South Carolina Gamecocks

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South Carolina Gamecocks
University University of South Carolina
Conference Southeastern Conference
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 varsity sports teams are known as the "Gamecocks". This unique moniker is held in honor of Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina who was nicknamed the "Carolina Gamecock" after British General Banastre Tarleton said Sumter "fought like a gamecock." While the men's teams were traditionally the Fighting Gamecocks and the women were previously the Lady Gamecocks, this distinction was discontinued in part to eliminate any gender bias in the athletic department and in part to counter misconceptions about the gamecock mascot endorsing bloodsport.

All of the University's varsity teams compete at the Division I level of the NCAA, and all but men's soccer and women's beach volleyball compete in the Southeastern Conference.[2] Men's soccer competes in Conference USA and women's beach volleyball competes in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association because the SEC does not sponsor those sports.

South Carolina usually calls itself "Carolina," "USC," or "SC" in athletics, causing some conflict 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.

The athletic 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 athletic programs from privately raised funds.[3]

The University's athletic programs have earned nine national team titles and produced many Olympians. Tim Brando of CBS Sports said, "You won't find any more loyal fans in the country than those who follow the South Carolina Gamecocks."[4]

Nickname and colors

"Garnet and black" have been used by the University of South Carolina as its colors ever since the family of Dr. J. William Flinn presented a banner composed of those colors to the football team in November 1895, although there was no official adoption of the colors at that time. In 1900, the football team was first referred to as the "Gamecocks" by The State newspaper. The nickname was a reference to the fighting tactics of General Thomas Sumter, the Revolutionary War hero known as the Carolina Gamecock. Given that garnet and black were already in use and also the dominant colors on a gamecock, the University gradually adopted "Gamecocks" and "garnet and black" as the official nickname and colors for its athletic teams.[5]

Conference history

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.[6] 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 East 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. Women's beach volleyball competed as an independent before joining the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association for the 2016 season (2015–16 school year).[2][7]


South Carolina sponsors team in 9 men's and 12 women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[8]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article
Baseball Gamecocks baseball Basketball Gamecocks women's basketball
Basketball Gamecocks men's basketball Beach volleyball [v 1]
Football Gamecocks football Cross Country
Golf Gamecocks men's golf Equestrian
Soccer [v 2] Gamecocks men's soccer Golf
Swimming & Diving Soccer Gamecocks women's soccer
Tennis Gamecocks men's tennis Softball Gamecocks softball
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Gamecocks men's track and field Swimming & Diving
Tennis Gamecocks women's tennis
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Gamecocks women's track and field
Volleyball Gamecocks volleyball
  1. The beach volleyball team competes as a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
  2. The men's soccer team competes as an affiliate member of Conference USA.

Notable varsity teams†


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. Shawn Elliott was the Gamecocks interim head coach, having been with the Gamecocks staff since January 3, 2010. He was promoted to interim head coach on October 13, 2015, following the resignation of the "head ball coach" Steve Spurrier. On December 6, 2015, Will Muschamp was named the Head Coach. 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

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

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.[9]

Women's track and field

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, Natasha Hastings, and Tonique Williams-Darling.

ordered by revenue contribution to USC Athletic Department in FY2012.[10]

Notable non-varsity sports


Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina rugby team is the oldest club sport at the school.[11] 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]

South Carolina rugby offers scholarships to certain athletes of up to $54,000 over a four-year period.[13] The rugby team is supported by the Carolina Rugby Foundation and by the Carolina Men's Rugby Endowment Fund.[14] The rugby team has been led since 2011 by head coach Mark Morris.

Titles, coaches, and facilities

The Gamecocks have won nine national team championships: 2010 & 2011 National Championships in baseball; 2005, 2007, and 2015 National Championships in women's equestrian; 2005-2007 Hunt Seat National Championships in women's equestrian; and 2002 NCAA Championship in women's outdoor 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 baseball and basketball teams have also produced Olympic medalists. Other significant accomplishments include 2010 SEC Eastern Division Champions in football, NCAA runner-up four times in women's track & field (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005), NCAA runner-up four times in baseball (1975, 1977, 2002, 2012), 1993 NCAA runner-up in men's soccer, 2005 & 2006 NIT champions in men's basketball, and the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers.

Sport Titles[2] Coach (since) Facility
Baseball SEC East Champions: 6 (2012, 2011, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999)
SEC Champions: 3 (2011, 2002, 2000)
SEC Tournament Champions: 1 (2004)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 30
College World Series: 11
NCAA Runner-Up: 4 (2012, 2002, 1977, 1975)
NCAA Champions: 2 (2011, 2010)
Olympic Medalists: 1 (2000)
Chad Holbrook (2013) Carolina Stadium
Basketball Men's Southern Conference Champions: 4 (1945, 1934, 1933, 1927)
Southern Conference Tournament Champions: 1 (1933)
ACC Tournament Runner-Up: 2 (1970, 1957)
ACC Tournament Champions: 1 (1971)
SEC East Champions: 2 (2009, 1997)
SEC Champions: 1 (1997)
SEC Tournament Runner-Up: 2 (2006, 1998)
NIT Champions: 2 (2006, 2005)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 8
Olympic Medalists: 1 (1972)
Frank Martin (2012) Colonial Life Arena
Women's NWIT Champions: 1 (1979)
Metro Conference Champions: 5 (1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1986)
Metro Conference Tournament Champions: 3 (1989, 1988, 1986)
SEC Champions: 2 (2015, 2014)
SEC Tournament Champions: 1 (2015)
AIAW Tournament Appearances: 2
AIAW Final Four: 1 (1980, 3rd place)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 12
NCAA Final Four: 1 (2015)
Olympic Medalists: 1 (2004)
Dawn Staley (2008) Colonial Life Arena
Women's Cross Country Metro Conference Champions: 3 (1990, 1989, 1988) Stan Rosenthal (2001)
Women's Equestrian SEC Champions: 2 (2014, 2013)
NCEA Hunt Seat National Champions: 3 (2007, 2006, 2005)
NCEA National Champions: 3 (2015, 2007, 2005)
Boo Duncan (1998) One Wood Farm
Football Southern Conference Champions: 1 (1933)
ACC Champions: 1 (1969)
SEC East Champions: 1 (2010)
Bowl Appearances: 20 (8-12 record)
Heisman Trophies: 1 (1980 - George Rogers)
Will Muschamp (2015) Williams-Brice Stadium
Golf Men's ACC Runner-Up: 1 (1968)
ACC Champions: 1 (1964)
Metro Conference Individual Champions: 2 (1991, 1990)
Metro Conference Runner-Up: 5 (1990, 1989, 1988, 1986, 1984)
Metro Conference Champions: 1 (1991)
SEC Individual Champions: 2 (2015, 1998)
SEC Runner-Up: 4 (2015, 2013, 2008, 1998)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 26
NCAA Regional Individual Champions: 2 (2001 West, 1999 East)
NCAA Regional Champions: 1 (2007 West)
Bill McDonald (2007) Cobblestone Park
Women's Metro Conference Individual Champions: 1 (1989)
Metro Conference Champions: 1 (1990)
SEC Individual Champions: 2 (2002, 2001)
SEC Runner-Up: 1 (2015)
SEC Champions: 1 (2002)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 23
NCAA Regional Individual Champions: 3 (2010 East, 2008 East, 1995 East)
NCAA Regional Champions: 3 (2015 East, 2012 East, 2010 East)
Kalen Anderson (2007) Cobblestone Park
Soccer Men's Metro Conference Champions: 1 (1993)
Conference USA Champions: 1 (2011)
Conference USA Tournament Champions: 2 (2010, 2005)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 20
NCAA Runner-Up: 1 (1993)
Mark Berson (1978) Stone Stadium (The Graveyard)
Women's SEC Champions: 1 (2011)
SEC Tournament Champions: 1 (2009)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 8
Shelley Smith (2001) Stone Stadium (The Graveyard)
Women's Beach Volleyball Moritz Moritz (2014) Carolina Beach Volleyball Complex
Softball SEC East Champions: 4 (2002, 2001, 1999, 1997)
SEC Champions: 1 (1997)
SEC Tournament Champions: 2 (2000, 1997)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 18
Beverly Smith (2010) Beckham Field
Swimming & Diving Men's ACC Individual Champions: 8
Metro Conference Champions: 8 (1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984)
Metro Conference Individual Champions: 8
SEC Individual Champions: 5
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 30
McGee Moody (2007) The Carolina Natatorium
Women's Metro Conference Champions: 6 (1990, 1989, 1988, 1986, 1985, 1984)
Metro Conference Individual Champions: 4
SEC Individual Champions: 12
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 30
NCAA Individual Champions: 1 (2004 - Allison Brennan)
McGee Moody (2007) The Carolina Natatorium
Tennis Men's ACC Champions: 1 (1968)
ACC Tournament Champions: 1 (1968)
Metro Conference Individual Champions: 3
Metro Conference Tournament Champions: 6 (1991, 1990, 1989, 1987, 1986, 1985)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 22
Josh Goffi (2010) Carolina Tennis Stadium
Women's Metro Conference Tournament Champions: 5 (1990, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 24
Kevin Epley (2012) Carolina Tennis Stadium
Track and Field Men's ACC Individual Champions: 16 (indoor), 33 (outdoor)
Metro Conference Individual Champions: 32 (outdoor)
SEC Individual Champions: 23 (indoor), 26 (outdoor)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 20 (indoor), 25 (outdoor)
NCAA Individual Champions: 8 (indoor), 10 (outdoor)
Olympic Medalists: 5
Curtis Frye (1996) Weems Baskin Track Facility
Women's Metro Conference Individual Champions: 5 (outdoor)
SEC Individual Champions: 22 (indoor), 46 (outdoor)
SEC Outdoor Champions: 3 (2005, 2002, 1999)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 19 (indoor), 20 (outdoor)
NCAA Individual Champions: 14 (indoor), 14 (outdoor)
NCAA Indoor Runner-Up: 3 (2003, 2001, 2000)
NCAA Outdoor Runner-Up: 1 (2005)
NCAA Outdoor Champions: 1 (2002)
Olympic Medalists: 5
Curtis Frye (1996) Weems Baskin Track Facility
Women's Volleyball Metro Conference Tournament Champions: 1 (1984)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 7
Scott Swanson (2011) Volleyball Competition Facility

Gamecocks in the Olympics


Men's Basketball

Women's Basketball

Men's Swimming & Diving

  • Alex Alexander (1964, Australia, Individual Medley)
  • Jean-Marie Arnould (1988, Belgium, Freestyle)
  • István Batházi (1996, 2000, & 2004; Hungary; Individual Medley)
  • Tamas Batházi (2004, Hungary)
  • Gary Binfield (1988, Great Britain)
  • Javier Botello (2000, Spain)
  • Zsolt Gaspar (2000 & 2004, Hungary, Butterfly)
  • Rik Leishman (1992, Great Britain, Butterfly)
  • Tamás Szűcs (2004, Hungary, Freestyle)

Women's Swimming & Diving

  • Vivian Alberty (1996, Puerto Rico)
  • Isabelle Arnould (1988, Belgium, Freestyle)
  • Shelly Cramer (1976 & 1980, Virgin Islands)
  • Michelle Davison (2000, United States, Diving)
  • Sharntelle McLean (2004 & 2008, Trinidad and Tobago, Freestyle)
  • Anna Nyiry (1996, Hungary)
  • Tracey Richardson (2004, Great Britain, 3 Metres Springboard)
  • Heather Roffey (2004, Cayman Islands, Freestyle & Butterfly)

Men's Track & Field

  • Leroy Dixon (2008, United States, 4 × 100 Metres Relay)
  • Adrian Durant (2004; Virgin Islands; 100 Metres, 200 Metres, & 4 × 100 Metres Relay)
  • Otis Harris (2004, United States; 400 Metres, Silver Medal; 4 × 400 Metres Relay, Gold Medal)
  • Rodney Martin (2008, United States, 4 × 100 Metres Relay)
  • Jason Richardson (2012, United States, 110 Metres Hurdles, Silver Medal)
  • Brad Snyder (1996, 2000, & 2004; Canada; Shot Put)
  • Terrence Trammell (2000, 2004, & 2008; United States; 110 Metres Hurdles; 2000 & 2004 Silver Medals)
  • Marvin Watts (2000, Jamaica, 800 Metres)

Women's Track & Field


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.[15] 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.


  1. South Carolina competes in the Southeastern Conference for all sports except men's soccer and women's beach volleyball.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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. Green, Edwin Luther (1916). History of the University of South Carolina. The State Company. p. 460. 
  6. The Off-court Uproar In Dixie
  7. "CCSA Rebrands With Beach Volleyball Expansion" (Press release). Coastal Collegiate Sports Association. October 20, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  8. "South Carolina Gamecocks". CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  10. Gamecock Athletics Mean Big Business
  11. 11.0 11.1 Carolina Rugby Foundation
  12. About Carolina Rugby
  13. "Rugby Scholarship Endowed at South Carolina", Goff Rugby Report, May 6, 2015.
  14. Carolina Endowment
  15. NCAA football records, p. 111.

External links