Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Panthers keeping camp at Wofford
By Pat Yasinskas
We’ve got a bit of news out of the Panthers today, who have been very quiet since the season ended.
The team just announced that it will extend its relationship with Wofford College as its training camp home for at least five more years, with options for more. Can’t really say this one is a surprise because Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is Wofford’s most famous alum (slightly ahead of ESPN.com’s NASCAR writer David Newton). Plus, new Panthers president Danny Morrison used to be Wofford’s athletic director.
If you want to really pull out your crystal ball and draw any conclusions about this move and how they might relate to the future of coach John Fox, put a check mark near the “he’s staying put’’ box. Fox has been a big advocate of holding training camp at Wofford, even at a time when so many other teams are moving back to their regular-season facilities.
Fox likes the chemistry he thinks a training camp away from home provides. He also likes the facilities at Wofford and I can’t argue with him on that at all. With a lot of help from Richardson, Wofford offers as good a camp facility as you’ll see.
The Panthers have held training camp at Wofford every year since they’ve been in existence. The extension means that only Pittsburgh (St. Vincent College), Green Bay (St. Norbert College) and Minnesota (Minnesota State—Mankato) have had longer relationships with their camp venues.
Also, this move goes along with something that’s always been important to Richardson. He specifically chose the name “Carolina’’ Panthers over “Charlotte’’ Panthers because he wanted his franchise to represent North Carolina and South Carolina. Wofford is based in Spartanburg, S.C. and it’s only a little more than an hour ride from Charlotte, which allows good access for fans.