Jim Schaper is waiting, but he is not sitting still. The two-time All-American in track for South Carolina wants someone to break his long standing school record in the 1,500 meters, but that hasn’t stopped him from keeping up a torrid pace when it comes to success in his professional life and giving back to his alma mater.

“Actually, I wish somebody would break it,” Schaper said of the record he set in 1974. “I’m all about someone doing better than me. My time at South Carolina as a student-athlete is something I take great pride in, primarily because I ran with great guys, and I had wonderful teammates, who made me look better than I probably was.”

Schaper was not only a two-time All-American for the Gamecocks, but he was also a member of the 1974 national championship two-mile relay team. To this day, Schaper still holds the school outdoor record in the 1,500-meters with a time of 3:42.48, which is the longest standing outdoor record in program history.

Jim and his wife, Rebecca, were recently presented with the Garnet Award from the University of South Carolina Athletics Department at the annual Gamecock Gala. The Garnet Award is the most distinguished and highest honor given to a member of Gamecock Nation as it recognizes an individual for outstanding service and dedication to South Carolina, and it pays tribute to the recipient for unwavering loyalty, sacrifice and commitment to the building of a championship program.

“I have been incredibly fortunate and lucky in my career since I left the University of South Carolina,” Schaper said. “I feel very strongly that the university, and the athletics department specifically, had so much to do with my success after I left. I’m glad to help other individuals have some of the same opportunities that I had.”

Originally from New York, Schaper moved to Atlanta when he was six. Former South Carolina track coach John West began recruiting Schaper when he was in the tenth grade, and although he had other offers, he remained committed to the Gamecocks.

“He was the first guy to recruit and offer me a scholarship,” Schaper said. “I guess there were three reasons I came. One was loyalty to the guy who recruited me. The second was that he was trying to building something, and I wanted to be part of that. Lastly, it’s only a few hours from Atlanta, so it was close enough to home, but also far enough away.”

Schaper made the most of his opportunities at South Carolina, creating lasting memories on and off the track.

“It was a different time,” Schaper laughed about his days on campus. “If my teammates and I had done some of the things now that we did back then, we wouldn’t have lasted there very long. My best memories are with the guys I lived with and competed with. I got to know a lot of the baseball players really well, and all of the athletes. The basketball players lived below us. I’ve been married for 42 years, and I met my wife at South Carolina.

“I love the university, but my memories are all about the guys that I was around all the time, and all of the athletes we had a chance to eat with and get to know really well. I still stay in touch with them. Some of my best friends today are guys that I ran with in college many years ago.”

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