Puneet Varma (Editor)

South Carolina Gamecocks

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NCAA  Division I/FBS
Varsity teams  19
Athletic director  Ray Tanner

University  University of South Carolina
Conference  Southeastern Conference
Location  Columbia, South Carolina

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 known as the Fighting Gamecocks and the women's teams were previously known as 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. 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 confusion with the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Southern California Trojans. Sports networks often use the abbreviation "SCAR" during their coverage of Gamecocks sports; however, some, such as ESPN or Yahoo! Sports, use "SC".

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.

The university's athletic programs have earned nine national team titles and produced many Olympians. Tim Brando (formerly of CBS Sports) was quoted as saying, "You won't find any more loyal fans in the country than those who follow the South Carolina Gamecocks."

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.

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. 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).


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



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. 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 seven 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.

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.


Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina rugby team is the oldest club sport at the school. 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. The team improved and finished first in the SCRC conference in 2014, again qualifying for the national playoffs.

South Carolina rugby offers scholarships to certain athletes of up to $60,000 over a four-year period. The rugby team is supported by the Carolina Rugby Foundation and by the Carolina Men's Rugby Endowment Fund. 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.

Gamecocks in the Olympics


  • Adam Everett (2000, United States, Shortstop, Gold Medal)
  • Men's Basketball

  • Kevin Joyce (1972, United States, Guard, Silver Medal)
  • Marijonas Petravicius (2008, Lithuanian, Center)
  • Women's Basketball

  • Ilona Burgrova (2012, Czech Republic, Center)
  • Shannon Johnson (2004, United States, Point Guard, Gold Medal)
  • Iva Sliskovic (2012, Croatia)
  • 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)
  • Akaram Mahmoud (2016, Egypt, Freestyle)
  • Women's Swimming & Diving

  • Vivian Alberty (1996, Puerto Rico, Diving)
  • 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 Meter Springboard)
  • Heather Roffey (2004, Cayman Islands, Freestyle & Butterfly)
  • Julia Vincent (2016, South Africa, 3 Meter Springboard)
  • Men's Track & Field

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

  • Aliyah Abrams (2016, Guyana, 400 Meters)
  • Aleen Bailey (2004 & 2008, Jamaica, 4 × 100 Meter Relay, 2004 Gold Medal)
  • Miki Barber (2000, United States, 4 × 400 Meter Relay)
  • Kierre Beckles (2016, Barbados, 100 Meter Hurdles)
  • Lashinda Demus (2004 & 2012, United States, 400 Meter Hurdles, 2012 Silver Medal)
  • Dawn Ellerbe (2000, United States, Hammer Throw)
  • Michelle Fournier (2000 & 2004, Canada, Hammer Throw)
  • Chelsea Hammond (2008, Jamaica, Long Jump)
  • Natasha Hastings (2008, 2012, & 2016, United States, 4 × 400 Meter Relay, 2008 Gold Medal)
  • Charmaine Howell (2000, Jamaica, 4 × 400 Meter Relay, Silver Medal)
  • Mechelle Lewis (2008, United States, 4 × 100 Meter Relay)
  • Lisa Misipeka (1996, 2000, & 2004, American Samoa, Hammer Throw & Shot Put)
  • Jeannelle Scheper (2016, St. Lucia, High Jump)
  • Shevon Stoddart (2004 & 2008, Jamaica, 400 Meter Hurdles)
  • Tiffany Williams (2008, United States, 400 Meter Hurdles)
  • Tonique Williams-Darling (2000 & 2004, The Bahamas, 400 Meters, 2004 Gold Medal)
  • NCAA team championships

    South Carolina has won 3 NCAA team national championships.

  • Men's (2)
  • Baseball (2): 2010, 2011
  • Women's (1)
  • Outdoor Track and Field (1): 2002
  • see also
  • SEC NCAA team championships
  • List of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships
  • Other national team championships

    Below are the 6 National team titles that are not recognized by the NCAA:

  • Women’s
  • Equestrian (6): NCEA Hunt Seat National Champions: 3 (2007, 2006, 2005)
    NCEA National Champions: 3 (2015, 2007, 2005)
  • Rivalries

    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. 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.


    South Carolina Gamecocks Wikipedia

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