By: Anna Brown, Union County News
Two members of the USC Union Anglers will compete this week in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship in New York. The tournament will be held Aug. 12-14 at the St. Lawrence River. Around 130 teams from schools all over the nation will compete.
“The St. Lawrence River is known to fisherman as the mecca for Smallmouth bass fishing; St. Lawrence County bills itself as the World’s Fishing Capital ‘Where the Pros come to Fish,'” said Cameron Coone, coach for the USC Union Anglers. “The anglers can weigh in either Largemouth or Smallmouth bass.”
Coone was named coach in July. He said he loves fishing and he is enjoying working with the team and giving back to the community through coaching. “My grandfather, Randy Coone, had a fishing rod in my hand from the time I was old enough to walk,” he said. “I remember growing up reading my grandfather’s old Bassmaster magazines, watching Hank Parker’s TV show, and flipping through the latest edition of the Bass Pro Shops catalog every free moment I had. I never really played youth sports because I was always at the lake fishing. I hope to instill my passion for the outdoors on to my kids, but I’ve also always tried to help anyone out that wanted to become a better outdoorsman. Kids today are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to fish while they are in middle school, high school, and the collegiate level.”
Coone grew up in Jonesville. His family includes his mother, Kelly Boyd, his two daughters, Scarlette and Sadie, whom he enjoys taking fishing, and his long-time girlfriend Jennifer Kammer of Simpsonville. He said he appreciates the opportunity to coach locally. “I’ve had a connection with USC Union since 2011; it was my first real job out of college when I graduated from Presbyterian College,” he said. “I’ve never had to hide my love for fishing, and they felt that my passion for the sport would be beneficial for the team. I saw a quote that said ‘When opportunity knocks on your door, always be willing to take a chance, because you never know how perfect something could turn out to be.’ And that is exactly how I’ve felt about this new job as head coach. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Coone has been employed with the Union County Jail (now called the detention center) since 2013. He was Officer of the Year in 2017 and 2020. “They have been great to me and I have an amazing group of coworkers there,” he said.
Coone said there are opportunities for the community to help the team. “Soon I will start reaching out to businesses in Union, Laurens, and other Upstate counties for help with sponsoring the team,” he said. “Any business that wants to help sponsor the team can have their business logo placed on our jersey. Fishing Jerseys are unique in that they are walking billboards and advertisements for businesses that travel all over the state and the country while we are at tournaments. We’ve had teams go as far north as Michigan to compete, as well as all over the South to fish. Sponsorships help with the rising cost of transport to these locations. We will also have hats and shirts for sale at the USC-Union Bookstore for sale.”
The tournament in New York will be the last for Waldrop and Kershaw as USC Union students – both will move on to their next college locations after completing their first two years here.
“These guys persevered through a daunting schedule to qualify for this tournament,” Coone said. “I have at least two guys fishing this fall for me, and I hope to increase that number once students return to campus for the start of classes. I’ve already been in talks with other high school coaches about meeting with their anglers and offering them the opportunity to fish at the next level.
Our teams’ Facebook (USC-Union Anglers) and Instagram (uscunionbantamsanglers) have been an excellent recruiting tool so far, and they are probably one of the best ways to reach out to me if anyone is interested in fishing while they attend USC-Union.” Coone said his next goal is to start a College Kayak fishing division for the team. “It is something that is starting to get big in the college ranks and I think it would be a perfect fit for USC-Union,” he said.