South Carolina Gamecocks football: Wikis


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South Carolina Gamecocks football
Current season Current season
First season 1892
Head coach Steve Spurrier
5th year, 35–28  (.556)
Home stadium Williams-Brice Stadium
Stadium capacity 80,250
Stadium surface Grass
Location Columbia, South Carolina
Conference SEC
Division East
All-time record 534–536–44 (.499)
Postseason bowl record 4–11
Conference titles 1
Heisman winners 1
Consensus All-Americans 18
Current uniform
Colors Garnet and Black              
Fight song The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way
Mascot Cocky
Marching band "Mighty Sound of the Southeast"
Rivals Clemson Tigers
Georgia Bulldogs

The South Carolina Gamecocks football team represents the University of South Carolina in NCAA Division I college football. The Gamecocks have been a member of the Southeastern Conference since 1992. From 1953 through 1970, South Carolina played in the Atlantic Coast Conference, winning the 1969 ACC championship. From 1971 through 1991, they competed as a major independent, producing 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and ranking as high as #2 in the country during the 1984 season. The Gamecocks have been led by two National Coaches of the Year, Joe Morrison and Lou Holtz, and have 15 bowl appearances, highlighted by four Gator Bowl and three Outback Bowl trips. Steve Spurrier is the current head coach, and the team plays its home games at Williams-Brice Stadium.



Carolina fielded its first football team in 1892 to play against Furman on Christmas Eve in Charleston. The football team was not sanctioned by the University and had to pay their own train fare as well as buy their own uniforms. They were nicknamed the "College Boys" by The News and Courier and their supporters wore garnet and black. The team lost the game because of their inexperience and lack of training.[1]

USC won their first game during the third season of the sport on November 2, 1895 against Columbia AA. The football team got their first head coach, W.H. "Dixie" Whaley, the following year, and the 1896 season also saw the inaugural game against archrival Clemson on November 12, which Carolina won 12–6. From 1902-03, coach C. R. Williams led the Gamecocks to an impressive 14-3 record, which included the program's first 8-win season. The Board of Trustees banned participation in football for the 1906 season after the faculty complained about the coarseness of chants yelled by the students at football games. However, the board was so harassed by petitions from the students and alumni that it voted to allow the resumption of the sport in 1907. A hastily assembled football team competed in an abbreviated season and won all three games it played.[2]

From 1928-1934, coach Billy Laval led the Gamecocks to seven consecutive winning seasons and a 39-26-6 overall record, which included a perfect 3-0 Southern Conference campaign in 1933. Under coach Rex Enright, the Gamecocks produced another undefeated Southern Conference season, going 4-0-1 in 1941. Enright left South Carolina in 1955, with the distinction of being both the winningest and losingest coach in school history (64-69-7). In 1956, Warren Giese took over as head coach and proceeded to lead the Gamecocks to a 28-21-1 overall record in his 5-year tenure. The Giese era included two 7-3 campaigns (1956 and 1958), an 18-15-1 ACC record, and a 27-21 victory over Darrell Royal's 1957 Texas squad in Austin.

Several years later, Coach Paul Dietzel led South Carolina to the 1969 ACC championship and an appearance in the Peach Bowl. As a result, Dietzel was named ACC Coach of the Year in 1969. Soon after, South Carolina left the ACC and became an Independent program. Jim Carlen took over as coach in 1975, and under his leadership the program achieved a measure of national prominence. Carlen led the Gamecocks to three bowl games, coached 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, and produced a 45-36-1 record during his tenure. The Carlen Era included consecutive 8-4 records (1979-1980) and a 17-14 victory over Bo Schembechler's 1980 Michigan squad in Ann Arbor.

Joe Morrison was hired in 1983 and quickly led the Gamecocks to a 10-2 record, #11 final AP Poll ranking, and a Gator Bowl appearance in 1984. The 1984 season included victories over Georgia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Clemson. In 1987, the Gamecocks posted an 8-4 record, #15 Final AP Poll ranking, and another Gator Bowl appearance. The 1987 Gamecocks were led by the vaunted "Black Death" defense, which yielded just 141 points in 12 games played. Morrison coached his last game in the 1988 Liberty Bowl, as he died on February 5, 1989 at the age of 51. Morrison ended his South Carolina tenure with a 39-28-2 overall record, three bowl games, and three seasons with 8 or more wins.

After posting just three winning seasons from 1990-1998, Lou Holtz was hired as head coach in 1999. He took over a program that had gone just 1-10 the season before and, subsequently, oversaw a winless 0-11 campaign in 1999. It didn't take long for Holtz to improve the Gamecocks' fortunes, however, as he engineered 8-4 and 9-3 records in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, respectively. In addition, South Carolina won back-to-back Outback Bowl games over Ohio State and posted the most successful two-year run in program history (17-7 overall, 10-6 SEC). The 2000 and 2001 campaigns also saw South Carolina's return to the national rankings with #19 and #13 finishes in the final AP Polls for those years. After consecutive 5-7 seasons in 2002 and 2003, Holtz ended his South Carolina tenure on a winning note with a 6-5 record in 2004.

Steve Spurrier was hired in 2005 to replace the departing Holtz, and he led the Gamecocks to a 7-5 record and Independence Bowl appearance in his first season. As a result, Spurrier was named the 2005 SEC Coach of the Year. The 2006 season saw continued success under Spurrier, as the Gamecocks posted an 8-5 record and a 44-36 shootout victory over Houston in the Liberty Bowl. South Carolina returned to postseason play in 2008, with an appearance in the Outback Bowl against Iowa. The 2009 campaign saw the fifth-straight season of bowl eligibility under Spurrier, a first for the USC program, as the Gamecocks played Connecticut in the Bowl (20-7 loss).

Former Gamecock standouts include Alex Hawkins, Dan Reeves, Rick Sanford, George Rogers, Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Duce Staley, John Abraham, Sheldon Brown, Dunta Robinson, and Sidney Rice.


Logos and uniforms

South Carolina's 2009 uniform combinations



The in-state contest with the Tigers is the largest sporting event in the state of South Carolina. Clemson holds a 65-38-4 lead in the series, which dates back to 1896, but many of the contests have gone down to the wire. From 1896-1959, the Carolina-Clemson game was played in Columbia and referred to as "Big Thursday." Since 1960, the game has alternated between both teams' home stadiums and has become known as the "Palmetto Bowl."


South Carolina's "border rivalry" with Georgia dates back to 1894. While the Bulldogs got off to a fast start in the series and hold a 46-14-2 lead, the Gamecocks have kept the series interesting for the last few decades with hotly contested games. One of the most memorable games was the 1980 matchup between Heisman Trophy hopefuls George Rogers and Herschel Walker. Led by Walker's 219 rushing yards, Georgia won 13-10 and would go on to capture the National Championship. Rogers turned in 168 rushing yards in the contest, setting the stage for a successful finish to his Heisman Trophy campaign. Subsequent games have been very competitive, with the programs splitting the series 6-6 from 1988 through 2001. In the last eight games, only two were decided by more than seven points.


As members of the SEC's Eastern division, South Carolina plays the Kentucky on a yearly basis. The Gamecocks own a 14-6-1 series lead and have won 10 straight games dating back to the 2000 season. Despite South Carolina’s recent dominance, the matchup with Kentucky has been highlighted by numerous close games. This is reflected in seven of the ten meetings from 2000-2009 being decided by a touchdown or less. In addition, the Gamecocks and Wildcats consistently compete for postseason bids within the SEC’s bowl allotment.


The annual meeting with the Razorbacks began in 1992 when both programs entered the SEC. Despite playing in different divisions (East and West), South Carolina and Arkansas are permanent opponents under the conference's scheduling structure. The rivalry started when former Clemson head coach Danny Ford took over as Arkansas head coach in 1993. It has continued since the annual contest is usually crucial in terms of bowl aspirations. Both schools are also linked to Lou Holtz, who led each program to some of their most successful seasons. Arkansas holds an 11-7 lead in the series.

NC State

The NC State game was the season finale until the Clemson game was moved from "Big Thursday" after 1959. The series dates back to 1900, with the Gamecocks holding a slight 27-26-4 edge. The 1960s were the most heated of the rivalry with the series tied at 4-4-1 during that decade. These programs continued to meet annually from 1968 through 1991. However, there have been only three meetings since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992. The Gamecocks won two of those three games, including a 7-3 victory in 2009.

North Carolina

South Carolina's rivalry with its old ACC foe North Carolina dates back to 1903. The Tar Heels hold a 34-17-4 lead in the series, but the Gamecocks have won ten out of their last fifteen games. The two programs have met eleven times since South Carolina left the ACC in 1971, with the Gamecocks holding a 6-5 lead in those games. Their most recent meeting was a 21-15 victory for the Gamecocks in 2007, which is the only time they have met since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992.

Bowl games

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA Head Coach
January 1, 1946 Gator L Wake Forest 14 26 McMillan
December 30, 1969 Peach L West Virginia 3 14 Dietzel
December 20, 1975 Tangerine L Miami (OH) 7 20 Carlen
December 20, 1979 Hall of Fame Classic L Missouri 14 24 Carlen
December 29, 1980 Gator L Pittsburgh 9 37 Carlen
December 28, 1984 Gator L Oklahoma State 14 21 Morrison
December 31, 1987 Gator L LSU 13 31 Morrison
December 28, 1988 Liberty L Indiana 10 34 Morrison
January 2, 1995 Carquest W West Virginia 24 21 Scott
January 1, 2001 Outback W Ohio State 24 7 Holtz
January 1, 2002 Outback W Ohio State 31 28 Holtz
December 30, 2005 Independence L Missouri 31 38 Spurrier
December 29, 2006 Liberty W Houston 44 36 Spurrier
January 1, 2009 Outback L Iowa 10 31 Spurrier
January 2, 2010 L Connecticut 7 20 Spurrier
Total 15 Bowl Games 4-11 255 388

1969 ACC Championship

In 1969, the Gamecocks won the ACC Championship by going undefeated in conference play. In its six ACC matchups, South Carolina outscored its opponents by a 130-61 margin. The squad posted a 7-4 overall record with a Peach Bowl appearance against West Virginia to close the season (14-3 loss). Two years later would leave the ACC to compete for two decades as an independent before joining the SEC in 1992.

College Football Hall of Famers

Inductee Position(s) Class Year(s)
George Rogers Running back 1997 1977–1980
Lou Holtz Head coach 2008 1999–2004

Heisman Trophy

George Rogers

In 1980, the stage was set when the Gamecocks returned plenty of talent, which was headlined by senior running back and Heisman candidate George Rogers. While South Carolina's 8-3 record was good, Rogers' final season was better. His 1,781 yards was the best in the nation, and the Downtown Athletic Club named Rogers as the winner of the 1980 Heisman Trophy. Rogers beat out an impressive group of players, including Pittsburgh defensive lineman Hugh Green and Georgia running back Herschel Walker. Rogers also earned spots on eight All-America teams, all First Team honors.

Retired jerseys

Retired jerseys[3]
No. Player Years
37 Steve Wadiak 1948-1951
56 Mike Johnson 1964
38 George Rogers 1977-1980
2 Sterling Sharpe 1983, 85-87

Gamecocks in the NFL


  1. ^ Hollis, Daniel Walker (1956), University of South Carolina, II, University of South Carolina Press, pp. 189–190  
  2. ^ Hollis, Daniel Walker (1956), University of South Carolina, II, University of South Carolina Press, pp. 229–230  
  3. ^ "Carolina History".  

External links

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