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Gamecock Traditions

School Colors
Cockaboose Railroad
The South Carolina Fight Song | Listen
The Alma Mater | Listen
USC Spirit
The Student Gamecock Club
The South Carolina State Flag
The Southeastern Conference
Columbia, S.C.

The University of South Carolina is the only major college athletic program in the country that uses "Fighting Gamecocks" as its official nickname and mascot. The University's athletic teams have been known as Gamecocks for almost 100 years.

At the turn of the century (1900), after struggling for more than decade under numerous nicknames, the school's football team was first referred to unofficially as "Gamecocks."

In 1903, Columbia's morning newspaper, The State, shortened the name to one word and South Carolina teams have been Gamecocks ever since.

Those early teams must have been a feisty and spirited group. A gamecock, of course, is a fighting rooster known for its spirit and courage. A cock fight, which was a popular sport throughout the United States in the 19th century, would last until the death of one of the combatants. Cock fighting has been outlawed by most states for humanitarian reasons, but it is still held surreptitiously in many areas.

The State of South Carolina has long been closely connected with the breeding and training of fighting gamecocks. General Thomas Sumter, famed guerrilla fighter of the Revolutionary War, was known as "The Fighting Gamecock."

School Colors
Garnet and Black were adopted near the turn of the century as the official colors of the University of South Carolina athletic teams. The colors are the dominant ones on the gamecock, which is the University's official mascot for its athletic teams.

Cocky The Gamecock mascot, "Cocky," is a familiar sight at a variety of South Carolina athletic events. He appears at all home and road football and basketball games, and at home baseball games. In addition he can be found frequenting other Olympic sports events on the USC campus.

Cocky was chosen National Mascot of the Year in 1986, 1994, and again in 2004 and is recognized as one of the most colorful mascots in collegiate athletics.

In 1981, and 1982, the Gamecocks participated in the College Baseball World Series and "Cocky" was selected both years as the official mascot of the CWS.

Cocky History and Biography

Pictures and Articles about Cocky

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks feature perhaps the most unique and electrifying pregame entry in all of college football. In fact, The Sporting News rated USC's "2001" as the most exciting pregame entry in all of college football. As the minutes wind down on the game clock prior to the opening kickoff, the Gamecocks leave the locker room following final pregame instruction from their coaching staff and assemble in the tunnel in the southwest corner of Williams-Brice Stadium. Then, as the crowd of more than 82,000 begins its roar of anticipation, the first notes of the them song from "2001-A Space Odyssey" blare over the stadium sound system. As the music continues, the enthusiasm of the crowd is feverish. Finally, at just the exact moment, in perfect coordination with the music, the Gamecocks hit the field running, and the stadium goes wild.

This magical moment has been captured by national television, including ESPN, CBS, ABC, Jefferson-Pilot, ESPN-2, and WTBS, during those networks' telecasts of games at Williams-Brice Stadium. It is indeed one of the special traditions in college football.

The theme "2001" corresponds with the University's Bicentennial, which was celebrated four years ago.

Cockaboose Railroad

Photo Gallery of the Cockaboose Railroad

What is perhaps the most unique form of tailgating and featured throughout the years in numerous magazines and television shows, the Cockaboose railroad has made its way to Columbia and University of South Carolina football. Twenty-two cabooses line a railroad track just outside of Williams-Brice Stadium - but these rail cars don't move and they certainly aren't something you would see passing by on the rear end of a train.

More than 14 years ago, a local businessman and his wife finally had enough of the railroad tracks which sit just a stone's throw from the south side of the stadium. The next season, in 1990, the beautifully-designed Cockaboose Railroad began catering to the serious Gamecock tailgater with amenities never before associated with in tailgating: running water, cable television, air conditioning, and heating, and a living room highlight each and every Cockaboose.

The Carolina Cockabooses are stationary and many are wired with closed-circuit television to watch Gamecock away games if making the trip is not feasible.

"The Cockaboose Railroad" - and it's different, it's unique, and it's exciting; and there's nothing else like it in the nation.

The South Carolina Fight Song

"The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way"
Hey, Let's give a cheer, Carolina is here,
The Fighting Gamecocks lead the way.
Who gives a care, If the going gets tough,
And when it is rough, that's when the 'Cocks get going.
Hail to our colors of garnet and Black,
In Carolina pride have we.
So, Go Gamecocks Go - FIGHT!
Drive for the goal - FIGHT!
USC will win today - GO COCKS!
So, let's give a cheer, Carolina is here.
The Fighting Gamecocks All The Way!

The tune is from the musical "How Now, Dow Jones" and the original song is titled "Step to the Rear" (composed by Elmer Bernstein with original lyrics by Carolyn Leigh). The sheet music is copyrighted to Carwin Music, Incorporated in 1967. The music was chosen as a USC Fight Song by former football coach and Athletic Director, Paul Deitzel. Mr. Deitzel wrote the lyrics to this USC Fight Song.

The Alma Mater

"We Hail Thee Carolina"
We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise
With loyal devotion, remembering the days
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls
And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls
We've honored and loved thee as sons faithfully;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame;
For ages to come shall their rallying cry be:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill,
And crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

The alma mater was written in 1911 by George A. Wauchope, an English professor at USC, and set to the music of Robert Burns' "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton." It was written as a result of the need for this type of school song. A March 1911 issue of the GAMECOCK reported that a year or two earlier the faculty, "realizing we should have a soul stirring alma mater," offered a prize of $50, but not much had been done. Several songs, including "A Health to Carolina," were written after this and other articles asked for an alma mater. All of these songs that were submitted were placed in a songbook and sung at chapel.

Although it was several years before the song written by Dr. Wauchope became known as the Alma Mater of the University, it was apparently the most popular one as soon as it came out.

Ever since Professor George A. Wauchope penned the words to Carolina's Alma Mater, its singing at athletic events has been one of the University's most revered traditions. Over the years the custom has arisen of raising the right hand, with fingers cupped, when the phrase "Here's A Health, Carolina" occurs, as if offering a toast. To many alumni, the "toast" is synonymous with events on the athletic field. -- From Remembering the Days: An Illustrated History of the University of South Carolina (Institute of Southern Studies; R.L. Bryan Company, 1982)

Flag The South Carolina State Flag

One of most seen emblems around the Carolina campus is an image of a Palmetto tree and the crescent moon. This image is pictured on the State of South Carolina Flag. History of the State Flag

SEC Logo Carolina accepted an invitation on September 25, 1990 to become the 12th member of the Southeastern Conference. On November 29, 1990, SEC presidents announce divisions and voted to adopt an eight-game football schedule to begin in 1992. USC entered the SEC in the 1991-92 season in the SEC Eastern division. Carolina is a member of the SEC Eastern Division with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. The SEC Western Division consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, and Mississippi State. These 12 schools make up the Southeastern Conference. Members of the SEC

Columbia, S.C.

The City of Columbia
Columbia, S.C. Located in the heart of South Carolina, Columbia is a city that combines the graces of a rich past with the vibrance of the emerging Southeast. Columbia has become the commercial and governmental center for the state and has developed its banking, commerce, industry, government and education into one of the most diversified economies in the Southeast.

Average Monthly Temperatures in Columbia, S.C.
January 56
February 59
March 67
April 79
May 83
June 89
July 91
August 91
September 85
October 76
November 67
December 58

The City of Columbia, S.C. History Notes and Tidbits....

  • Columbia was first incorporated in 1806 and was one of the first planned cities in the U.S.

  • The capital city was named Columbia, a name derived from a poem by Phyllis Wheatley, a slave girl from Massachusetts. She used the name to describe the personality of the United States as a beautiful heroine.

  • Columbia is a thriving community with an abudance of business opportunities after graduation.

  • The S.C. College, known today as the University of South Carolina, was chartered in 1801.

  • The Sixth National Cantonment, later named Camp Jackson and then Fort Jackson was established in 1917 to prepare soldiers for World War I.

  • In 2004, Columbia was named the #1 Medium-Sized College City by

    "Columbia is just the right size. There's plenty to do, yet it's not so big that it overwhelms you. I think Columbia is a great city and a great college town all in one. It's hard to beat that. A lot of players like to make Columbia their home once they finish their college career. I know I did."

    Todd Ellis
    Former Gamecock Quarterback
    Attorney and Radio Voice of Gamecock Football

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