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The South Carolina Gamecocks football team represents the University of South Carolina (USC) in the sport of American football. The Gamecocks compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Steve Spurrier is the current head coach, and the team plays its home games at Williams-Brice Stadium, also known as "The Cock Pit". Currently, it is the 20th largest stadium in college football.
USC's SEC tenure has been highlighted by an SEC East title in 2010, Final Top-25 rankings in 2000, 2001, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (AP No. 19, No. 13, No. 22, No. 9 and No. 8), and four wins over Top-5 SEC opponents (No. 4 Ole Miss in 2009, No. 1 Alabama in 2010, No. 5 Georgia in 2012) and No. 5 Missouri Tigers in 2013.
From 1953 through 1970, the Gamecocks played in the Atlantic Coast Conference, winning the 1969 ACC championship and finishing No. 15 in the 1958 final AP poll. From 1971 through 1991, they competed as a major independent, producing 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, six bowl appearances, and Final Top-25 rankings in 1984 and 1987 (AP No. 11 and No. 15).
The Gamecocks have produced a National Coach of the Year in Joe Morrison, three SEC coaches of the year in Lou Holtz (2000) and Steve Spurrier (2005, 2010), and one ACC coach of the year in Paul Dietzel (1969). They also have three members of the College Football Hall of Fame in Rogers, Holtz and Spurrier. Carolina has 18 bowl appearances, with a 6–12 record.
Carolina fielded its first football team on Christmas Eve, in Charleston, SC, in 1892 versus Furman. At that time the football team was not sanctioned by the University. They provided their own uniforms and paid their own train fare in order to participate in the game. They were nicknamed the "College Boys" by The News and Courier and their supporters wore garnet and black.
USC won its first game in its third season, on November 2, 1895 against Columbia AA. The squad designated their first head coach, W.H. "Dixie" Whaley, the following year. The 1896 season also saw the inaugural game against arch-rival Clemson on November 12, which Carolina won 12–6. From 1902 to 1903, coach C. R. Williams led the Gamecocks to a 14–3 record. 1903 also heralded the program's first 8-win season with an overall record of 8–2. The Board of Trustees banned participation in football for the 1906 season after the faculty complained that the coarseness of chants and cheers, yelled by the students at football games, were not gentlemanly in nature. Within months The Board of Trustees reversed their decision after hearing pleas, and receiving petitions, from students and alumni alike. Play was allowed to resume in 1907. A hastily assembled football team, coached by Board of Trustees member Douglas McKay, competed in an abbreviated season that same year, and the squad won all three games.
From 1928 to 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 Southern Conference campaign in 1933. The undefeated conference record earned the Gamecocks the Southern Conference Co-Championship, along with Duke. However, this championship is currently not recognized by either the school or the Southern Conference. Under coach Rex Enright, the Gamecocks produced another undefeated Southern Conference season, (4–0–1), in 1941. Enright gave-up his coaching duties in 1955 due to reasons related to poor health, however he continued to serve in a capacity as Athletic Director. Enright retired with the distinction of being both the winningest and losingest coach in school history (64–69–7), at the time. Warren Giese was hired as head coach in 1956, and he led the Gamecocks to a 28–21–1 overall record in his 5-year tenure. The Giese era included two 7–3 campaigns (1956 and 1958), an 18–15–1 ACC record, and a 27–21 victory over Darrell Royal's 1957 Texas squad in Austin. Marvin Bass was named head coach in 1961, and his 5-year tenure produced a 17–29–4 overall record.