USC Graduates discussion

Why "Gamecocks"?

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Douglas (last edited Oct 03, 2010 02:08AM) (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 12 comments Many uninitiated folks ask, "What is the origin for the name of your sports teams, the 'Gamecocks'? "

The root of "Gamecock" for us University of South Carolina students and alumni is purely historical. Rather than choose something pretentious and shallow like "Tigers" or common like "Bulldogs," our predecessors at the University of South Carolina looked to history for our sports teams' mascot.

As many American Revolution buffs know, the war was essentially won in South Carolina and North Carolina, during the British army's failed attempt to invade and conquer the South. After capturing Charleston, the Brits moved inland which proved to be very ill-advised and costly for them. South Carolina militia made the invaders' lives miserable. Among the leaders of the partisans and militia were Francis Marion (better known as the Swamp Fox), Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter. Sumter was ferocious, tough, and indomitable. When cornered or even wounded, Sumter's resolve only strengthened. He was a natural, gifted leader, and was very adept at motivating his often unpaid freedom fighters. For these qualities, Sumter's men nicknamed him The Gamecock.

In his memoirs of the American Revolution, British supreme commander Lord Cornwallis, who was particularly vexed by the harassment and guerrilla warfare of Sumter and other partisans in South Carolina, wrote that if not for "the damned Gamecock," Great Britain would have won the war.

Early organizers of the University's sports teams chose Gamecocks as the teams' mascot name to honor Thomas Sumter, hero of the American Revolution, who best exemplified the virtues and character traits revered by all competitors.

Therefore, we of the University of South Carolina are proud to be Gamecocks.

Go Go Go Gamecocks!

message 2: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 12 comments The only other college or university with athletes known as Gamecocks is Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama.

After the American Revolution, many veterans of the war and their descendants migrated from South Carolina to territory west of Georgia. They were poor and the land in the West was free. As Alabama was organized and later became a State, these "transplanted" South Carolinians named several counties for famous sons of the Palmetto State: (Francis) Marion, (Andrew) Jackson, (Andrew) Pickens, (John C.) Calhoun, and of course, (Thomas) Sumter. The organizers of Jacksonville State University, as homage to a South Carolina hero of the Revolution, chose Gamecocks as the names of their sports teams' athletes --- just like USC's adherents did decades earlier.

Thomas Sumter's legacy as The Gamecock lives on.

message 3: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 12 comments For those who want to learn more about Thomas "The Gamecock" Sumter, read the following books from our Group's bookshelf: Gamecock: The Life and Campaigns of General Thomas Sumter, Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution, South Carolina And the American Revolution: A Battlefield History, South Carolina's Revolutinary War Battlefields: A Tour Guide, and The Fighting Gamecock.

You can also access books online about The Gamecock, such as this link:

Celebrate your pride as a Gamecock!

back to top