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SPURS UP!
E-MAIL ANDY
Andy Morris is a Marketing Assistant for South Carolina Athletics. Send your comments and they may be posted on Spurs up! E-mail your opinions, questions or rants to Andy at amorris@sc.edu.

On Tap @ Carolina - April 28, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Friday

The baseball team opens up a weekend series against Florida at 7 p.m. at Sarge Frye Field. The AgSouth Male and Female Athletes of the Year will be recognized pre-game.

Saturday

The softball team begins its final home weekend series of the season, hosting LSU in a double header which begins at 1 p.m.

The baseball team plays Florida at 4 p.m.

Sunday

The softball team plays LSU at 1 p.m. and the baseball team closes out its series with Florida at 1:30 p.m.

Congratulations to former Gamecock football player Cory Boyd for being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008 NFL Draft!


On Tap @ Carolina - April 14, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

The baseball team welcomes USC-Upstate to Sarge Frye Field at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks swept Auburn over the weekend to improve to 9-6 in the SEC and 26-10 overall.

Friday

The Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center Groundbreaking at the Roost will be held at 4 p.m. followed by the baseball team opening its weekend series with Ole Miss at 6 p.m.

Saturday

Gates open at Williams-Brice Stadium for the Annual Garnet & Black Spring Game. Come watch the Gamecocks in their final scrimmage of 2008 spring practice. Kick-off is at 1 p.m. Admission is free!

The baseball team plays Ole Miss at 4 p.m.

Sunday

The baseball team closes out its series with Ole Miss at noon.

Visit GamecocksOnline.com for tickets and more information about all these events. Go Gamecocks!


On Tap @ Carolina - March 17, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The baseball team welcomes USC-Upstate to Sarge Frye Field at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks dropped two out of three to Vanderbilt last weekend to open conference play.

The softball team hosts SEC opponent Tennessee in a doubleheader at Beckham Field that begins at 3 p.m. South Carolina lost three games to Georgia this past weekend.

Friday

The women's tennis team hosts Mississippi State at 2 p.m.

The baseball team begins a weekend series against Mississippi State at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs earned a trip to the College World Series last season.

Saturday

The baseball team plays Mississippi State at 4 p.m. The first 1,000 fans into the Sarge will receive a South Carolina Baseball Keychain.

Sunday

The men's tennis team hosts Mississippi at noon.

The baseball team closes out its series with Mississippi State at 1:30 p.m.

I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta last weekend for the SEC Men's Basketball tournament at the Georgia Dome. I was able to watch the Gamecocks knock off LSU before falling to Tennessee. It was a great game, but we just didn't have enough to finish off the Vols. Fortunately, I was able to get out of Atlanta before the tornado hit the dome.

Attending the tournament was an interesting experience because fans from every school in the conference are all in one place. I spoke with a nice couple who were Arkansas fans when I went to dinner about their experiences attending the tournament and the hopes of each of our teams. I was amazed at the number of Kentucky fans in attendance. Unfortunately for them, they didn't even get to see their team play as the tornado forced the tournament behind closed doors. On that note, congrats to Georgia for an amazing run through the tournament. Tournament time really is March Madness. - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - March 10, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Monday

The baseball team hosts Presbyterian at Sarge Frye Field at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks swept visiting Duquesne this weekend, outscoring the Dukes 35-8. Tonight's game is a make-up of the Gardner-Webb game which was rained out last Tuesday.

Tuesday

The baseball team hosts Yale at Sarge Frye Field at 7 p.m.

Wednesday

The baseball team will play the second game of the 2-game set with Yale tonight at 7 p.m..

Thursday

The men's basketball team opens play at the SEC Tournament against LSU at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

For those of you who haven't already, it's time to get on-board with Gridiron Bash. The Black Crowes are coming to Williams-Brice Stadium on April 18th and it should be a really great show.

South Carolina is competing with a number of major Division I schools to win $1 million. The school with the most people attending their concert the night before their spring football game will win the prize. Right now, we're in 11th place and that really needs to improve. You can go to gridironbash.com, GamecocksOnline.com, or call 1.866.4SC.TIXX to buy the ticket. After you buy your ticket, go back to gridironbash.com and starting voting online for the Gamecocks! Until next time, I'll leave you with an awesome Black Crowes song:


On Tap @ Carolina - March 3, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

The baseball team hosts Gardner-Webb at Sarge Frye Field at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks put in a strong weekend, defeating rival Clemson 10-1 at home on Saturday and then 5-1 at Clemson on Sunday.

Wednesday

The baseball team welcomes last year's Columbia Regional participant UNC-Charlotte back to Sarge Frye Field at 4 pm. The basketball team closes out its home schedule with Senior Night against the Kentucky Wildcats at 7 pm at the Colonial Center.

Friday

The men's tennis team hosts SEC opponent Georgia at 2 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center. The baseball team begins a weekend series against Duquesne at 7 pm.

Saturday

The softball team plays their first SEC games of the season with a doubleheader against Arkansas at Beckham Field. The first game is at 1 p.m. and the second game begins at 3 p.m. The Gamecocks played superb over the weekend, winning four straight games to win the Carolina Classic tournament. South Carolina allowed only one run in the tournament. The baseball team plays Duquesne at 4 pm.

Sunday

The softball team closes out the series against Arkansas with a game at 1 p.m. The baseball team will play Duquesne at 1 p.m. The men's tennis team hosts SEC opponent Tennessee at 1 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center.


On Tap @ Carolina - February 18, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Thursday

The women's basketball team hosts Mississippi State at the Colonial Center at 7 p.m.

Friday

The women's tennis team faces N.C. State at 2 p.m. at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center while the men's tennis team hosts Elon at 2 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center. The baseball team opens up the 2008 campaign with a home series against East Carolina. First pitch is at 3 p.m. at Sarge Frye Field.

Saturday

The celebration of 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball culminates today with over 150 former lettermen returning to Columbia for the weekend's events. The alumni game, which will be held at the Colonial Center, begins at 1:30 p.m. Fans must have a ticket to the Mississippi State game to attend the alumni game.

At 4 p.m., the men's basketball team hosts Miss. State at the Colonial Center. All former lettermen will be recognized on the court at halftime and the All-Decade and All-Century teams will be announced. You won't want to miss out on these special events. Only a few tickets remain for the game, so be sure to log onto GamecocksOnline.com or call the South Carolina Ticket Office at 800-4SC-FANS to purchase your tickets.

In addition to the basketball festivities, the women's tennis team will host Clemson at 1 p.m. The baseball team plays East Carolina at 1:30 p.m. The track team will host the Gamecock Invitational all day at the Weems Baskin Track Facility.

It'll be a busy weekend for South Carolina Athletics. Make sure you get to these events to support the Gamecocks.

Last Saturday, one of the greatest to ever wear a South Carolina basketball uniform returned to Columbia to be honored at halftime of the Alabama game. John Roche, who played for Frank McGuire during the glory years of Gamecock Basketball, was a three-time All-American and two-time MVP of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Roche received a strong ovation at halftime and signed autographs for nearly the entire second half.

Our dance team, The Carolina Girls, also signed autographs at halftime and were quite popular.

Added with the thrilling last-second win over Alabama and it was a pretty good night at the Colonial Center. - AM


UNVEILING HISTORY - February 11, 2008

If there was any complaints about the Colonial Center before this season, it was the fact that the history of Carolina basketball was absent from the building. However, with many of the changes made this year, the program's history is finally proudly on display.

On Saturday before the Gamecocks took on Vanderbilt, a brand-new trophy case was unveiled on the main plaza of the Colonial Center.

Sheila Foster, former women's basketball player, said the trophy case "brings back a lot of memories."

"It's fantastic, she said. "I'm just very happy and honored that South Carolina wanted me to come back to be a part of this."

Former Gamecock men's basketball players Ronnie Collins and Dennis Powell were also on hand for the brief ceremony. "It's outstanding because it creates continuity with the past to the present," said Powell. "It gives fans the opportunity to look at the history of the program.

"I think it's wonderful and that it's great that the athletic department made this a priority," Collins said. "Fans, as well as former players, love to see this type of stuff. It's also great for recruiting to be able to tell players that they can be a part of this history."

The trophy case also includes a flat screen television which will play Gamecock basketball highlights during home games. I encourage every fan to stop by and look at the rich history of South Carolina Basketball. -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - February 11, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The softball team plays their first home game of the 2008 season at Beckham Field at 4 p.m. versus Western Carolina.

The women's tennis team hosts Winthrop at 5 p.m. at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center

Saturday

The men's basketball team hosts Alabama at 7 p.m. at the Colonial Center. Gamecock Great John Roche will be honored at halftime and will sign autographs. You won't want to miss this!

Go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - February 4, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The women's tennis team hosts Furman at 5 p.m. at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

Saturday

The equestrian team hosts Auburn at 10 a.m. at One Wood Farm.

The men's basketball team hosts Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. at the Colonial Center.

The men's tennis team hosts UNC-Charlotte at 10 a.m. and Davidson at 2:30 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center

Sunday

The women's basketball team hosts Mississippi at the Colonial Center at 3 p.m.

As always, tickets for Gamecock events can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. - AM


RUPP ROAD TRIP - January 28, 2007

When people talk about the "temples" of college basketball, a few places instantly come to mind: Assembly Hall at Indiana, Cameron Indoor at Duke, the Palestra, and of course, Rupp Arena at Kentucky.

I had the opportunity to travel with the men's basketball team this weekend to see the Gamecocks take on the Wildcats in Rupp Arena. I believe everyone who truly loves sports should keep a list of places to see as a sports fan and a basketball game at Rupp Arena would make many lists.

I often forget just how successful Kentucky basketball has been because they really haven't been part of the conversation concerning national titles recently. However, a quick glance in the rafters at Rupp tell the story. Seven NCAA titles. Thirteen Final Fours. While reading the media guide on Saturday, I came across this astounding statistic. This season marks the 76th season of men's basketball in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky has won 48 SEC titles.

When you pull up to Rupp Arena, it's pretty inconspicuous. You'd barely know it's an historic arena other than the sign on the side of the building stating "Rupp Arena." We got there around 10 a.m., so when we walked into the arena, the main lights weren't on yet. Frankly, it doesn't blow you away. It's a 30-year-old building. It shouldn't blow you away in terms of looks.

However, once they opened the gates and you saw how many people were there early and dressed in blue, you instantly knew why that place is special. It had the feel of a NCAA Tournament game, even though it was simply a mid-season conference match-up. By the time we took our seats and saw the sea of 24,000 blue and white shirts, I was impressed. The student section, a series of risers behind one of the baskets, has no chairs. Students stand the entire game.

Prior to tip-off, the Kentucky football team was recognized on the court with the Music City Bowl trophy. Kentucky also honored Coach Odom before the start of the game, recognizing him for his years in coaching and as a class representative for the conference and the sport of basketball.

As I often do here in this space, I'll skip the game analysis. However, I will say this, for most of the second half, the Gamecocks had Big Blue Nation sitting on their hands and looking a little worried.

Despite the result, it was a great trip and I'm glad I had the opportunity to check off Rupp Arena on my sports fan list. -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - January 28, 2008

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The men's basketball team hosts the Georgia Bulldogs in an SEC match-up at the Colonial Center at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

The equestrian team hosts the New Mexico State at 10 a.m. at One Wood Farm.

The swimming and diving team hosts Alabama and Georgia at Noon at the Carolina Natatorium.

The men's tennis team hosts Charleston Southern at 10 a.m. and Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m.

Sunday

The women's basketball team hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC match-up at the Colonial Center at 3 p.m.

Tickets for all Gamecock events can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com.

It has been a while since my last post but we're back in the swing and I'll have posts coming about my recent trip to Rupp Arena to see the men's basketball team as well as a post about the new football training room. - AM


Four Horsemen and the Kid - December 23, 2007

Saturday was a special day at the Colonial Center as we honored five Gamecock Greats from the same team - Bobby Cremins, Skip Harlicka, Jack Thompson, Gary Gregor and Frank Standard. Teammate Mike Grosso accepted the honor on Frank Standard's behalf. All five players played under Coach Frank McGuire in the late 1960s and were nicknamed the Four Horseman and the Kid.

It was a really unique experience to see these teammates and friends interact with each other even after all these years. It was pretty amazing to see the respect that the fans, young and old, had for these former Gamecocks. As I've mentioned before, the opportunity to impact a fan's experience at a game as well as help a former player feel more connected to his alma mater are some of the joys of working in athletics.

Days like Saturday are one of the reasons why we want the Greats to come back and be honored at games. Fans love to remember the past and having the chance to re-connect with that past is a special opportunity. We've also been able to connect the history of Gamecock Basketball with the Colonial Center with the addition of the Hall of Fame mural and the soon-to-be-installed trophy cases on the main plaza level.

Bob Spear, of The State, wrote a great article about the history behind these men in Friday's newspaper. You can read the article here.

Happy Holidays! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - December 10, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Thursday

The Dave Odom Call-In Show will be Thursday from 7-8 PM at Wild Wing Cafe at the Village at Sandhill.

Remember to bring a teddy bear to toss onto the court at halftime of the South Carolina - Baylor game on December 19th at 7:30 p.m. The bears will go to the Columbia City Police Department's Victim's Assistance Unit to comfort a child in crisis.

Looking for a great holiday gift? Purchase the Holiday Hoopla package which includes:

  • 2 tickets to South Carolina vs. UC-Irvine on December 28th at 7:30 p.m.
  • 2 tickets to South Carolina vs. Tennessee on January 12th at 8 p.m.
  • Vouchers for 2 Drinks, 2 hot dogs, 2 popcorns
  • Limited edition Gamecock drinking glass
You can buy the package for $52. Contact Group Events at 803.576.9078.

Don't forget that just because it's the holidays that there's still plenty of exciting Gamecock events. Log onto GamecocksOnline.com to purchase tickets for our upcoming home games! Go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - December 3, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

The women's basketball team hosts Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks defeated UNC-Wilmington 72-60 over the weekend.

Come check out the Dave Odom Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista.

Friday

The women's basketball team hosts Jackson State at 7 p.m.

Don't forget to visit the 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball homepage and vote for all-decade teams! Go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - November 26, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The men's basketball team hosts Campbell at 7:30 p.m. The men's team opened the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. with a win over Penn State before losing two close games to N.C. State and George Mason.

Thursday

Come check out the Dave Odom Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista.

Saturday

The women's basketball team hosts UNC-Wilmington at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks went 1-1 at the Florida International University Thanksgiving Tournament over the weekend, losing to Illinois but closing with an 82-66 win against FIU.

Go Gamecocks! - AM


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY - November 20, 2007

The Colonial Center celebrated its 5th anniversary today with an unveiling of a Walk of Fame on the plaza outside the arena. The Walk of Fame features the handprint of country artist Kenny Chesney who is the only artist to sell out the Colonial Center five consecutive years.

The Walk of Fame will continue to grow in the future, honoring people and characters who have made a significant contribution in the categories of music and family shows at the Colonial Center.

Here's some interesting facts about the Colonial Center's first five years:

  • 2,252,632 people attending concerts and events (equivalent to the population of Chicago
  • 64,467 gallons of soda sold
  • 33,812 pounds of popcorn sold
  • 85,984 hot dogs sold
  • 13,500 rolls of toilet paper used
  • 21,000 light bulbs used
  • 62 Grammy winners have performed
  • 308.4 miles of floor swept

Here's some photos of today's press conference to unveil the Walk of Fame:

Congratulations to the Colonial Center for five years of success! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - November 19, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

The women's basketball team hosts Penn State at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks will look to improve on their 3-0 start to the season. As part of the Colonial Center's fifth anniversary, all fans will receive $1 admission to the game.

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Saturday

The football team plays its final home game of the season as they take on the arch rival Clemson Tigers at Williams Brice Stadium at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Gamecocks are looking for their first consecutive win against Clemson since the 1960s.

Happy Thanksgiving and go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - November 12, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Monday

The men's basketball team plays The Citadel at 7:30 p.m. The Gamecocks opened up the regular season with a convincing 92-67 win over South Carolina State on Friday night.

Thursday

The women's basketball team hosts ACC opponent Virginia at 7 p.m. The women opened their regular season last Friday night with a 93-33 win against Saint Francis (Pa.).

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

The volleyball begins its final home weekend of the season with a 7 p.m. match against Mississippi State.

Saturday

The women's basketball team is home again on Saturday afternoon as they take on Buffalo at 3 p.m.

The men's basketball team welcomes the "other" USC to Columbia as Southern California faces the Gamecocks at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday

The volleyball team plays its final home match of the season against Alabama at 1 p.m.

Don't forget that tickets can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. Go Gamecocks! - AM


PIG SOOOOIE - November 8, 2007

An SEC West football away opponent meant only one thing: road trip. Caitlyn McAnulty and I decided to make the 14-hour drive (one-way) to Fayetteville to see the Gamecocks take on the Razorbacks.

The trip began on Friday at 8 a.m. 6 a.m. was the intended starting time but I don't deal well with mornings so we had a little bit of a late start. Other than breezing through Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis, the majority of the trip looked like this:

While Caitlyn was driving, I was able to get some work done as well.

We actually stayed in Rogers, which is about 20 minutes away from Fayetteville. After 14 hours of driving and checking into the hotel, sleep was definitely in order.

The next day, we went into Fayetteville and were fortunate enough to tag along with Jeff Crane (our director of marketing) on a tour from Arkansas's Associate Athletic Director for Marketing Matt Shanklin of the Razorback facilities. I must admit, I walked away extremely impressed with the University of Arkansas. Here's a brief look at what we were able to see:

The baseball stadium is probably nicer than two-thirds of every minor league baseball park in the nation. With over 30 luxury suites, the stadium can hold almost 11,000 people.

The Razorbacks have a great basketball facility as well. Even though it is nearly fifteen years old, the arena has a very intimate feel which I'm sure creates a great environment for basketball games. As you can see above, they've got a very unique video board over the court.

The Razorback fans had some great tailgates as well. Nobody gave us any trouble for wearing Gamecock colors. We even joined in some fun and tested out their giant Razorback grill:

The Razorback fans even had street signs at the tailgates to help you navigate the crowds:

But the true jewel, at least in my mind, was their football stadium. I was extremely impressed with the entire facility. Here's some pictures of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium:

I'm not going to get into any discussion of the game because this blog isn't the place for strategic second-guessing. (And plus, I would probably sound like an idiot.) But I will say the overall game experience was fun. I was surprised at how loud the stadium gets considering one entire end zone is open. Retiring Arkansas Athletics Director Frank Broyles was honored at halftime for his contributions to Arkansas. Former television announcer Keith Jackson spoke over the public address system as over 200 of Broyles' former players gathered at midfield with him. The recognition concluded with the naming of the field at the stadium as Frank Broyles Field.

Here's some extra pictures from the game, including a photo of the stadium's massive video board. Before the University of Texas installed their new video board this season, the Razorbacks' screen was the largest in the nation.

Despite the final result, the trip was a lot of fun. I'd definitely recommend checking out the University of Arkansas if you ever get the opportunity. Thanks to Caitlyn for suffering through another road trip with me. -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - November 5, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Monday

The men's basketball team hosts Guilford College in an exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. The event is free for the public.

Tuesday

The women's basketball team hosts the All-Stars in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. The event is free for the public.

Thursday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

Stop by the Gamecock Gear Shop at Williams-Brice Stadium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the "Beat Florida" Rally! The rally will feature food sampling from Coach's Low Country Brands. Every purchase of Low Country Brand's Gamecock Spice will entitle the individual to 10% off in the Gamecock Gear Shop. The South Carolina cheerleaders and band will be on hand at noon.

The men's soccer team plays its final home game of the season when they take on Conference-USA opponent Kentucky at Stone Stadium at 7 p.m.

The men's and women's basketball teams kick off the regular season with a doubleheader on Friday night. The women take on Saint Francis at 5:30 p.m. and the men host South Carolina State at 8 p.m. Gamecock Greats Ronnie Collins and Scotti Ward will be recognized at halftime of the men's game. Great tickets are still available!

Saturday

The football team returns home to Columbia to host the defending national champion Florida Gators. The game will be televised on ESPN. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m.

I'll have a lengthy post up in a few days about my trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the football game this past week. Don't forget that tickets can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. Go Gamecocks! - AM


A GAMECOCK HALLOWEEN - November 1, 2007

Just before the South Carolina vs. Florida volleyball match on Wednesday night, South Carolina Athletics hosted a Halloween Party in the Frank McGuire Room of the Volleyball Competition Facility. It was a huge success as over 200 children came through the door and opened up their trick-or-treat bags for candy. It was a really great event and it is definitely something we hope to do next year. I've posted a few pictures from the party. Happy Halloween! - AM


DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS - October 29, 2007

I don't know how many of you have checked out our Auctions page before, but I really encourage you to visit and bid on exclusive Gamecock items. In the past, we've offered game-used footballs, jerseys and signed items.

But our newest item is one that every Gamecock fan should consider - an exclusive VIP Fan Package for the South Carolina vs. Florida football game on November 10th. The winner of the bidding will receive the following:

  • 4 tickets to the South Carolina vs. Florida game
  • 2 hotel rooms for 2 nights at the Clarion Hotel Downtown in Columbia
  • Parking Pass
  • 4 Gameday Programs
  • Steve Spurrier autographed football
  • Picture on the field with Cocky and the Carolina Cheerleaders
  • Opportunity to watch the "2001" entrance and opening kickoff from field level

This package can only be found on GamecocksOnline.com. The auction is scheduled to end on November 7th at noon. Bid today! -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - October 29, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The women's volleyball team hosts Florida at 7 p.m.

Thursday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

The volleyball team hosts Arkansas on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Saturday

The No. 23 football team travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be televised on ESPN. Kickoff is 8 p.m.

Don't forget that tickets can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. Go Gamecocks! - AM


WEEKEND REMINDER - October 26, 2007

Just a quick reminder for your weekend that the time for the men's soccer game on Saturday has been changed to 5 p.m. from 7 p.m. Come support the Gamecocks before turning your television to ESPN at 7:45 p.m. to watch the football team take on the Volunteers. Go Gamecocks! - AM


CHEERLEADER OF THE WEEK - October 25, 2007

Congratulations are in order for South Carolina Cheerleader Brittany Cannon on being named SI.com's Cheerleader of the Week! Brittany, a sophomore exercise science major from Conway, SC, will be featured prominently on the SI On Campus page of Sports Illustrated's website.

A twenty question Q&A interview with Brittany is included which asks some general questions about her life and interests. The most surprising response came when Brittany was asked a "strange and unusual fact" about herself.

"My family has a history of having more than 10 toes, but I was lucky enough not to inherit it."

Strange and unusual, to say the least. Here's a photo of Brittany from SI's slideshow of her at the South Carolina vs. North Carolina football game:

Check out the interview and photos by clicking the links above. Congratulations again Brittany! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - October 22, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Wednesday

The men's soccer team hosts No. 6 Southern Methodist University at 8 p.m. at Stone Stadium. The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel. As part of Fan Appreciation Night, admission will be only $1 for all fans.

Thursday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

The volleyball team hosts Mississippi on Friday night at 7 p.m. The team swept Auburn 3-0 on Sunday.

The women's tennis hosts the Southern Intercollegiate Championships at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia.

Saturday

The No. 15 football team travels to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The game will be televised on ESPN. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m.

The men's soccer team hosts Marshall at 5 p.m. at Stone Stadium in key Conference-USA match-up.

Tennis action at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center continues.

Sunday

The women's soccer plays their last home game of the season in a 1 p.m. game against SEC opponent Arkansas.

The volleyball team hosts LSU at 1:30 p.m. at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

The Southern Intercollegiate Championships conclude on Sunday at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

Don't forget that tickets can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. Go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - October 15, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Thursday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

The women's soccer team hosts SEC opponent Alabama on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium. The women's team is 10-4-1 and is coming off a 3-1 win over Mississippi on Sunday.

Saturday

The No. 6 football team returns to Columbia to take on Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are 6-1 on the season and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis.

Sunday

The women's soccer team finishes out its weekend homestand with a 2 p.m. match versus Auburn.

Go Gamecocks! - AM


WEEKEND ITEMS - October 12, 2007

The Gamecock Nation is making an impact in the Old North State this weekend. Along with our football team, scores of Gamecock faithful will be making their way to Chapel Hill for the South Carolina - North Carolina battle for the border on Saturday afternoon. And welcoming them to Chapel Hill will be these billboards:

The billboards have been placed on I-77 south of exit 7, north bound and I-85 north bound.

On another note, Darlene Simpson sent me this photo of her husband Staff Sergeant William Simpson of Columbia. He has been stationed in Afghanistan with the South Carolina National Guard's 218th Brigade Combat Team in the 118th Infantry Regiment since April 2007 and will return in April 2008.

Thanks to William and all of our soldiers throughout the world. Next Saturday during halftime of the Vanderbilt game, we will have our salute to the military halftime show. If you plan on attending the game, be sure to stay in your seats at halftime. -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - October 8, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Thursday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Friday

The men's tennis team will host the South Carolina Invitational at the Sam Daniels Tennis Center.

Saturday

The No. 7 football team travels to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on border rival UNC in a 3:30 p.m. match-up. The game will be televised regionally on ABC.

The No. 25 men's soccer team returns to Columbia after winning their fourth straight match on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Florida International. The Gamecocks take on Tulsa at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium in a nationally televised contest.

Action continues at the Sam Daniels Tennis Center for the men's tennis team.

Sunday

The men's tennis team finishes out the South Carolina Invitational at the Sam Daniels Tennis Center.

Go Gamecocks! - AM


KENTUCKY AFTERMATH - October 5, 2007

38-23 - what a great win for our team! Last night was absolutely amazing. Despite the rain, the crowd came ready to get loud. And I have to give a lot of credit to the student section. They came early and they were loud for the entire game. The atmosphere was incredible from field level.

Let's not forget about the actual team. A strong defensive performance by the Gamecocks humbled Heisman hopeful Andre Woodson and propelled us to the victory.

The end result of all that effort and energy: Gamecocks should move into the Top 10. South Carolina is right in the thick of the SEC East race. Spurrier stays perfect against the Wildcats (15-0).

Here's some links to what the media is saying about our win over Kentucky:

All in all, a great night. Enjoy a great weekend of college football! - AM


GAMETIME - October 3, 2007

It's being billed as one of the, if not the biggest game, in recent history for Gamecock football. No. 8 Kentucky comes to town to face the No. 11 Gamecocks broadcast on ESPN on national television. A win would surely push the Gamecocks into the top 10 in the nation and give us an upper hand in capturing the SEC East title.

If you're attending the game, be sure to wear Garnet and get to the game early. (If you're watching at home, you can wear garnet too.) Kickoff is scheduled for 7:46 p.m.

Gamecock Village will not be open due to preparation for the South Carolina State Fair but the Buick Pontiac GMC Gamecock Game Day live at Bojangles will be up and running:

  • B-106 Pre-Game Show starting at 4:30 pm
  • Gamecock Radio Network statewide pre-game broadcast starting at 6:00 pm
  • Title sponsors Buick, Pontiac and GMC will have two cars on display and will be giving away free t-shirts
  • BC Powder - Interactive Football toss and free samples of BC
  • CW-47 - Prize wheel and contest for free give-aways (t-shirts, koozies)
  • The Retreat Columbia which is being built on Bluff Road will give out free t-shirts and brochures
  • Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson - 2 bikes on display, fans can register to win a free Harley-Davidson at the South Carolina-Clemson game and other prizes, free koozies
  • American Medical Association - giving away free music downloads and t-shirts
  • Chrysler - register to win in the "Chrysler Kick Off Contest"
  • Verizon - giving away free visors
  • Geico - Vote for all-time wide receivers and receive free buttons and visors

Also, in one of my first posts, I talked about the renovations of the football locker room. The job is complete and I have some great photos from the project. Enjoy and Go Gamecocks! - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - October 1, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

Check out the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wings in the Vista. Todd Ellis, play-by-play voice of the Gamecocks, hosts while Coach Spurrier answers the questions.

Thursday

The No. 11 football team is at home against No. 8 Kentucky in a key SEC matchup. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN and is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The No. 11 ranking is the highest for the Gamecocks since October 7th, 2001.

Friday

The No. 12 women's soccer will look to get back to their winning ways against Kentucky on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks have lost consecutive overtime games against Tennessee and Georgia.

Sunday

Women's soccer is at home again on Sunday afternoon against Vanderbilt at 2 p.m.

Go Gamecocks! - AM


SATURDAY MORNING FUN - September 28, 2007

Toyota Tundra Gamecock Village

  • Gates Open at 8:30 a.m. and Close at Noon
  • Located in the Grandstands in the State Fairgrounds
  • Live on the Tweeter Music Stage: Papa String Band
  • College football on the GoVision jumbo screen and on 40-inch TVs under the FanU.com Party Pavilion
  • Check out the racecar at Coca-Cola Football Town
  • South Carolina Men's and Women's Basketball teams will be signing autographs
  • Toyota Legend of the Game: Albert Haynes, Running back and 4-year Letter Winner (1988-1991)
  • Gamecock merchandise from The University Bookstore
  • Food vendors: Steak Out and WG's Wings
  • Contests and giveaways from the Carolina Alumni Association
  • Interactive displays and giveaways from Army

Buick Pontiac GMC Gamecock Game Day live at Bojangles

  • B-106 Pre-Game Show starting at 9:30
  • Gamecock Radio Network statewide pre-game broadcast starting at 11:00
  • Title sponsors Buick, Pontiac and GMC will have two cars on display and will be giving away free t-shirts
  • Arthur State Bank will be giving out free koozies and you can register to win $15,000 to be given away during the pre-game of the South Carolina-Clemson game
  • BC Powder - Interactive Football toss and free samples of BC
  • CW-47 - Prize wheel and contest for free give-aways (t-shirts, koozies)
  • The Retreat Columbia which is being built on Bluff Road will give out free t-shirts and brochures
  • Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson - 2 bikes on display, fans can register to win a free Harley-Davidson at the South Carolina-Clemson game and other prizes, free koozies
  • American Medical Association - giving away free music downloads and t-shirts
  • Chrysler - register to win in the "Chrysler Kick Off Contest"

Go Gamecocks! -AM


TALENT AND CHARACTER - September 28, 2007

As part of its 75th anniversary, the Southeastern Conference is honoring individuals who have made an impact on society beyond their accomplishments on the playing field. Each school had six nominees and the conference selected one person from each university. Those chosen by the SEC will be featured throughout the season as part of the "Stories of Character" series on television commercials.

The following individuals were selected by our university to represent the Gamecocks. They will be recognized at halftime of the South Carolina v. Mississippi State football game this weekend.

- Bobby Dobson was a two-time tennis letterman in the 1960s. He left a career in accounting to dedicate his life to serving others through Dobson Ministries. Dobson Ministries provides religious materials to the elderly in nursing homes and to youth in children's homes.

- Samuel L. Foster II competed for the Gamecocks in the long jump, triple jump and springs, including two years as a captain. Today, he owns a real estate development firm which specializes in urban renewal. He was the first African-American elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to serve on the university's Board of Trustees.

- Stan Juk played football for the Gamecocks and passed up a career in the NFL to pursue a career in medicine. He currently is head of a cardiology practice in Columbia. In 2006, Dr. Juk received the Carolina Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.

- Martha Parker Hester is considered to be one of the best to ever play basketball for the Gamecocks and is one of only three women to have her jersey retired at South Carolina. Today, she is a physician and has a local practice in Columbia with her husband Martin. In 2000, she was selected by the SEC as South Carolina's Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

- Tonique Williams-Darling was a two-time All-American and SEC champion sprinter and also the Gamecocks first Olympic gold medalist. The foundation she helped establish serves to give deserving children from her home country opportunities to succeed in athletics.

- Jim Schaper was a two-time track All-American for the Gamecocks. Today, he is putting 30 years of technology experience to use as the CEO of one of the world's leading software providers. Under his guidance, his company has shown over $2 billion in revenue.

I'd really encourage you to visit the SEC Stories of Character site to learn more about the representatives from the Gamecocks as well as the athletes chosen from other schools in the conference.

Tonique Williams-Darling was selected by the SEC for South Carolina. You can watch her feature with Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish here.

BATON ROUGE DEBRIEF - September 27, 2007

I made the trip to LSU this past weekend to support the Gamecocks and here's some random thoughts and observations:

  • 1,400 miles of driving is too long no matter how many people split the driving time
  • In the weeks leading up to the game, people told us horror stories about the vicious and mean LSU fans. However, for the most part, their fans were very good-natured and friendly. Sure, we got "Tiger Baited" a few times, but that's to be expected.
  • There's nothing quite like an SEC game day atmosphere. The fans, the energy, the tailgates. Even a bit of rain couldn't spoil the day.
  • Death Valley - Wow. Even more impressive in person.
  • Garnet and black still looks better than purple and gold.
  • LSU actually has a tiger habitat for Mike the Tiger. Check out this link to see some photos of his home.
  • To emphasize my earlier point - 1,400 miles is a long way.

It was a great trip to a great SEC environment. I'll leave the analysis of the game to the pundits. Either way, it's definitely a trip I'd recommend to any college football fan. Thanks again to Caitlyn and Mike for putting up with me. I've posted a few photos from the weekend. - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - September 24, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Saturday

The No. 16 Football team returns to Columbia for Homecoming versus Mississippi State. Both teams are 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised by Lincoln Financial throughout the Southeast.

LSU trip post coming soon. - AM


On Tap @ Carolina - September 17, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Thursday

Make your way to Wild Wings in the Vista for the Steve Spurrier Radio Call-In Show from 7-8 p.m. Former Gamecock quarterback standout and the play-by-play voice of Gamecock football Todd Ellis hosts and Coach Spurrier takes the calls.

Saturday

The No. 12 Football team might not be at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, but they'll be on national television on CBS when they take on No. 2 LSU at 3:30 p.m. The Gamecocks dispatched South Carolina State 38-3 last Saturday at home to stay perfect at 3-0.

Sunday

It's a light week for home events at Carolina. The Women's Soccer team is home on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. vs. Marshall. The team is 7-0 on the season after winning the Carolinas Cup last weekend with wins against Charlotte and Furman.

The Men's Soccer will play after the women at 3:30 p.m. vs. Alabama A&M. The men captured the adidas Gamecock Classic last weekend and are 4-2 this season.

As part of a food drive for Harvest Hope Food Bank, any fan who brings a canned item on Sunday will receive admission to the game for $3. Also, as part of Youth Soccer Month, any youth under 18 will receive free admission with a paying adult.

Go Gamecocks! - AM


PRIME PRE-GAME POSITIONS - September 14, 2007

While you're tailgating or just waiting for the game against S.C. State to start up, take the opportunity to go check out the Toyota Tundra Gamecock Village. Located in the grandstand area of the S.C. State Fairgrounds, Gamecock Village opens at 3 p.m. and is free to the public.

Brent McDonald will be playing live on the Tweeter Music Stage and a GoVision jumbo screen will be showing the day's biggest college football games. The FanU.com Party Pavilion features a complete seating area with big screen televisions playing more college football.

Dominique Blasingame, a former tight end for the Gamecocks (1981-83) will be signing autographs and Cocky will make a visit with the South Carolina cheerleaders before they make their way to the stadium. The National Champion South Carolina Equestrian team will be also present with their horses to meet and greet with fans.

The Charlotte Bobcats will have an RV setup and food will be available from Shane's Rib Shack, Steak Out and WG's Wings. Don't miss out on other giveaways from the Carolina Alumni Association and the U.S. Army. Here's some photos from last week's Gamecock Village:

Another great pre-game spot to check out is the Buick Pontiac GMC Gamecock Gameday live from Bojangles. The b106 Pre-Game show starts at 4:30 pm and the Gamecock Radio Network statewide pre-game broadcast kicks off at 5:30 pm.

The title sponsors will each have two cars on display and will be distributing free t-shirts. Arthur State Bank will give out free koozies and fans can register to win $15,000 to be given away before the South Carolina-Clemson game.

Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson will have two bikes on display and fans can register to win a free Harley-Davidson at the South Carolina-Clemson game. Other sponsors such as BC Powder, CW-47, The Retreat Columbia and the American Medical Association will all be on hand with free giveaways.

Enjoy the atmosphere and the game. Go Gamecocks! -AM


On Tap @ Carolina - September 10, 2007

Here's where you can come support the Gamecocks this week:

Tuesday

Men's Soccer is at home at 7 p.m. against Wofford at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks are ranked as high as No. 15 in the national polls. South Carolina lost two on the weekend and are 2-2 this season.

Wednesday

Women's Soccer hosts Winthop at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium. South Carolina is ranked as high as No. 13 nationally and defeated UNLV and UC-Davis on the weekend to improve to 4-0.

Friday

Volleyball starts their Southeastern Conference play at 7 p.m. as they welcome Auburn. The Gamecocks hosted and won the Nike Gamecock Invitational last weekend and are 7-2 on the season.

Men's Soccer hosts the adidas -South Carolina Gamecock Classic this weekend and opens the tournament with a 7:30 p.m. match vs. Longwood.

Saturday

The Football team takes on the Bulldogs of South Carolina State (the 2nd of three varieties of Bulldogs the Gamecocks will face this season) at 7 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina beat Georgia on the road last weekend and are ranked at No. 17 nationally.

Sunday

Volleyball plays their last home match of the month with a conference match-up vs. Georgia at 1:30 p.m.

Men's Soccer wraps up their tournament with a 2:30 p.m. match vs. Lipscomb.

Tickets for all events can be purchased online at GamecocksOnline.com. -AM


WHAT WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR - September 4, 2007

It's been a long weekend but a necessary one to recover from my first experience working a Carolina football game. I decided to write a "Day in the Life" post because I don't think many fans realize what goes into each game for those of us employed by the athletic department. Here goes:

8:00 a.m.- Alarm. Too early. Back to sleep.

8:05 a.m.- Time to wake up.

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.- One of my responsibilities at Carolina is assisting in the planning of each halftime show presentation. Steve Phillips, the minister of music at First Baptist Columbia plans it all out and I'm essentially his liaison with the athletic department. Saturday's halftime show was the Salute to Our teams show where we recognized all of Carolina's athletic teams and accomplishments. Steve and I had a walk-through with the teams last Thursday and Saturday's rehearsal was for the 100 ROTC students from Irmo and Dutch Fork High School who help with the presentation.

11:30 a.m.- After dropping off some items to be used for the halftime show at Williams-Brice, I have enough time to return home to shower, change clothes and eat a quick lunch before heading back towards the football stadium. Before I leave, I notice my alma mater of Appalachian State ties the score with Michigan 7-7 in the first quarter. I'm not even thinking upset at this point.

12:45 p.m.- Our marketing staff meets up for a pre-event briefing before we carpool to the stadium. On the way, you can feel the atmosphere. The RV lot is full of people tailgating, flying Gamecock flags and blaring the fight song over their speakers. We're almost six hours away from kickoff and you can already feel the excitement.

1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m.- Helping Action Sports Media with their set up and preparation for Gamecock Village in the State Fair

Approx. 3:45 p.m.- Pandemonium. Well, at least to me. Appalachian beats Michigan.

4:30 p.m.- Meet with Sir Big Spur's crew and Sir Big Spur and walk them to their position on the football field. I love to tell people about the fact we have an actual gamecock at our games. I think this is such a cool part of our tradition and it's awesome that we have fans that make this a part of our games.

5:00 p.m.- Time to eat. While I won't be exerting as much energy as the guys on the field, I'll need all the energy I can get to make it through the rest of my night. A brief stop in the press box for some food and drink as well as the chance to get off my feet for a few minutes helps me fuel up before I make my way to field level.

6:05 p.m.- 60 minutes to kickoff.

6:42 p.m.- The pre-game activities at Carolina football games are scripted out to the minute for each additional part of the presentation. The teams clear the field at a designated time and the cheers and eventually 2001 itself are all timed down to the second when each is scheduled to occur. Part of the marketing staff's responsibility is ensuring that each part of the pregame - band, cheers, etc. all go off as scheduled to get the team on the field for kickoff.

7:02.20 p.m.- Wow. "2001" from the field. What an amazing experience.

1st half- Once the game begins, you really have no concept of real time. Everything runs according to the game clock and media timeouts. All of our on-field promotions, whether it's a contest or on-field recognition are scheduled according to each timeout during the game. The entire promotional part of the game - public address announcements, video board features, LED time, on-field events - are all scripted in a document numbering over thirty pages long.

Halftime- Our halftime presentation to salute our teams goes off without any hitches and looks great.

2nd half- Once we get through halftime, we're done with our on-field promotions and it's finally time to breathe. A lot of people think that because we're on the field working the game that we are just sitting back and enjoying the action. In reality, I really only watched maybe two plays from the first half. But part of the thrill of the job isn't really the opportunity to watch the action from just a few feet away, it's the chance to be surrounded by the excitement of the atmosphere and be a part of that whole game day experience. When "2001" started up at the end of the third quarter and the crowd is going crazy and the players are getting amped, you can't help but feel chills.

11 p.m.- After a long, but exciting day, I'm finally home. All summer, I've been waiting for this experience and after my first game, I'm addicted. I can't wait for game 2. - AM


NO. 1 - TO THE LEFT - August 31, 2007

Before I came to South Carolina, I always knew about the rivalry that existed between the Gamecocks and the Tigers. But I never really understood just how passionate and heated the rivalry was until I actually arrived in Columbia.

It's because of that passion that my No. 1 moment from last season has to be the win at Clemson. Regardless of the bowl win, the win at Clemson was, for many fans, the greatest moment of the season.

South Carolina entered the game having lost to Clemson four straight times and eight times in the last nine years. And after a 76-yard TD pass and an 80-yard TD run for the Tigers, it appeared that losing streak would continue. Things got even worse for the Gamecocks with an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown as Clemson pulled ahead 28-14.

But the tide would turn in Carolina's favor as Blake Mitchell would complete 23-of-36 passes for 268 yards to lead the Gamecocks to scoring the next 17 points of the game. Ryan Succop hit a 35-yard field goal with 7:51 remaining to put South Carolina head 31-28.

But Clemson was determined not to go away and drove from their own 20-yard line to the Carolina 12 in 14 plays. With just seconds on the clock, linebacker Jasper Brinkley sacked Tiger QB Will Proctor to push Jad Dean's field goal attempt to 39 yards. The kick went left and the Gamecocks went wild.

"Hopefully, whatever bad things happened to South Carolina football may be erased today. Sometimes a game like this can do it, but time will tell if this one we can look back on two, three, four, five years from now and say that was a turnaround game." - Coach Spurrier.

I believe he may be right. - AM


NO. 2 -A BIT OF OFFENSE?- August 30, 2007

The win against Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl was special for a number of reasons. It was Coach Spurrier's first bowl win as head coach at Carolina and the Gamecocks' first bowl win since the 2002 Outback Bowl. It also marked the first time since 1973 that Carolina closed out the season with three straight wins.

Heading into the game, all the experts were calling for an offensive showdown and the Gamecocks and the Cougars did not disappoint.

The teams set a Liberty Bowl record for points in a half - Houston taking a 28-27 lead into halftime - and combined for 588 yards of offense in just 30 minutes of play. The second quarter lasted for over 60 minutes and during the final three minutes of the half, four touchdowns were scored.

It was starting to look like whoever had the ball last would win the game, but the Gamecocks got some clutch defense in the second half. Defensive end Jordin Lindsey came up with two turnovers on defense and the Gamecocks took home the Liberty Bowl trophy with a 44-36 win. Quarterback Blake Mitchell earned the game's most valuable player award after completing 19-of-29 passes for 323 yards and tying a bowl record by throwing for four touchdowns. Both Mitchell and Houston's Kevin Kolb threw for more than 300 yards in the game.

Here's a great highlight package from the Liberty Bowl:


NO. 3 - A LITTLE TRICKERATION - August 29, 2007

My No. 3 moment of the year was the win in Lexington against Kentucky, mainly for the trick play called by Coach Spurrier.

The Gamecocks opened up a 10-0 halftime lead over the Wildcats but this Kentucky team would not go away quietly. A fake punt lead to a Kentucky touchdown and a field late in the quarter quickly cut South Carolina's lead to 17-10.

Coach Spurrier decided to reach into his bag of tricks and called a reverse and sent quarterback Syvelle Newton to the end zone. A 22-yard pass from wide receiver Kenny McKinley was on the money and gave the Gamecocks some much-needed breathing room. The Wildcats battled back but their hopes fell short after a Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete and South Carolina won 24-17. The win kept Coach Spurrier's record against the Wildcats at a perfect 14-0 all-time.

Here's some video of the trick play that sealed the win for the Gamecocks. -AM


NO. 4 - HANDY AT VANDY - August 28, 2007

My No. 4 moment of the season was the emphatic win against Vanderbilt. The Commodores had just beaten Georgia on the road the week before while the Gamecocks had won four straight SEC road games. Who would be able to carry the momentum?

Ryan Succop started the scoring for the Gamecocks with a career-best 55-yard field goal which was also the second longest field goal in school history. South Carolina scored 17 points in the second quarter to take a 17-10 lead into the break.

Vanderbilt managed to cut the lead to 17-13 in the third quarter but the Gamecocks were able to pull away to a 31-13 win. Cory Boyd had his second consecutive 100-yard game of the season with a 113-yard performance and Sidney Rice added seven catches for 89 yards. The Gamecock defense stifled all-SEC receiver Earl Bennett, holding him to just 16 yards on four receptions.

Defensive end Casper Brinkley was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording four tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks , while forcing a fumble. The win also extended Coach Spurrier's winning streak against Vanderbilt to 14 games.

Sorry - couldn't find any video from this game. - AM


NO. 5 - DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI - AUGUST 27, 2007

As I begin my countdown to the best moment from last season, let me start by saying these moments are all subject to debate. Also, I decided to choose the best moments instead of specific plays. Much easier to do. If you have one you think I missed, let me know.

My No. 5 moment is the season-opening win in August versus Mississippi State. The defense handled the Bulldogs all night, allowing just 161 yards of total offense all night. The 15-0 shutout was the first shutout for the Gamecocks since the season opener in the 2000 season.

The South Carolina offense wasn't clicking on all cylinders but managed to get enough for the win with three Ryan Succop field goals and a 54-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Syvelle Newton to Cory Boyd after a lateral from quarterback Blake Mitchell. Succop's work earned him SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

Jasper Brinkley opens his account for the season with a huge hit:

And here's a clip of the touchdown pass which put the game away for the Gamecocks:

No. 4 coming up tomorrow. - AM


PROTECT THIS HOUSE - August 23, 2007

Just a brief post today as we are preparing for football and things are pretty busy around here. The new player tunnel at Williams-Brice Stadium was installed today and it's pretty sharp.

Click.Clack.

Next week, I'll have much more to post to get you geared up for the kickoff to the fall sports season. I'll post the Top 5 moments from last football season as well as a game preview for Saturday's matchup with the Ragin' Cajuns. - AM


THROWING A FOOTBALL PARTY FOR 85,000 FRIENDS - August 16, 2007

I attended the first Football Operations meeting of the season today and it was quite an eye-opener! I think a lot of people, myself included, can take for granted all the coordination, communication and sheer effort it takes to put on a home football game at Williams-Brice Stadium. Almost every detail and possible scenario must be accounted for to ensure a positive gameday experience for our fans and visitors. Did you know it takes almost 1,100 people to handle concession operations each game day? Or that there are over 300 ushers and gate personnel on site every game?

Here's a look at the range of topics discussed in Thursday's meeting - credentials, visiting team information, traffic control, ticket scanners, police presence, box office, parking, suites, ushers, cleaning and maintenance, media, halftime shows, concessions, sponsorships, video board, cheerleaders and Cocky, first aid and EMS - and that's not even the complete list. Each person in attendance was given a 60+ page football operations manual. Almost two hours later, I walked out with a new appreciation of game and event management and even more excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

And just to ratchet up the excitement level a bit more, here's another fan video. - AM


FAAANDEMONIUM AND SUCH - August 13, 2007

It's been a while since my last post and I hope you've missed me. I have a number of things to talk about. To start with the most recent news, yesterday was Fan Appreciation Day at the Colonial Center. Over 2,400 people turned out to meet the men's and women's soccer team, the volleyball team, the cheerleading squad and the football team. The event was scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. but I had to be there by 11:30 a.m. to begin setting up. Much to my surprise, we had tailgaters in the parking lot! Enthusiasm and excitement - just two of the characteristics that make Gamecock Nation great. Here's a great before and after shot of the Colonial Center floor on Sunday.

Fans were treated to highlights of last season on the Colonial Center video while waiting to get their posters signed by the football players. The loudest cheer of the day came when the clip of Clemson kicker Jad Dean missed the field goal to seal the win for Carolina last season. As expected, Coach Spurrier's line was the longest of the day. Here's some more pictures of Fan Appreciation Day:

This post is far from over though. Just to get you amped up a little more for football, here's the proof for football tickets this season:

Lastly, this was forwarded to me last week. If anyone has any of these, send them my way and I'll get them posted. Enjoy! -AM


PASS THE MIC - August 1, 2007

"What's running through my mind comes through in my walk True feelings are shown from the way that I talk" - Beastie Boys

We're a month from the opening kickoff of the 2007 edition of Carolina Football so I'm going to start posting more about football and what we have planned for Game Day at Williams-Brice Stadium.

This season, we are starting a new tradition by bringing a student into the role traditionally known as "Mic Man." Head Cheer Coach Erika Goodwin said the goal was to find someone who could entertain the entire Carolina community but also relate well to students. "The most important aspect is to find someone that has good voice projection and be able to lead the crowd well," she said. "This takes confidence and aggressiveness to feel comfortable in this role."

The 2007 Mic Man is Brent McCraw, a senior Hospitality, Retail and Tourism Management major from Columbia. "I feel Brent has all the characteristics needed for this position and he also plans to add special flare with his attire to really bring out a "character" that everyone will identify as the Carolina Mic-Man," said Goodwin. "It should be a fun and exciting adventure for our fans with more crowd participation opportunities than ever before."

I took the chance to speak with McCraw and ask him some of his thoughts about being the new Mic Man.

Spurs Up: What made you interested in the Carolina Mic Man role?

Mic-Man: I've always been excited about Carolina football since I was a little kid. I heard about the tryouts for the Mic Man from some friends. I've been dressing up for Carolina games since I was a freshman and I thought this was my chance to be a part and give back to Carolina and the team in return for all that they've given me.

SU: Why is the Mic Man important to spirit at Carolina football games?

MM: The biggest thing is that it gives something concrete for people to look at other than Cocky and the cheerleaders. The fans' main interaction at games is visual but this gives them an audible way to interact. I think dressing up also is a good way to show the spirit of Carolina.

SU: What will make you a good Mic Man?

MM: I have a loud voice and I don't have a problem being wild and crazy. But also I have a love as well as an understanding for football. I know when it's time to cheer as well as the restraint to cheer in appropriate ways. We don't want fans cursing or yelling at the officials because that doesn't demonstrate the spirit of Carolina. We're about sportsmanship here in the SEC and you need to be a good sport about everything.

SU: As a student, how does it feel to play the role of crowd leader at football games?

MM: It feels amazing. After I tried out, I didn't want to think about it too much but once I found out I'd got the role, I was so excited. It's exciting to be a part of something that's so big. I feel almost like a part of the team and a part of the whole event.

SU: What's going to be the toughest part of the role?

MM: As a representative of Carolina now, it's going to be tough not to overreact to a bad call or scream at the refs. I have to remember that people are watching me and will follow what I say.

SU: What do you think separates Gamecock fans from other college fans?

MM: By far, the loyalty. Gamecock fans' loyalty is through and through. I've been here for the bad seasons and it's great to know that the stadium is always going to be sold out. You can't tell me that South Carolina fans aren't the most loyal in the nation.

SU: What's the most exciting part about this opportunity?

MM: Just to be out there. I see this as an opportunity to maybe hopefully take the fans to the next level. We are loyal, but sometimes we can get quiet when things aren't going our way. Hopefully, I can help take them to the next level and get everyone to the point where we're always cheering so the players know we're still there and loud and appreciate what they're doing.

I've included a few photos of Brent as the Carolina Mic Man. I look forward to seeing him out there in about a month at Williams Brice Stadium. - AM


ACCESSING THE GAMECOCKS - July 31, 2007

With the launch of the new and improved Gamecock All-Access, I'm sure a number of fans have a few questions and concerns about why the service is no longer free when it had been in the past.

What does $89.95 a year (or $9.95 a month) bring to my home or office computer? More content about Gamecock Athletics is being offered than ever before. Yes, you will have to pay to listen to games, but you will also receive live video coverage for several sports, highlight packages and more. Here is a listing of what you will be able to receive through the new Gamecock All-Access:

Video

  • Live coverage of Coach Spurrier's weekly and post-game press conference
  • Home football games available in entirety 24 hours after the game
  • Home and away football game highlights
  • Weekly reports from football practice
  • Live video of all home non-conference men's basketball games
  • Live video of all women's basketball games
  • Live video of all home baseball games
  • Live video for select home volleyball games
  • Delayed video for select men's and women's soccer and softball games
  • Coach Spurrier's, Coach Tanner's, Coach Odom's and Coach Walvius' television shows

Audio

  • Live audio of all home and away football games
  • Live audio of all home and away men's and women's basketball games
  • Live audio of all home volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer and softball games
  • Live audio for all home and away baseball games

Do other schools charge fans for this type of service? It is actually very common for schools to charge for an All-Access type product. The price for Gamecock All-Access is very comparable to other schools in the SEC when you take into account the content offered vs. the price of the product.

Why does it have to cost money? We incur a number of costs to bring live audio and video streaming content to our fans. The technology, equipment and personnel needed can be very expensive.

I'd encourage every fan to join Gamecock All-Access as this year promises to be an exciting one for the Gamecock Nation. The buzz and anticipation surrounding football season, the 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball campaign, as well as the opportunity to support Carolina Athletics make this an essential for Gamecock fans.

In addition to keeping Carolina fans informed about what's going on, Gamecock All-Access also gives members a chance to support the education of our student-athletes. All proceeds realized by this service will be used for a Former Student-Athlete Educational Fund for former athletes wishing to re-enroll at the university and complete their degree.

If you have any questions or comments about All-Access, please feel free to send them my way. - AM


NEWS AND NOTES - July 27, 2007

  • Former South Carolina standout Robert Brooks was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame last Saturday.
  • The 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball celebration kicked off on Tuesday at the Colonial Center. You can read about it here, here and here.
  • Football is almost here. Coach Spurrier, Jasper Brinkley and Corey Boyd traveled to Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday to speak with the media for SEC Media Day. AL.com has extensive coverage of the event with video of all three interviews as well as interviews with other SEC coaches and players. You can also read a transcript of the interviews here.
  • Coach Odom reflected on the sad news of Wake Forest's head basketball coach Skip Prosser passing away on Thursday.

Good luck tonight to former Gamecock baseball player Brian Buscher as he has been called up for the Minnesota Twins' weekend series against the Cleveland Indians beginning tonight at 7:05 p.m. -AM


A CENTURY OF TRADITION - July 25, 2007

Yesterday, South Carolina Athletics "tipped-off" the 100 Years of Basketball of Gamecock Basketball with a fan presentation in the Colonial Center Atrium followed by a press conference in the Frank McGuire Room.

Three of the Gamecocks' retired jersey honorees were in attendance (BJ McKie, Kevin Joyce and John Roche) as well as Grady Wallace's wife. Coach Odom also made a point to recognize the large number of former Carolina lettermen who attended the event to show their support for Gamecock Basketball. All of the players received a great reception from the fans.

But the biggest celebrity of the day was John Roche. As soon as he walked through the front door of the Colonial Center, the crowd broke into applause to welcome him back to Columbia. It was great to see people excited about Gamecock Basketball even in late July. I know I'll give you more thoughts about why I love working in sports throughout the year, but here's another reason why. It's not necessarily the opportunity to see these former athletes up close and personal that makes the job great. To me, it's the ability to give these die-hard fans the chance to relive history and see and meet these players who have almost become heroes in the Gamecock tradition. College sports lives on tradition and to experience that tradition first-hand can be thrilling.

During the press conference, McKie, Joyce and Roche all spoke and answered questions about being a member of the Carolina basketball family. Odom and McKie both touched on the point that former Gamecock players have always been separated by generational gaps and hopefully this celebration would help bridge the gulf between the players.

As part of the 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball celebration, we'll bring back two or three "Gamecock Greats" to honor at each home game. These players will be available to meet fans as well as sign autographs. The year-long campaign will be capped off on the weekend of February 23rd with a number of events to welcome back former Gamecock Basketball players.

Mike Safran of Safran's Antiques put together a great exhibit of Gamecock Basketball memorabilia including a hand-stitched basketball signed by Frank McGuire. The collection included old team photos, game programs and jerseys. Safran also had enlarged photos of the five players with retired jerseys, the Sports Illustrated cover featuring John Roche as well as the famous play which gave the Gamecocks the 1971 ACC Championship over North Carolina. He has a great collection of Gamecock memorabilia and I'd encourage you to take a look at his website.

I've included a few photos I was able to take during the event as well as the official logo for the 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball. You can also view a full gallery of photos here.

Fans can view the 100 Years of Gamecock Basketball press conference in its entirety on Gamecock All-Access on uscsports.com. -AM


WEEKEND READING ASSIGNMENT - July 20, 2007


AND THE ACADEMY AWARD GOES TO... - July 17, 2007

I was able to watch from behind the camera lens today as filming for the university institutional television spot was done at Williams-Brice Stadium. That's the commercial for the University of South Carolina that you'll see during football games this season. Coach Spurrier, Ryan Succop, Kenny McKinley, Jasper Brinkley, Web Brown and Cocky did their best Hollywood work to get this done for the university. There were a few flubbed lines but everyone did a great job in the end. Luckily, it was filmed early in the morning because the heat was starting to take its toll on the actors.

After filming was completed outside, the players and Cocky filmed some spots for the video board which will be used during football games this season.

One of the most interesting parts of working in sports is the opportunity to see athletes and coaches on a personal level. Every Saturday, these guys are viewed according to what they do on the field and it's fun to see them joking and having a good time in a different setting. I've included some behind the scene photos from today's session. -AM


SOMETHING FOR YOUR WEEKEND - July 13, 2007

Thought I'd pass along a few stories from the past week about Gamecock Athletics:

Don't forget to send your thoughts and comments to amorris@sc.edu. Enjoy the weekend! -AM


CH-CH-CH-CHANGES - July 12, 2007

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting at Williams-Brice Stadium concerning the redesign of the football locker room and the lobby entrance to the locker room. The company doing the redesign, downstream, is based out of Portland, Oregon and specializes in "the creation of immersion experiences." Check out their work for the University of Oregon. Click on Portfolio and then Environmental. Impressive, to say the least.

I spoke with Keith Forman, the corporate account manager for this project, about the creative process involved when developing a new design.

"Every situation is totally different," said Forman. "The head coach's vision is the primary influencer which is balanced with the goals of the athletic department. When we do a design, we look at what people will see during gameday and the flow of people throughout the building. We like to incorporate the feel of a program into each project, whether that is through some piece of history, a slogan on the wall that every player touches on their way to the field, or some tradition of the program. We think about the expectation level of the fans and alumni and how that influences the program."

I've included some photos of the renovation process beginning with some mid-project photos and also the completed job. The graphic work is expected to begin in the next few weeks. I'll post some photos once the project gets started. - AM


GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS - JULY 9, 2007

Hello Gamecock Fans! You're probably wondering - who is this guy and what am I reading? I'm a Marketing Assistant for University of South Carolina Athletics. I have a background in marketing and public relations. I love sports, but by no means am I an expert.

This blog is meant to communicate with Gamecock Nation on a personal level. I'll do feature stories, post links and give fans an inside perspective on Gamecock Athletics. I WANT feedback. Email me with any comments, questions, story ideas or rants to amorris@sc.edu. If there's something you want to know, ask.

As I wondered how to best open this blog, I decided to take a look at some of the highlights from the spring chapter of the 06-07 season of Gamecock Athletics.

  • The South Carolina Equestrian team earning a second national championship in three years at Baylor University at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. The Hunt Seat team won their third consecutive national championship, while the Western team earned the reserve championship title.
  • Natasha Hastings - 2007 USTFCCCA Division I Women's Track Athlete of the Year. Enough said.
  • The South Carolina Softball team hosting and winning an NCAA Regional and finishing the season ranked at No. 21 in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll. The regional win was the first for the Gamecocks since 1997 and first Super Regional in school history.
  • A 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the Women's Tennis team.
  • An NCAA Regional win and Super Regional appearance for the South Carolina Baseball team. The Gamecocks finished at No. 10 in the final USA Today/ESPN Top 25 coaches' baseball poll.
  • An 11th place finish for the Men's Golf team at the NCAA Championships. The finish matches the second-best finish in school history.
  • A 9th place finish for the Women's Golf team at the NCAA Regional. The Gamecocks finished only four strokes shy of a berth into the NCAA Championships.

All in all, a pretty fair finish. By the way, kudos to my brother Adam for the great work on the blog masthead. Go Gamecocks! - AM