Carolina Super Fans: These Gamecocks are loud and proud

08/23/2014 9:57 PM

08/23/2014 10:08 PM


Notable: Robert and Regina are the parents of USC junior tailback Brandon Wilds, who wears No. 22. A former Blythewood High standout, Brandon has forever sealed the allegiance to USC of Robert, who grew up in Darlington, and Regina, who grew up in Columbia. Both were very happy that he chose to play his college football close to home. Robert said Brandon wanted to compete against the best. They’re proud members of Gamecock Football Families United, the support group of players’ parents and guardians. Robert’s favorite game was Brandon’s first 100-yard game, a 137-yard effort in a 2011 win over Tennessee, while Regina loves all the wins over Clemson, especially this past season’s when Brandon caught a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Quotable: “It’s been a great thing for Brandon to be here. These fans, the people who really love Carolina, well, you’ve got to love them.” – Robert Wilds

JAMES ARMSTRONG, Class of 2014

Notable: His May graduation brought an end to his four-year career as the mascot Cocky. Although he grew up in Virginia, he became interested in the Gamecocks because his godfather played the sousaphone in the Carolina Band until graduating in 1987. Even when he wasn’t playing Cocky, he showed up at various sporting events both loud and proud. He once was asked to leave an equestrian competition because his outfit scared the horses. He will be USC’s “Mic Man” this season.

Quotable: “This fall, as I go back to Carolina for a master's degree, I will probably be just as loud as ever – now that I can finally use my voice again at football games.”

THOMAS FISHER, Columbia, Class of 2015; BRANSON DESPRES, Columbia, Class of 2016; KEITH TAYLOR, Columbia, Class of 2015

Notable: The three are part of a larger group that body-paints and sits together for each home game to spell out “GAMECOCKS” or “SOUTH CAROLINA.” Fisher, who serves as the group’s leader, has loved USC football all his life – crying when Clemson’s Rod Gardner made his famous catch to help defeat the Gamecocks, memorizing the names, numbers and positions of every player, and sending 100 plays to coach Lou Holtz as a 10-year-old. He loves the team’s glory days as a student, from the 18 consecutive home wins to beating Clemson five years in a row to crazily dancing to “Sandstorm.”

Quotable: “It’s fun to paint your body because it gets you pumped up and you see yourself on the video board. It sets the tone for the student section.” – Thomas Fisher

STEPHEN MCNAIR, Lexington, Class of 1993 (B.A.) and 2000 (M.Ed)

Notable: He hasn’t missed a home game since Sept. 1986, a streak of 28 years. He hasn’t missed any USC-Clemson football game since 1988, a streak of 26 years. His three sons, Austin, Alex and Aidan, have combined to serve as ball boys for the USC men’s basketball program for the past six seasons under coaches Darrin Horn and Frank Martin.

Quotable: “During a stretch from 1995 to 2004, I was known as “First Caller Stephen from Lexington.” I was the very first caller every Thursday to the weekly call-in shows with Brad Scott, Eddie Fogler, Dave Odom, and Lou Holtz. They all knew me very well.”

CATHERINE HIPP, Columbia, Class of 2011

Notable: Her father Boyd has had football season tickets for 38 years, and her mother Susan has worked at USC for 17 years in the departments of journalism and chemistry. She’s one of seven members in her family – her parents and four siblings – with either an undergraduate or graduate degree from South Carolina.

Quotable: “To me, a die-hard fan is someone who sticks with their team win or lose. It’s someone who follows their team religiously, and defends their team no matter what. And most importantly, it’s someone who believes. There is no better feeling in the world than attending a football game and hearing the crowd at Williams-Brice. “2001” always gets me pumped up, even if I hear it outside of sporting events.”


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