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 covertly 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."
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.
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.
The Carolina Cockabooses are stationary and many are wired with closed-circuit television to watch Gamecock home & away games. Twenty-two cabooses line a railroad track just outside of Williams-Brice Stadium. These rail cars don't move and they certainly aren't something you would see while waiting in your car for a train to pass.
They boast air conditioning, heat, running water, televisions, and a living room - just to name a few.
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 theme song from "2001 - A Space Odyssey" roar over the stadium sound system. As the music continues, the enthusiasm of the crowd is contagious. Finally, at just the exact moment, in perfect coordination with the music, the Gamecocks hit the field running, and then, THE GAME IS ON!
The theme "2001" corresponds with the University's Bicentennial, which was celebrated four years ago. Listen to the world's famous 2001 fight song.