Columbia, SC (WLTX) - From the hardwood to the shooting range, one former Gamecock is preparing to become a member of the Richland County’s Sheriff’s department.
Former Gamecock Tina Roy is no stranger to shooting a basketball. But she says shooting a handgun is a different story.
“Even though I'm from the country, I've never shot a gun but I've learned on a shotgun.” Roy said. It was really scary but once you get the hang of it, it's actually really, really fun.”
Roy played women’s basketball under Head Coach Dawn Staley from 2011-2016. She was a member of the Gamecocks' first Final Four team back in the 2014-15 season, and holds the record for most games played in a career with 139. She graduated last year with a degree in sports management and a degree in retail.
Roy trained for a basketball career overseas, but it didn’t work out, so she decided to come back home to the Midlands and work for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Although she says leaving basketball is like living a dream, she also says that she is looking forward to her new life as an officer.
“Sometimes you have to accept things because you know I can’t play basketball all my life and this is actually a career that I’m really interested in," Roy said.
Roy started training in November and she already has her instructor Joseph Chapman impressed.
“Everybody already kind of knows that she's tough from the basketball role,” Chapman said. “But we've put her through some rigorous training up against people that are bigger than her, who we think are tougher than her and she holds her own all the way across the board."
Chapman also says that Roy has been a tremendous leader during classes.
“She’s very mature, she’s able to help guide people along when people might feel like they’re not doing well enough she’s there to pick them up," Chapman said. “She’s a very good leader within the group.”
Roy is also finding a unique way to transfer her skills on the basketball court to her role as a police officer.
“You learn to sacrifice in basketball so you sacrifice a lot coming to work here,” Roy said. “You have to be mentally tough, we learned how to be mentally tough in college so when you're in a stressful situation here--it's all the same.”
Roy also says that teamwork is an essential skill utilized not only on the basketball court, but also in the line of duty.
“Teamwork in college, it was a team, it's not just about you it's about the whole team,” Roy said. “So here, it's teamwork so if I'm going to back you up, you back me up, just like on the court it's all the same thing.”
Although she’s used to providing entertainment for Midlands residents on the basketball court, serving as an officer for Richland County gives Roy an opportunity to serve residents in a different way.
“The sheriff gave me an opportunity at first I was like I don't know but you have to be a brave person to do this job and I am a brave and strong woman so I decided to do it.” Roy said.