South Carolina Gamecocks

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South Carolina Gamecocks
University University of South Carolina
Conference Southeastern Conference
Conference USA [1]
NCAA Division I / FBS
Athletic director Ray Tanner
Location Columbia, SC
Varsity teams 19
Football stadium Williams-Brice Stadium
Basketball arena Colonial Life Arena
Baseball stadium Carolina Stadium
Other arenas Stone Stadium (soccer)
Beckham Field (softball)
Mascot Cocky
Nickname Gamecocks
Fight song The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way
     Garnet       Black

The University of South Carolina's 19 varsity sports teams are known as the "Gamecocks". The unique moniker is held in honor of Thomas Sumter, a South Carolina war hero who was given the name "The Carolina Gamecock" during the American Revolution for his fierce fighting tactics, regardless of his physical stature or the size of his regiment. A British General commented that Sumter "fought like a gamecock." While the men have traditionally been the Fighting Gamecocks and the women were previously the Lady Gamecocks, this distinction was discontinued in part to help eliminate gender bias in their athletic department, and to discount the oft-held misconception that their mascot is meant to honor/promote animal bloodsport in any way.

All of the University's varsity teams compete at the Division I level of the NCAA, and all but men's soccer compete in Southeastern Conference.[2] Men's soccer competes in Conference USA because the SEC does not sponsor men's soccer. Although the University's varsity teams have won only a few national titles, many league championships and tournament titles have been won over the years.

The athletics department is supported with private money from the Gamecock Club. It was originally formed as the B.A.M. ("Buck-A-Month") Club in 1939 and 1940 to benefit the athletics programs from privately raised funds.[3] Tim Brando of CBS Sports has said, "You won't find any more loyal fans in the country than those who follow the South Carolina Gamecocks."[4]

South Carolina usually calls itself simply "Carolina," "USC," or "SC" in athletics, causing occasional confusion with the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Southern California Trojans. Sports networks such as ESPN use the abbreviation "SCAR" during their coverage of Gamecocks sports.

Conference history[edit]

The University of South Carolina was a member of the Southern Conference for men's basketball and football from 1922 until it became a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953. The Gamecocks left the ACC in 1971, following numerous disputes over the ACC's recruiting regulations and the political dominance of the conference's four North Carolina schools.[5] USC then competed as an independent until 1983 when it joined the Metro Conference for all sports except football (which the Metro did not sponsor) and men's soccer. In 1991, the Gamecocks joined the Southeastern Conference when it increased its membership to 12 schools and split into two divisions. Since joining the SEC, the Gamecocks have been part of the league's Eastern Division. Men's soccer continued to compete as an independent since the SEC does not sponsor men's soccer, but joined the Metro Conference for the 1993 and 1994 seasons and has competed in Conference USA since 2005.[2]


Carolina's foremost rival is Clemson University. The two institutions are separated by just over 125 miles (201 km) and have been bitter rivals since Clemson's founding in 1889. A heated rivalry continues to this day for a variety of reasons, including the historic tensions regarding their respective charters along with the passions surrounding their athletic programs. The annual Carolina-Clemson football game is the longest uninterrupted series in the South and the third longest uninterrupted series overall, first played in 1896 (four years after South Carolina's inaugural season), and played every year since 1909.[6] Their baseball programs consistently qualify for the NCAA playoffs and frequently earn berths to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Carolina continues to develop rivalries with other members of the SEC's Eastern Division. Carolina's main SEC rival has been the University of Georgia due to its proximity and the many years of competition before the Gamecocks joined the SEC. The "Halloween Game" against the University of Tennessee has the potential to be a big football game every year, and a rivalry has been brewing with the University of Florida since the Gamecocks hired Steve Spurrier, Florida's former Heisman Trophy winner and head football coach.

When South Carolina was a member of the ACC (1953-1971), there was an intense rivalry with the University of North Carolina, particularly in basketball, since Frank McGuire had coached UNC but moved to Columbia to coach the Gamecocks. The rivalry was renewed in football during the 2007 season, with the Gamecocks defeating the Tar Heels 21-15.

School colors[edit]

The official school colors are garnet and black. The colors of garnet and black were chosen by the family of Dr. J. William Flinn when they presented a banner composed of those colors to the football team in November 1895, although there was no definite act of adoption of the colors.[7]

Notable varsity teams†[edit]


The South Carolina Gamecocks football team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference. Steve Spurrier is the current head coach, and the team plays its home games at Williams-Brice Stadium, the 20th largest stadium in college football. Accomplishments include the 2010 SEC East title, the 1969 ACC championship, and numerous bowl victories and top 25 rankings. In 1980, George Rogers won the Heisman Trophy. Players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame include George Rogers and Sterling Sharpe.

Men's Basketball[edit]

The South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Southeastern Conference. The program attained national prominence under hall of fame coach Frank McGuire, posting a 205-65 record and three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances from 1967-1976. The Gamecocks won the 1970 ACC championship, 1971 ACC Tournament, and the 1997 SEC championship. South Carolina also won Southern Conference titles in 1927, 1933, 1934, and 1945. More recently, the Gamecocks won the NIT in 2005 and 2006 and claimed a share of the 2009 SEC Eastern division title. Frank Martin is the current head coach, and the team plays at the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena.

Women's Basketball[edit]

The South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Southeastern Conference. During the 1980s, the Gamecocks won five regular season Metro Conference championships and three conference tournament championships. Under current Head Coach Dawn Staley, the program continues to build on their accomplishments, winning the SEC Championship and being named NCAA Tournament #1 seed in back-to-back seasons (2014 & 2015). The 2015 season also saw the Gamecocks advance to the first Final Four in Carolina Basketball history.


The South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team represents the University of South Carolina in NCAA Division I college baseball. South Carolina has posted 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 College World Series berths, and two National Championships: 2010 and 2011. Since joining the Southeastern Conference in 1992, the team has competed in the Eastern division, where they have won six divisional titles, three regular season conference championships (2000, 2002, 2011) and one SEC Tournament championship (2004). Chad Holbrook is the current head coach. Between 2010 and 2012 the Gamecocks set two NCAA records for postseason success: the most consecutive NCAA tournament wins (22) and the most consecutive wins in the College World Series (12). The team plays its home games at Carolina Stadium, which opened on February 21, 2009.[8]

Women's Track and Field[edit]

The South Carolina Gamecocks women's track and field team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the SEC, where they have won three conference championships (1999, 2002, 2005). The team has been coached by Curtis Frye since 1997, won the 2002 NCAA Women's Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship, and includes many Olympic medalists, such as Aleen Bailey and Tonique Williams-Darling.

ordered by revenue contribution to USC Athletic Department in FY2012.[9]

Notable non varsity sports[edit]


Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina rugby team is the oldest club sport at the school.[10] The team plays Division 1 college rugby in the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference against its SEC rivals. The rugby team finished second in the SCRC conference in 2013 and reached the national playoffs.[11] The team improved and finished first in the SCRC conference in 2014, again qualifying for the national playoffs.[12] The rugby team is supported by the Carolina Rugby Foundation and by the Carolina Men's Rugby Endowment Fund.[13] The rugby team has been led since 2011 by head coach Mark Morris.


The Gamecocks have won eight national team championships: 2010 & 2011 National Championships in baseball, 2005 & 2007 National Championships in women's equestrian, 2005-2007 Hunt Seat National Championships in women's equestrian, and 2002 NCAA championship in women's track & field. Also, the men's and women's track & field teams have produced many NCAA individual champions, world championship medalists, and Olympic medalists. The men's baseball and basketball teams have also produced Olympic medalists. Other significant accomplishments include 2010 SEC Eastern Division Champions in football, 2005 NCAA runner-up in women's track & field, NCAA runner-up four times in baseball (1975, 1977, 2002, 2012), 1993 NCAA runner-up in men's soccer, and 2005 & 2006 NIT championships in men's basketball, and a Heisman Trophy winner (George Rogers, 1980).

Sport Coach (since) Facility Titles[2]
Baseball Chad Holbrook (2012) Carolina Stadium SEC East Champions: 6 (2012, 2011, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999)
SEC Championship: 3 (2011, 2002, 2000)
SEC Tournament Championship: 1 (2004)
NCAA Tournament: 29 appearances
College World Series: 11 appearances
NCAA Runner-Up: 4 (2012, 2002, 1977, 1975) [14]
NCAA Champion: 2 (2010, 2011)
Basketball Men's Frank Martin (2012) Colonial Life Arena Southern Conference Champions: 4 (1945, 1934, 1933, 1927)
Southern Conference Tournament: 1 (1933)
ACC Championship: 1 (1971)
ACC Tournament Runner-Up: 2 (1970, 1957)
SEC East Champions: 2 (2009, 1997)
SEC Championship: 1 (1997)
SEC Tournament Runner-Up: 2 (2006, 1998)
NIT Championships: 2 (2006, 2005)
NCAA Tournament: 8 appearances
Women's Dawn Staley (2008) Colonial Life Arena NWIT Tournament: 1 (1979)
Metro Conference Regular Season: 5 (1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1986)
Metro Conference Tournament: 3 (1989, 1988, 1986)
SEC Regular Season: 2 (2014, 2015)
SEC Tournament: 1 (2015)
1980 AIAW Final Four
NCAA Tournament: 9 appearances
Women's Cross Country Stan Rosenthal (2001) Metro Conference: 3 (1991, 1990, 1989)
Women's Equestrian Boo Duncan (1998) One Wood Farm National Champions: 2 (2007, 2005)
Hunt Seat National Champions: 3 (2007, 2006, 2005)
SEC Champions: 2 (2013, 2014)
Football Steve Spurrier (2005) Williams-Brice Stadium ACC Championship: 1 (1969)
SEC East Championship: 1 (2010)
Bowl Appearances: 20
Bowl Record: 8-12
Golf Men's Bill McDonald (2007) The University Club ACC Championship: 1 (1964)
Metro Conference Championship: 1 (1991)
NCAA Tournament: 19 appearances
2007 NCAA West Regional Champions
Women's Kalen Anderson (2007) The University Club Metro Conference: 1 (1990)
SEC Championship: 1 (2002)
NCAA Tournament: 14 appearances
NCAA East Regional Championships: 2 (2010, 2012)
Soccer Men's Mark Berson (1978) Stone Stadium (The Graveyard) Metro Conference: 1 (1993)
Conference USA Championship: 1 (2011)
Conference USA Tournament Championship: 2 (2010, 2005)
NCAA Tournament: 20 appearances
NCAA Runner-Up: 1 (1993)[15]
Women's Shelley Smith (2001) Stone Stadium (The Graveyard) SEC Championship: 1 (2011)
SEC Tournament Championship: 1 (2009)
NCAA Tournament: 6 appearances
Softball Beverly Smith (2010) Beckham Field SEC Tournament: 2 (2000, 1997)
SEC Regular Season: 1 (1997)
SEC East: 4 (2002, 2001, 1999, 1997)
NCAA Tournament: 14 appearances
Swimming & Diving Men's McGee Moody (2007) The Carolina Natatorium Metro Conference: 8 (1984, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91)
Women's McGee Moody (2007) The Carolina Natatorium Metro Conference: 6 (1984, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90)
NIC: 4 (1986, 87, 88, 89)
Tennis Men's Josh Goffi (2010) Carolina Tennis Stadium ACC Regular Season: 1 (1968)
ACC Tournament: 1 (1968)
Metro Tournament: 6 (1991, 90, 89, 87, 86, 85)
NCAA Tournament: 19 appearances
Women's Kevin Epley Carolina Tennis Stadium Metro Conference Tournament: 5 (1990, 88, 87, 86, 85)
NCAA Tournament: 19 appearances
Track and Field Men's Curtis Frye (1996) Weems Baskin Track Facility NCAA Tournament: 20 appearances (indoor), 21 appearances (outdoor)
NCAA Individual Champions: Many
Olympic Medalists: Many
World Championship Medalists: Many
Women's Curtis Frye (1996) Weems Baskin Track Facility SEC Championship: 3 (2005, 2002, 1999)
NCAA Tournament: 15 appearances (indoor), 16 appearances (outdoor)
NCAA Runner-Up: 1 (2005)
NCAA Championship: 1 (2002)
NCAA Individual Champions: Many
Olympic Medalists: Many
World Championship Medalists: Many
Women's Volleyball Scott Swanson (2011) Volleyball Competition Facility Metro Conference: 1 (1984)
NCAA Tournament: 7 appearances

See also[edit]


  1. ^ South Carolina Gamecocks teams compete in the Southeastern Conference for all sports excluding men's soccer, which competes in Conference USA
  2. ^ a b c University of South Carolina Official Athletic Site - Traditions
  3. ^ Lesesne, Henry H. (2001). A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-2000. University of South Carolina Press. p. 66. 
  4. ^, p. 17
  5. ^ The Off-court Uproar In Dixie
  6. ^ NCAA football records, p. 111.
  7. ^ Green, Edwin Luther (1916). History of the University of South Carolina. The State Company. p. 460. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Gamecock Athletics Mean Big Business
  10. ^ Carolina Rugby Foundation
  11. ^ Carolina Rugby Foundation
  12. ^ About Carolina Rugby
  13. ^ Carolina Endowment
  14. ^ NCAA Men's College World Series 2008 - 16 Regional Sites Selected For NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
  15. ^ NCAA soccer records, p. 132