Garris Gonce (2001-2002) transferred to South Carolina in the fall of 2000 from Florida Community College at Jacksonville. In his two seasons in Columbia, Gonce batted .338 and .305 and hit a total of 25 HRs. In 2001, he was named All-SEC. After finishing his career as a Gamecock, Gonce was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 31st round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the third time he had been selected in the draft (Toronto Blue Jays - 1998 (30th round), 1999 (47th round)). Gonce is known for his toughness as a player. Many Carolina fans will recall his continuing to play in the Gamecocks' Super Regional at Stanford in 2001 after being hit in the face with a pitch, breaking several bones in his nose.
What is your favorite personal moment in a Gamecock uniform? The comeback versus Miami on Sunday to advance to Omaha in 2002.
What is your favorite moment from your entire baseball career - from little league on? See above.
What team moment at Carolina stands out the most to you as you look back today? Walking onto the field in Omaha with the guys for the first time to take BP. We were all very excited to play on such a big stage.
Which player or person most inspired you to be the best baseball player you could be? My dad coached me from the time I could walk until I got to HS. He continued his support of me in the bleachers from then on. He and my mom burned a lot of gas on I-95 and I-26 between here and Florida coming to see me play. He never pushed me but encouraged me. He and I played a round of golf the day I was released from Minor League Baseball. We quit after 4 holes.
What did it mean for you for Carolina to win the 2010 National Championship, and do you wish the 2002 CWS offered the opportunity for a best of 3 against the Longhorns? It was a blast to watch that team finish what we couldn't. I try not to dwell on what could have been in that series. We lost to a very good team. They were fresh and played well. We were tired and battered. The better team won that day, but had we had another shot 2 days later . . .
What are you doing these days?
I sell building materials to residential contractors in Cola for Builders FirstSource.
*A special thanks from Skulls and Spurs and GABA to Garris Gonce for this interview.