, he wanted the family gift to be involved with “anything that would pertain to the student-athlete in regard to academics and preparing them for life after graduation.”
The King Dixon II Life Skills Office that will be a part of the Football Operations Center will truly be an important part of the first-class facility that will shape the lives of Gamecocks for years to come.
“My goal was anything that was going to help our student-athletes to be well-educated, successful and contributing citizens,” Dixon, the former Gamecock star and Athletics Director, said. “This piece of the facility is loaded with opportunities to mold our young student-athletes in the way that they should go.”
The University of South Carolina is thankful to the Dixon family for their efforts to continue to help mold student-athletes.
“King Dixon already has an outstanding legacy as a Gamecock,” Athletics Director Ray Tanner said. “His achievements as a student-athlete and an administrator are well documented in Carolina lore. His contribution to the Football Operations Center will further cement that legacy. It demonstrates his love of his alma mater and his commitment to our mission of developing student-athletes at USC. We are very appreciative of this gracious gift from King and his family.”
Lee and Gus Dixon were originally the ones who brought this opportunity to their father because they wanted to honor a man that has truly put together a lifetime “of service above self.”
A Gamecock through and through, King Dixon originally came to South Carolina after a stellar high school career at Laurens (S.C.) High School. He was a running back at South Carolina from 1956-58 and the team MVP all three years.
After one of the best careers in Gamecock football history, Dixon spent 22 and a half years in the Marine Corps before eventually returning to the university he loved so much as the Director of Alumni Affairs.
He would go on to serve as Athletics Director from 1988-1992 and was responsible for helping to steward the university into the Southeastern Conference.
All of this is why having the opportunity to be a part of the Football Operations Center means so much to Dixon and his family.
“It means more than you could ever know, particularly coming from our sons and our family,” Dixon told Spurs & Feathers. “The older you get, the more you tend to appreciate things. Some of the greatest moments that we faced there back in the mid-50s [as a student-athlete] and then coming back as the Athletics Director are some of the high points of my life.”
Having served as Athletics Director during the move to the SEC, Dixon fully understands just what having the world-class Football Operations Center is going to mean for Gamecock athletics.
“I am well-traveled and I have visited many other universities,” he said. “I have seen their athletic facilities. I have seen how far the other schools have come in the areas of facilities and it’s really a facilities race, so to speak. Our university has come a long way, and this will place us among the top within our country.”
In fact, Dixon fully believes the facility “is one of the big things to grow the future of our beloved Gamecocks and the University of South Carolina. It’s really putting the Gamecocks on the pinnacle to be able to compete with anyone.”
“Once the Football Operations Center is completed, we have everything, in my opinion, that will make us a formidable opponent for years to come. Some of the other schools may have been a little ahead of us in regards to facilities, but this will put us right with the best of the best. It has all of those things that we need to make us a consistent competitor in the football side of the house.”
Thanks to Dixon and his family that success will not just be confined to the gridiron, and for Dixon that means everything because being a Gamecock is truly special.
“I’m so close to the University of South Carolina," he said. "We say, ‘It’s great to be a Gamecock,’ and it always has been and it always will be.”