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The South Carolina Gamecocks football team represents the University of South Carolinamarker in NCAA Division I college football. The Gamecocks have competed in the Southeastern Conference since joining with Arkansas in 1992. South Carolina won the 1969 Atlantic Coast Conference championship, produced 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, and has been led by two National Coach of the Year's (Joe Morrison and Lou Holtz). The Gamecocks have made 14 bowl appearances, including four Gator Bowl and three Outback Bowl berths. Steve Spurrier is the current head coach, and the team plays its home games at Williams-Brice Stadiummarker.


Carolina fielded its first football team in 1892 to play against Furmanmarker on Christmas Eve in Charlestonmarker. 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.

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 Clemsonmarker 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 Trusteesmarker 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.

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 ACC campaign in 1933. Under coach Rex Enright, the Gamecocks produced another undefeated ACC season, going 4-0-1 in 1941, and made their first postseason appearance in the 1946 Gator Bowl. 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 produced a 28-21-1 overall record in his 5-year tenure. The Giese era included two 7-3 campaigns (1956 and 1958) and an 18-15-1 record in ACC play.

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, the program left the ACC and became an Independent. Jim Carlen took over as coach in 1975, and under his leadership the program would achieve 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 in his seven-year tenure. Carlen's tenure included consecutive 8-4 records in 1979 and 1980. Joe Morrison was hired in 1983 and quickly led the Gamecocks to a 10-2 record, #11 AP Poll ranking, and a Gator Bowl appearance in 1984. Morrison produced two more 8-win seasons, with bowl appearances, before he passed away in 1989. He 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). 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 SEC Coach of the Year for the 2005 season. The 2006 season saw continued success under Spurrier, as the Gamecocks posted an 8-5 record and a Liberty Bowl victory over Houston. 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's leadership, a first for the USC program.

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

Primary Rivalries


The in-state contest with the Tigers is the largest sporting event in the state of South Carolina. The Tigers hold 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, all Carolina-Clemson games were played in Columbia. Since 1960, the game has alternated between both teams' home stadiums.


South Carolina's "border rivalry" with Georgia dates back to 1894, as the teams have met 62 times on the field. While the Bulldogs hold a 46-14-2 lead in the series, the games are often hotly contested and decided by just a few points. 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.

Secondary Rivalries


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 Gamecocks rivalry with Arkansas is a friendly one due to geography, but its annual contests are often crucial in terms of postseason aspirations. Arkansas holds an 11-7 lead in the series.


Prior to the Gamecocks’ entrance into the SEC, they had met Kentucky just three times on the football field. As a member of the SEC’s Eastern division, however, South Carolina has played the Wildcats every season since 1992. The Gamecocks own a 14-6-1 series lead and have won 10 straight games dating back to 2000. Despite South Carolina’s recent dominance, the matchup has been highlighted by numerous close games throughout the years. This is evidenced by seven of the 10 meetings from 2000-2009 being decided by a touchdown or less. In addition, South Carolina and Kentucky consistently compete for postseason bids within the SEC’s bowl allotment.

NC State

South Carolina does not play NC State on a yearly basis since leaving the ACC, but the two programs meet occasionally to renew their rivalry. The hotly contested series dates back to 1900, with the Gamecocks holding a slight 27-26-4 edge. The 1980's marked the most heated period of the rivalry. The teams met every year that decade, with six of the games being decided by 10 points or less. The most recent meeting was South Carolina's 7-3 victory in 2009.

North Carolina

The Gamecocks' "border rivalry" with its old ACC foe North Carolina dates back to 1903. The rivalry is a very heated one, despite the fact that the teams do not play on a yearly basis. The Tar Heels hold a 34-17-4 lead in the series, but South Carolina has posted a 10-5 mark since 1967. The most recent meeting saw the Gamecocks defeat North Carolina 21-15 in 2007.

Bowl Games

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
January 1, 1946 Gator L Wake Forest 14 26
December 30, 1969 Peach L West Virginia 3 14
December 20, 1975 Tangerine L Miami 7 20
December 20, 1979 Hall of Fame Classic L Missouri 14 24
December 29, 1980 Gator L Pittsburgh 9 37
December 28, 1984 Gator L Oklahoma State 14 21
December 31, 1987 Gator L LSU 13 31
December 28, 1988 Liberty L Indiana 10 34
January 2, 1995 Carquest W West Virginia 24 21
January 1, 2001 Outback W Ohio State 24 7
January 1, 2002 Outback W Ohio State 31 28
December 30, 2005 Independence L Missouri 31 38
December 29, 2006 Liberty W Houston 44 36
January 1, 2009 Outback L Iowa 10 31
Total 14 Bowl Games 4-10 248 367

Head coaches

Year-by-year results

Notable players

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

Gamecocks in the NFL

Retired jerseys

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

Notes and references

External links

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