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Coach Mickey Wilson marks 100 wins at Myrtle Beach High School on Monday with a surprise celebration from the Myrtle Beach Booster Club. The Seahawks defeated Marlboro County on Friday. The Seahawks will take on Wilson at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach on Friday. Photo by Janet Morgan/Myrtle Beach Herald janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

High School athletic departments across Horry County rely heavily on booster clubs to not only help meet budget needs but also to enhance the overall experience for the local athletes.

Conway Solid Gold is the athletic booster club at Conway High School, and its members raise money to support all of the athletic teams at the school. In recent years, Solid Gold has donated more than 20,000 to the athletic department. The money was used for uniforms and equipment, as well as meals for teams that made the state playoffs, and fees for all-star games.

While football and basketball may bring in enough revenue to cover most of its expenses, some of the other teams need additional support. Solid Gold raises money through memberships, an annual reverse raffle, Tiger Open Golf Tournament and other fundraisers.

In addition to the money it presents to the athletic department, Solid Gold donates a pair of $1,000 college scholarships to CHS athletes annually, and often pays the fees for participants to attend motivational events sponsored by the S.C. High School League, and the Marcus Lattimore Foundation.

“Without the Booster Club a lot of our athletes wouldn’t get the support they need,” Conway football coach Carlton Terry said. “The Booster Club is vitally important to our athletic program overall. Some of our sports can’t depend on ticket sales. We couldn’t survive without our Booster Club support.”

According to new Conway High athletics director Jason Cox, who previously served in the same capacity five years at Green Sea Floyds High School, booster club support is vitally important to all the schools. Like Solid Gold, the Green Sea Floyds Athletic Booster Club’s primary fundraisers are a golf tournament and raffle.

“The fundraisers are the same at both places,” Cox said. “We also had an excellent Booster Club at Green Sea Floyds.”

Individual memberships as well as corporate sponsors and community support, Cox said, is what drives athletics.

“We could not survive without that support,” he said. “We couldn’t do it with just the funds from tickets.”

According to Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson, the Myrtle Beach All-Sports Booster Club does a great job.

“Myrtle Beach is such a huge sports community, and not just football,” he said. “We’re good in all sports. We’re very fortunate with that community being so big, we have a great opportunity to have a big booster club and people who care about the sports.”

Wilson is especially grateful for the booster club in years like this past school year when weather heavily impacted football season and wiped out a couple of big games, including the Conway-Myrtle Beach contest.

“It’s just such a huge benefit to have an all-sports booster club,” Wilson said. “There’s very few sports that generate a lot of money in high school athletics.”

The Loris Blue Pride Club has been supporting Loris High School athletics since 1976. According to president Dow Hardee, the club’s mission is provide community and financial support to all LHS student athletes and to cultivate good sportsmanship, teamwork, and school spirit while expanding and enhancing athletic facilities.

Vice president Dennis Causey has been involved in Blue Pride since 1980.

“We do it for the program and for the kids,” Causey said. “We just try to keep things going. It’s a job at times. It’s fun and rewarding at the same time.”

Christine Walker is president of the Socastee High School Athletic Association, a group of volunteer parents, staff community members and businesses dedicated to providing financial support and resources to SHS sports and athletes. The SHSAA raises money through memberships and sponsorships, concessions, annual dinner/auction and other fundraisers.

“Being a part of the Socastee High School Athletic Association is a fun way to support our athletic program while helping to develop our student athletes into productive and successful adults,” Walker said. “Our board is currently made up of 15 parents from all sports. Typically we raise funds through concessions, sponsorships, and various fundraisers throughout the year. It takes a dedicated community to make our program work and we saw that this summer with the ‘Hunter Renfrow Gives Back Signing Event’ held in early July. The overwhelming support we received from Hunter, coaches, parents and the community made this one of our most fun and successful fundraisers to date.”

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