CHARLESTON, S.C. - A mutually beneficial partnership. That term was mentioned by both CSU Associate Athletic Director for Development/Ticketing Tyler Davis and Hendrick Toyota General Manager Jason Scott when the CSU Sports Information Department had the opportunity to sit down with both men just before Christmas break.
Both individuals recognized the importance of a partnership between the two organizations after meeting through CSU football alum A.G. Goldsmith. It has blossomed into an opportunity for all parties to develop and enhance the relationship between CSU, Hendrick Toyota, and the community.
"Obvious, Jason has been a great partner with us," Davis said. "I met him through a mutual friend who introduced me to Jason, and then we began to build our relationship and one thing led to another. He's been very gracious to invest in CSU athletics."
Scott echoed the refrain as well, "Any town of our size revolves a lot around the universities and what they do. We are in an area around a faith-based institution that is symbolic of our culture and the people in our community. We had a lot of common ground to speak about, we started chatting, and I asked Tyler how we could support him and they could support us."
The initial conversations started small but continued to develop through a relationship that grew through a commonality of reading John Maxwell books.
"It was one of the initial things, as you start to get to know somebody, that is so intriguing as you find common ground," Davis said. "As we were speaking, we realized our commonality from a faith perspective and wanting to develop people within both of our organizations. He was using John Maxwell and it became a connection point for both of us."
He continued, "Jason actually gave me a book, the 365 Daily Reader by John Maxwell that brings together biblical, faith integration components. Between that and his passion for athletics, we really hit it off. His experiences made him want to stay low-key, behind the scenes, and invest in CSU athletics because of the people."
Scott concurred and expanded on Davis' comments about wanting to build a legacy in the relationship between Hendrick, CSU, and the community.
"We talked at first about just writing checks or naming, but we really wanted to do something where we're building a legacy and passing it along to the people around us," Scott said. "It's a constant work-in-process and an evolving model. We hope it will continue to evolve and God's will be done on it. We're hoping to build a relationship with CSU graduates seeing us and coming over here to work, as well as people here valuing the relationship and pursuing opportunities at CSU."
The goal of working with corporate sponsors and helping out in the community also has made an impact from CSU. According to Davis, the Bucs want to ensure that CSU lives up to its image of integrating faith in learning, leading, and serving and helping organizations understand the return on their investment with the Buccaneers.
"Our hope and goal with any corporate sponsors, or anyone investing in athletics, is that it's a mutually beneficial partnership," Davis commented. "We want to make sure we are great community partners. Our goal and our hope right now is that we continue to share the message of what Hendrick Toyota is about, while at the same time we serve them accordingly and they help provide a service with us."
"From my side, it's my job and the job of our athletic administration and coaches to serve them," he continued. "It's about appreciating people and building relationships. We want to be all about the people, appreciate, and share the respect we have for them and they with us as they support our department."
The burgeoning relationship between Hendrick Toyota and Charleston Southern has already paid dividends on both sides. Seeing organizations help the community is key from all parties.
"A lot of the faculty at the school already does a lot of business with us," Scott commented. "Half of our service department is filled up with people that have graduated or still attend CSU. We've started talking more and more about how we can try to help and support the relationship and find out ways that I could support our people going through school and help them get out into the community and do good things."
Scott added, "I really want to see them (CSU athletics) do well. One of our founding principles is to support our community and this is one of the ways we're doing it."
Hendrick Toyota also provides a number of other services to the community, but you won't find all of their efforts in the news.
"I've told Tyler this before, we don't put everything out there for the notoriety," Scott said. "We do quite a bit to help out, but don't do it conditionally on putting our name out there. I'll always joke that you'll never see me on television. There are 10,000 other employees that deserve recognition. We're not an organization that writes a check; we truly do get out there and give."
One of the ways Hendrick Toyota has helped out CSU Athletics has been through the use of courtesy cars for the CSU coaching staff. These cares have helped expand on CSU's footprint allowing the coaches to get out and recruit, as well as build and establish relationships around the community.
"At CSU, we're certainly thankful for this partnership with Hendrick Toyota," Davis said. "Their cars allow our coaches to get on the road and recruit. In addition, it helps build relationships with student-athletes that ultimately come back and compete here at our University. It's certainly a relationship we are thankful for and my hope is that we are serving others, in the same manner, they are serving us."
The partnership has made a huge impact on Scott. His experience with CSU has left him feeling like he is home.
"I don't think you can put into words what the school does," he said. "They honor the students through their faith. Being a part of that is a blessing and having people from CSU come seek us out and know they are part of the family is fantastic. It's too great of an organization to partner with that makes the community and people around better. I don't have the luxury of attending as many games as I'd like to, but I know I'm always invited. I appreciate the teams and organizations on campus reaching out to me and feel like I have a second home if I ever need it."
The feeling is mutual for Davis and CSU.
"Jason has been a person of integrity – when he says he is going to do something, he does it," Davis said. "For us, it's about doing the same thing in return and serving our sponsors accordingly."