The South Carolina Gamecocks represent the University of South Carolina (USC) in the NCAA Division I. The program is known as being the only athletic program in the country that uses “Fighting Gamecocks” as their official nickname and mascot. In fact, the name has been in use for almost 100 years.
The men’s teams were traditionally known as the Fighting Gamecocks and the women’s were known as the Lady Gamecocks. But the distinction was discontinued to avoid gender bias in the athletics department and to avoid misconception about the name. So the teams were simply known as The Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks, along with the university’s other varsity teams, compete at the Division I level of the NCAA. And it competes in the Southeastern Conference.
USC fielded its first football team on Christmas Eve in Charleston, South Carolina in 1892. The team’s first match was against Furman when football was not sanctioned by the University. The team provided their own uniforms and paid their own train fare to participate in the match. The team, at the time, was nicknamed the “College Boys” and their supporters wore Garnet and Black.
USC won their first game in their third season on NOvember 2, 1895 when they defeated Columbia AA. The following year was the first match against their arch-rival Clemson on November 12, 1896, which Carolina won 12-6. But the rivalry became intense starting in 1902 when Carolina beat Clemson while Carolina fans carried posters that featured a together being led by a gamecock standing on its back and holding its tail. This led to several fistfights including passionate Clemson fans.
The Gamecocks Today
The 2020 season was played with a conference-only schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team started the season with a 2-2 record with a major win over Auburn. The team then lost the following three games allowing 159 points. Head coach Muschamp was dismissed after this record and was replaced by interim head coach Miko Bobo.
Later, on December 6, 2020, USC athletic director Ray Tanner announced that Shane Beamer had been hired as its head coach with hopes of leading the team to better winning seasons.
About Williams-Brice Stadium
Williams-Brice Stadium is the home stadium for the South Carolina Gamecocks. This stadium is massive, and is currently the 16th largest on-campus college football stadium in the NCAA and is located on the corner of George Rogers Boulevard and Bluff Road. It’s also adjacent to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds.
Even with the stadium’s 77,559 seating capacity, it regularly attracts standing-room-only crowds. In fact, the team’s record attendance was made on October 6, 2012 wehn 85,199 fans watched the Gamecocks battle the University of Georgia. The stadium is also known as one of the loudest stadiums to play in by opposing players with one of the most welcoming atmospheres for pregame fun.In fact, during one game against Florida in 2001, ESPN announcers reported that they had to shout at each other to hear their comments even from the press box.
The stadium is sometimes known as “The Cockpit” by fans and local media. This name was most famously used in the early 1970s when the university held a fund-raising campaign to replace the field with Astroturf called the “Carpet the Cockpit” campaign.
The stadium was first built in 1934 with help from the federal Works Progress Administration funds. It was known as Columbia Municipal Stadium and was built to replace Melton Field, an aging structure that was USC’s original football field. Williams-Brice originally seated 17,600 fans but has since been expanded and renovated to its current seating capacity of 77,559.
South Carolina is known for many great football achievements. But many fans come to love the program for the various gameday traditions that is such a huge part of the Gamecock experience. Here are a few that you can experience when you visit Williams Brice Stadium.
As the Gamecocks run onto the field at the start of every home game, The “Dawn” section of Also sprach Zarathustra, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey plays. Sporting News called it “the most exciting pregame entry” in college football.
Before the opening kickoff, Darude’s “Sandstorm” plays as well as after every Gamecock touchdown. This often leads the crowd into a frenzy making the pressbox shake.
The team’s mascot, “Cocky” roams around the stadium throughout the game showing off his famous spirit and attitude. Cocky’s fame won him the UCA (Universal Cheerleading Association) Mascot Championship in 1986 and 1994. He also won the Capitaol One National Mascot of the Year in 2003.
Fans cheering and chanting. The West side of the stadium shouts “GAME” and the east side shouts “COCKS”.
Many football fans consider Gamecocks pregame tailgating to be one of the best atmospheres in the nation. The grounds around the stadium, including the State Fairgrounds, provide plenty of room for tailgating. Some clubs have even bought private property in the area and erected tailgating shelters.
The Gamecocks have a history of incredible football games that date back to their premiere match in 1934 against Erskine. The game ended in a 25-0 crush. But since then, the team has had a variety of exceptional matches including the following:
November 22, 1975 – South Carolina defeated Clemson 56-20 which set a record for most points scored in a single game against the powerhouse university.
September 13, 1980 – South Carolina demolished Wichita STate 73-0 setting a team record for the largest margin of victory.
October 1, 1983 – South Carolina defeated Southern California 38-14 winning their first game ever against the Trojans (the second and last meeting between the teams)
November 10, 1984 – South Carolina defeated Florida State 38-26 moving up to #2 in the College Football polls. Which is the highest rank ever achieved by the program.