is the home football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...
A modern stadium is a place or venue for outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.)Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event...
for the South Carolina Gamecocks
The University of South Carolina's 19 varsity sports teams are known as the "Gamecocks". The unique moniker is held in honor of Thomas Sumter, a South Carolina war hero who was given the name "The Carolina Gamecock" during the American Revolution for his fierce fighting tactics, regardless of his...
, the college football team representing the University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. Its historic campus covers over in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House...
in Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 129,272 according to the 2010 census. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The city is the center of a metropolitan...
. It is located on the corner of George Rogers Boulevard and Bluff Road adjacent to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds.
Carolina football teams consistently attract standing-room-only crowds to Williams-Brice Stadium. The atmosphere on game days has been voted "the best" by SECsports.com (See 9/15/05 and 9/17/07 at http://www.secsports.com/index.php?s=&change_well_id=4
.) In addition to serving as the home of the Gamecocks, the stadium has been the site of many concerts, state high school football championships, and various other events. It hosted the annual Palmetto Capital City Classic between Benedict College
Benedict College is a historically black, liberal arts college located in Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1870 by northern Baptists, it was originally a teachers' college. It has since expanded into a four-year college.-History:...
and Johnson C. Smith University
Johnson C. Smith University is a private, co-ed, four-year liberal arts institution of higher learning located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. JCSU is also a historically black college...
until the last game in 2005.
Williams-Brice Stadium is currently the 20th largest college football stadium in the NCAA. Plans for future expansion include adding an upper deck in the north end zone, which would increase capacity to approximately 88,000 seats and would require the video scoreboard to be relocated and the building behind the north end zone containing the football offices to be demolished.
The stadium is nicknamed "The Cockpit" among Gamecock fans and local media, and the name has been commonly used by these groups since at least the early 1970s when the university held a fund-raising campaign to raise money for an AstroTurf
AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf. Although the term is a registered trademark, it is sometimes used as a generic description of any kind of artificial turf. The original AstroTurf product was a short pile synthetic turf while the current products incorporate modern features such as...
playing surface, called "Carpet the Cockpit".
The stadium was originally built in 1934 with help of federal Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects...
funds as Columbia Municipal Stadium.
It originally seated 17,600 people. In 1941, the stadium was deeded to USC and renamed Carolina Stadium.
One end of the stadium was filled in during the 1940s, turning it into a horseshoe. Capacity was almost doubled, to 34,000. More than a decade later, the other end was filled in, turning the stadium into a bowl. Capacity increased to 43,000.
The stadium's first major renovation began in 1970, when the grass surface was replaced with AstroTurf. From 1971 to 1972, the west grandstand was completely rebuilt, with the addition of an upper deck. Capacity increased to 54,000. The renovation was funded by the estate of Martha Williams-Brice, who left most of her estate to USC for stadium renovation and expansion. Her late husband, Thomas H. Brice, played football for the Gamecocks from 1922 to 1924. In her honor, the expanded stadium was officially renamed Williams-Brice Stadium on September 8, 1972. Today, it is one of only two stadiums in Division I FBS named solely for a woman, with the other being Joan C. Edwards Stadium
The Joan C. Edwards Stadium is a football stadium located on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. It can hold 38,019 spectators and includes twenty deluxe, indoor suites, 300 wheelchair-accessible seating, a state-of-the-art press-box, fourteen concession areas, and...
at Marshall University
Marshall University is a coeducational public research university in Huntington, West Virginia, United States founded in 1837, and named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States....
In 1982, the east grandstands were finally double-decked, increasing capacity to 72,400. However, unlike the west grandstand, the east grandstand was never rebuilt, and is the only remaining portion of the original 1934 structure. During the 1982–83 offseason, at the urging of new coach Joe Morrison
Joseph R. Morrison was an American football player in the National Football League for the New York Giants and a coach best known as the head coach at the University of South Carolina.-Playing career:...
, the university removed the AstroTurf and replaced it with natural grass.
Over the last 10 years, nearly $30 million of renovations and improvements have taken place at Williams-Brice Stadium, bringing the official capacity to 80,250. The addition of the upper deck in the south end zone includes "The Zone," which is an 11000 square feet (1,021.9 m²) banquet facility located in a prime seating location. The box seats, executive suites, and athletic training facilities at the stadium have also been upgraded . Just prior to the 2008 football season the stadium underwent a complete upgrade to the main sound system,. During this upgrade the school purposely added a large array of subwoofers under the scoreboard to enhance the "feel" of their entrance music (the theme song to "2001: A Space Odyssey). Installation of this system was done by local Columbia company ACS Sound and Lighting.
Williams-Brice Stadium was sold out prior to the start of each of the last seven college football seasons and consistently ranks in the top 20 in average attendance and the top 15 in total attendance. For the 2008 season, the stadium was 17th in average attendance and 13th in total attendance.
On November 17, 2001, the stadium's single game attendance record was set when 85,000 fans watched the Gamecocks beat Clemson
Clemson University is an American public, coeducational, land-grant, sea-grant, research university located in Clemson, South Carolina, United States....
by the score of 20–15.
Even before the stadium was completely enclosed, it was considered one of the loudest venues in the country. During a game against Florida in 2001, ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....
announcers indicated that they had to shout to hear each other's comments inside the pressbox.
ESPN's GameDay crew has broadcast its show four times (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006) from the State Fairgrounds across the street from the stadium. In 2010, Gameday was broadcast from The Horseshoe
The Old Campus District, University of South Carolina, is an historic district centered around The Horseshoe on the main campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, in the United States...
on campus. ESPN also used a photo of the stadium in its advertising to promote its GameDay show throughout the 2005 college football season.
If It Ain't Swayin', We Ain't Playin'
The new east upper deck created some controversy during the 1983 season. Fans reported it was noticeably swaying--as much as a foot by some accounts. The swaying was especially pronounced during a game in which the Gamecocks routed Southern Cal
The USC Trojans are the athletic teams representing the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. While the men's teams are nicknamed the Trojans, the women's athletic teams are referred to as either the Trojans or Women of Troy...
38–14. Joe Morrison was subsequently quoted as saying, "If it ain't swayin', we ain't playin'"--a phrase that eventually made it onto bumper stickers and other items, and is still a popular saying today. Giant shock absorbers were installed under the east upper deck for the 1987 season, however, during the 1988 season, many spectators reported seeing a ripple effect across the east upper deck when the marching band played the song "Louie Louie
"Louie Louie" is an American rock 'n' roll song written by Richard Berry in 1955. It has become a standard in pop and rock, with hundreds of versions recorded by different artists...
." The university indicated that the sway or ripple was safe. To this day, the east upper deck still sways when fans jump up and down. A similar effect has been noticed at Texas A&M
Texas A&M Aggies refers to the students, graduates, and sports teams of Texas A&M University. The nickname "Aggie" is common at land-grant or "Ag" schools in many states. The teams compete in Division I of NCAA sports...
's Kyle Field
Kyle Field is the football stadium located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It has been the home to the Texas A&M Aggie football team in rudimentary form since 1904, and as a complete stadium since 1927. It is known as The Home of the 12th Man...
. In addition, several parts of the stadium have been known to vibrate due to the decibel levels generated during a typical game.
The Gamecocks won their first game at the stadium in 1934, beating Erskine 25–0, and have compiled an overall record at the stadium of 256–177–16 (including a homecoming record of 45–29) through the 2009 college football season. Some of the biggest wins for the Gamecock football program occurred at the stadium, including:
Top Five Crowds at Williams-Brice Stadium
- 11/22/1975 - Carolina beat Clemson
Clemson University is an American public, coeducational, land-grant, sea-grant, research university located in Clemson, South Carolina, United States....
56–20 to set a team record for most points scored in a game against Clemson (Carolina's in-state rival).
- 9/13/1980 - Carolina beat Wichita State 73–0 to set a team record for largest margin of victory.
- 10/1/1983 - USC beat Southern California 38–14 to win its first game ever against the Trojans (the second and last meeting of these teams).
- 11/10/1984 - #5 Carolina beat #11 Florida State 38–26 to move up to #2 in the college football polls (the highest ranking ever achieved by the Gamecock football program).
- 11/21/1987 - #12 Carolina beat #8 Clemson 20–7 to win on national television with the highest combined rankings of the two programs entering the game.
- 10/31/1992 - Carolina beat #16 Tennessee 24–23 to win its first game ever against the Volunteers.
- 10/7/1995 - Carolina beat Kent State 77–14 to set a team record for most points scored in a game against any opponent.
- 9/9/2000 - Carolina beat #10 Georgia 21–10 to snap an 18-game losing streak in the SEC.
- 9/29/2001 - #15 Carolina beat Alabama 37–36 to win its first game ever against the Crimson Tide.
- 11/22/2003 - Clemson beat South Carolina 63–17, the biggest victory margin in the history of the rivalry.
- 11/12/2005 - Carolina beat #12 Florida 30–22 to win its first game against the Gators since joining the SEC.
- 10/4/2007 - #11 Carolina beat #8 Kentucky 38-23 on a Thursday night nationally televised ESPN game, winning its first game over a top 10 SEC team.
- 9/24/2009 - Carolina beat #4 Ole Miss 16-10 on a Thursday night nationally televised ESPN game, winning its first game over a top 5 team at Williams-Brice. (USC beat #3 North Carolina 31-13 in Chapel Hill, NC on 10/24/1981.)
- 11/28/2009 - Carolina beat #15 Clemson 34-17 on ESPN; the Tigers went on to lose the ACC Championship against Georgia Tech the following week, 34-39.
- 10/9/2010 - #19 Carolina beat #1 Alabama 35-21 on CBS; beating the top ranked team in the country for the first time in school history and for the first time, winning an SEC on CBS
The SEC on CBS is a presentation of the college football television package owned by CBS Sports...
game (the team had previously won the 1995 Carquest Bowl, which aired on CBS).
Other notable events
In 1987, Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...
John Paul II, during a Papal visit to Columbia, spoke in front of 60,000 people at the stadium.
On August 30, 1990, the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...
beat the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are a professional football team based in Buffalo, New York. They are currently members of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...
35–7 in an NFL preseason game.
Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1981 when James Hetfield responded to an advertisement that drummer Lars Ulrich had posted in a local newspaper. The current line-up features long-time lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo ...
and Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band, formed in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, in 1985. The band has released six studio albums, three EPs, and one live album...
performed at the stadium during their co-headlining Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour
The Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour was a famed joint, co-headlining concert tour by the American rock bands Guns N' Roses and Metallica during 1992...
on September 7, 1992, with Faith No More
Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed originally as Faith No Man in 1981 by bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Wade Worthington, vocalist Michael Morris and drummer Mike Bordin. A year later when Worthington was replaced by keyboardist Roddy Bottum, and Mike...
as their opening act.
On September 23, 1992, Irish
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...
Rock Band is a music video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems, published by MTV Games and Electronic Arts. It is the first title in the Rock Band series. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were released in the United States on November 20, 2007, while the PlayStation 2 version was...
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...
performed at Williams-Brice Stadium on the third leg of their Zoo TV Tour
The Zoo TV Tour was a worldwide concert tour by rock band U2. Staged in support of their 1991 album Achtung Baby, the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 1992 through 1993...
On May 7, 1993, Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...
and his band performed at Williams-Brice Stadium on the North American leg of The New World Tour
In 1993, Paul McCartney and his band embarked upon The New World Tour, spanning almost the entire year and almost the entire globe. The tour was intended to promote McCartney's album Off the Ground...
In 1993, the stadium was the setting for Program
, a college football movie starring James Caan, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Craig Sheffer, and Kristy Swanson. The stadium was also featured in overhead footage for the final scene in the 1998 football comedy, The Waterboy
The Waterboy is a 1998 American comedy film directed by Frank Coraci. It stars Adam Sandler alongside Henry Winkler, Kathy Bates, Jerry Reed, and Fairuza Balk. Lynn Swann, Lawrence Taylor, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Paul Wight, and Rob Schneider have cameos...
On September 25, 1994, British rock legends The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...
performed at Williams-Brice Stadium during the first leg of their Voodoo Lounge Tour
The Voodoo Lounge Tour was a worldwide concert tour by The Rolling Stones to promote their 1994 album Voodoo Lounge. This was their first tour without bassist Bill Wyman; he was replaced by Darryl Jones. The tour grossed $320 million, becoming the highest grossing tour of any artist at that time...
In 1995, the Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are a professional American football team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are currently members of the South Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Panthers, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, joined the NFL as expansion...
of the NFL proposed Williams-Brice Stadium as their original home while their permanent stadium was under construction in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, athletic director Mike McGee nixed the idea when he noted that the Gamecocks should be the only major football team in town. Despite the overwhelmingly negative public reaction to his comments, McGee maintained that he was acting in the best interest of the Gamecocks.
In December 2007, Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...
attracted approximately 29,000 attendees to a presidential primary campaign stop. Also present was his wife Michelle Obama
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States...
and Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...
Popular gameday traditions include:
- The playing of the "Dawn" section of Also sprach Zarathustra
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt...
, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel...
, as the Gamecocks run onto the field at the start of every game, which Sporting News called "the most exciting pregame entry" in college football.
- The playing of the Da Rude song "Sandstorm
Sandstorm can refer to:* Dust storm, a storm caused by strong winds and blowing sand or dust* "Sandstorm" , a trance song by Darude* "Sandstorm" , a song on Cast's debut album, All Change...
" before the opening kickoff and after Gamecock touchdowns, leading the crowd into a frenzy, often even causing the press box to noticeably shake.
- Nationally recognized mascot, Cocky, roaming around the stadium throughout games with his trademark spirit and attitude. Cocky's "Magic Box" entrance at Williams-Brice Stadium is one of the many things that Cocky does to fire up the fans. Cocky won the UCA (Universal Cheerleading Association) Mascot Championship in 1986 and 1994. Cocky was also selected as the Capital One National Mascot of the Year for 2003.
- Fans joining in on many cheers and chants, including the popular "GAME" (shouted by the west side of the stadium) and then "COCKS" (shouted by the east side).
- Fans singing and dancing to "Go Carolina," "USC Fight Song," various renditions of "2001," and many other songs played by The University of South Carolina Marching Band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...
. As one of the most well-known college bands in the country, the 300-member "Mighty Sound of the Southeast
The University of South Carolina Marching Band — also called the Mighty Sound of the Southeast or more commonly known as the Carolina Band or the USC Marching Band, has entertained football fans at the University of South Carolina since 1921...
" continually performs fun and exciting music featuring exceptional guard, percussion, and dance units.
- The fireworks from the scoreboard and "rooster crow" played over the loudspeakers when the Gamecocks score.
- Tailgating is a favorite pastime for fans attending games at Williams-Brice, and many tailgaters consider pre-games at the stadium as one of the best atmospheres in the nation. The grounds around the stadium, including the State Fairgrounds, provide plenty of real estate for tailgating. Many clubs have also bought private property in the area and erected tailgating shelters. In 1990, a unique form of tailgating called the Cockaboose Railroad arrived in Columbia. Twenty-two immovable caboose
A caboose is a manned North American rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train. Although cabooses were once used on nearly every freight train, their use has declined and they are seldom seen on trains, except on locals and smaller railroads.-Function:The caboose provided the...
s line an unused railroad track behind the south end of the stadium, and each Cockaboose provides private party space and cable television. Four condominium developments recently built around the stadium also cater primarily to Carolina football fans.
- The Band plays "Amazing Grace
"Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn with words written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton , published in 1779. With a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins people commit and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God,...
" at the end of every football game and is the last song to be played in Williams-Brice until the next game.