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The University of South Carolinamarker'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 the Southeastern Conference. Men's soccer competes in Conference USA because the SEC does not sponsor men's soccer.

The official school colors are garnet and black. However, some officially licensed merchandise also contain gold, which represents the spurs historically worn by gamecocks in cockfights. 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. There was no definite act of adoption of the colors, but an unsuccessful attempt was made shortly after 1900 to change the colors.

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.

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. 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."

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 Carolinamarker 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, adding the University of Arkansasmarker to its Western Division and the University of South Carolina to its 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.


Carolina's foremost rival is Clemson Universitymarker. The two institutions are separated by just over 125 miles 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 being played in 1896 (four years after South Carolina's inaugural season), and having been 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.

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

UNCmarker and the University of Southern Californiamarker use nicknames that are also used by the University of South Carolinamarker. For example, UNC is sometimes called "Carolina" while Southern California is sometimes called "USC". Sharing nicknames with these schools is an untapped source of rivalry and a rarely exploited opportunity to market competitions with each other.

On the other hand, Carolina continues to develop rivalries with other members of the SEC's Eastern Division, which many regard as the most competitive in all of college sports. The "Halloween Game" pitting the Gamecocks against the University of Tennesseemarker has the potential to be a big football game every year, and of course a rivalry is brewing with the University of Floridamarker since the Gamecocks hired Steve Spurrier, Florida's former head football coach. However, Carolina's main SEC rival has been the University of Georgiamarker due to its proximity and the many years of competition before the Gamecocks joined the SEC.


The Gamecocks have won six national team championships: 2002 NCAA championship in women's track & field, 2005 & 2007 National Championship in women's equestrian, and 2005-2007 Hunt Seat National Championships in women's equestrian. 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: 2005 NCAA runner-up in women's track & field; NCAA runner-up three times in baseball (2002, 1977, 1975); 1993 NCAA runner-up in men's soccer; and 2005 & 2006 NIT championships in men's basketball.
Sport Coach (since) Facility Titles
Baseball Ray Tanner (1997) Carolina Stadiummarker SEC East Champions: 4 (2003, 2002, 2000, 1999)

SEC Championship: 2 (2002,2000)

SEC Tournament Championship: 1 (2004)

NCAA Tournament: 25 appearances

College World Series: 8 appearances

NCAA Runner-Up: 3 (2002, 1977, 1975)
Basketball Men's Darrin Horn (2008) Colonial Life Arenamarker 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 Arenamarker NWIT Tournament: 1 (1979)

Metro Conference Regular Season: 5 (1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1986)

Metro Conference Tournament: 3 (1989, 1988, 1986)

NCAA Tournament: 8 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)
Football Steve Spurrier (2004) Williams-Brice Stadiummarker ACC Championship: 1 (1969)

Bowl Record: 4W-9L

Bowl Appearances: 13
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
Soccer Men's Mark Berson (1978) Stone Stadium marker Metro Conference: 1 (1993)

Conference USA Tournament: 1 (2005)

NCAA Tournament: 17 appearances

NCAA Runner-Up: 1 (1993)
Women's Shelley Smith (2001) Stone Stadium marker NCAA Tournament: 4 appearances

SEC Tournament Championship: 1 (2009)
Softball Joyce Compton (1987) 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 Kent DeMars (1984) Sam Daniel Tennis Center ACC Regular Season: 1 (1968)

ACC Tournament: 1 (1968)

Metro Tournament: 6 (1991, 90, 89, 87, 86, 85)

NCAA Tournament: 19 appearances
Women's Arlo Elkins (1984) Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center 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: 12 appearances (indoor), 12 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: 11 appearances (indoor), 12 appearances (outdoor)

NCAA Championship: 1 (2002)

NCAA Runner-Up: 1 (2005)

NCAA Individual Champions: Many

Olympic Medalists: Many

World Championship Medalists: Many
Volleyball Ben Somera (2007) Volleyball Competition Facility Metro Conference: 1 (1984)

NCAA Tournament: 7 appearances

See also


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