The stadium on Bluff Road that now hosts 80,000 people seven Saturdays every fall had humble beginnings.
Williams-Brice Stadium was built in 1934, but at the time it was called Municipal Stadium. The venue was a joint venture of the city of Columbia and the Works Progress Administration, and it held 17,500 fans on Sept. 29, 1934, when it hosted its first football game.
The Gamecocks beat Erskine 25-0 that day, and the next week officially dedicated the stadium with a 24-16 victory over Virginia Military Institute. The stadium became Carolina Stadium in 1941, when the city gave the stadium to the university.
Its current name came in 1971. Thomas Brice made a donation of about $3.5 million from the estate of him and his wife, Martha Williams-Brice, to the university in exchange for the naming rights. Martha Williams-Brice, whose family operated the Williams Furniture Company in Sumter, died in 1969 but had made arrangements for the donation in her will.
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Brice played football at the University of South Carolina from 1922-24, and once fumbled during the Carolina-Clemson game to set up the Tigers’ winning score.
“Tom Brice actually owed us that money,” South Carolina historian and former Gamecock sports information director Don Barton said with a laugh.
Brice lettered at South Carolina from 1922-1924. His fumble came in 1923, leading to Clemson’s 7-6 win.
Williams-Brice Stadium now holds 80,250 fans and is the fourth-largest “city” in the state on game days.