Hometown: Chester, S.C.
Minor: Sport and entertainment management
Hobby: Playing guitar
Biggest movie disappointment: “The Hobbit”
Social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Avery Wilks knew that he wanted a career in sports news long before attending USC. Avery remembers reading Sports Illustrated in fifth grade and gathering newspaper clippings that caught his attention in a scrapbook that he still has today.
In high school, Avery joined his school’s morning show, which to that point had consisted of a student reading announcements on air. Avery started a sports segment on the show, implementing live interviews with players and creating his signature sign off: “There’s never a wrong time to do what’s right.”
Avery also worked as the sports editor of the yearbook and wrote an occasional article for the Chester News and Reporter.
Avery went on to help pioneer GarnetReport.com – eventually becoming editor-in-chief – and helped transform it into a fully credentialed website and student organization at USC.
His work got him noticed by Gamecock Central just in time for the 2013 football season. Avery primarily covers basketball, baseball and football for the website.
Avery has covered hundreds of games, but it was his reporting courses at USC that allowed him to discover his full potential as a reporter. “Doug Fisher’s classes made me realize I could branch out and cover other things besides sports,” he said.
An opening with South Carolina Press Association Foundation internship program led Avery to the Aiken Standard newspaper, where he worked as an intern and general assignment reporter in the summer of 2014. “It was a new adventure every day,” he said.
His proudest moment in journalism was writing story on an Aiken County man who was rescued by first responders after a near-deadly industrial accident. The story was picked up by the Associated Press and then a few other newspapers.
Along the way, Avery has contributed to two books. One of them, a biography of Steve Spurrier titled “Spurrier: How The Ball Coach Taught the South to Play Football,” was released last fall, while the other, the story of former NBA star Allen Iverson’s rise and fall titled “Not a Game,” is set for release this summer.
Avery won a sports editing internship through the Dow Jones News Fund. He will start at the Tulsa World newspaper in May.
Avery wants to start off as a beat reporter for a few years before working as a sports enterprise writer.
– By Kathryn Duggan