Jacob Cullum

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – As construction continues on the new $800 million Carolina Panthers headquarters in Rock Hill, some are speculating the move could potentially bring new opportunities with the team for Winthrop University students.

Dr. Jason Chung, director of the sport management program at Winthrop, said he is excited about the future possibilities for students, in the form of internships or other training.

“I believe there will be more openings not just for sports management (students), but also athletic training or exercise science students in different capacities,” Chung said.

Adjunct instructor and multi-media sports producer Tom Cavanaugh also said the Panthers arrival could bring a positive impact for students.

“The goal is to incorporate student opportunities and form a pipeline,” said Cavanaugh. “Not just (with) the Panthers, but also the American Cornhole League, whose offices moved to Rock Hill six-to-eight weeks ago.”

Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said he has already had conversations about helping to build a connection between Winthrop and the Panthers.

“I think from a philosophy standpoint, the Carolina Panthers are committed to Winthrop having as many possibilities as possible,” Gettys said.

He said the team has also shown a willingness to connect with the Rock Hill community.

“The Panthers have been very clear, since the first meeting we’ve had, that they wanted to become an integral part of our community. There were a couple things they said they wanted to do immediately and that was to make sure they didn’t hurt the schools by coming to our community and that they (want to be) partnered with Winthrop going forward,” said Gettys.

“The information that we are hearing from the Panthers, really becoming so involved in our community is a no-brainer,” said Gettys.

“In conversations I have had with Mark Hart, who is the (Panthers) vice president, he has been very clear when we have had meetings when it looks like an issue might be negative towards the school district or Winthrop University or any other university…he says, ‘No, we aren’t going to do that. Let’s figure out a way to get it done better.’” 

The 240-acre site south of Cherry Road and just off of I-77 — which is informally being called “The Rock” — will include the Panthers headquarters and training facility.

The facility is being worked on daily and the team says it plans to have it ready for football operation by the 2023 season.