South Carolina Gamecocks; SEC 101 - A Fan's Guide to the History and Tradition of Mizzou's New Conference

By Nelson, Kathleen | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 26, 2012 | Go to article overview

South Carolina Gamecocks; SEC 101 - A Fan's Guide to the History and Tradition of Mizzou's New Conference


Nelson, Kathleen, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Enrollment: 30,721

Colors: Garnet and Black

Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium.

Capacity: 80,250. Year built: 1934.

All-time record/first year played: 554-543-44/1892

Bowl record: 5-11

Conference championships: 2 (1 ACC, 1 SEC)

TRADITIONS

The Cockaboose Railroad, a twist on tailgating. A total of 22 cabooses are lined up outside the stadium, each decorated like a high-end living room, complete with cable television, air- conditioning, and heating. Some include service staffs, dressed in tuxedos. The going rate: $225,000 to own one. A rival line of cabooses has cropped up on a parking lot just a bit farther away.

The Gamecock Walk takes place about 2 hours before every home game, when the team bus drops off the players at the southwest corner of the stadium, where fans gather. The team then walks through the adoring mob enroute to the locker room.

FOOTBALL HISTORY

The program's lone Heisman winner was running back George Rogers, in 1980, when South Carolina competed as an independent. The school joined the SEC in 1991, and the jump proved tough for the first two coaches, Sparky Woods and Brad Scott. The latter was replaced for the 1999 season by Lou Holtz, lured out of retirement after 10 years at Notre Dame. Holtz brought the school some pizzazz and a return to the national rankings before retiring after the 2004 season. Steve Spurrier, fresh off a brief and unsuccessful stint with the Washington Redskins, returned to the college ranks and has coached the Gamecocks since, leading them to their lone SEC title in 2010 and a program best 11-2 last year.

NICKNAME

The state has a colorful history of breeding fighting gamecocks. General Thomas Sumter, a guerrilla fighter of the Revolutionary War, also was known as "The Fighting Gamecock." In 1903, Columbia's morning newspaper, The State, shortened the name to one word and South Carolina teams have been Gamecocks ever since.

MASCOT

Cocky first appeared in 1980 and was the winner of the first Universal Cheerleading Association Mascot Competition in 1986. …

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