Jonathan Strand, Jacob Corley and Xenn Frietze thought they would beat the crowds Tuesday on what they correctly thought would be an inevitable run on Steve Spurrier sun visors.
By the time they arrived at the Garnet and Black Traditions store in Cayce just after noon, they found the most iconic items in the former USC head football coach’s wardrobe — his widely-recognized black or white sun visors — were all gone.
“That’s his signature apparel,” Strand noted. “He always has the visor and he’ll throw it down if he’s mad. I think they are going to sell out, so we’re here early today.”
That was before he and his friends went inside and heard the bad news that the visor shelves were empty.
“He’s had (those) ever since he’s been here, since 2004,” said USC engineering major Jacob Corley. “It’s the most iconic item he’s ever used.”
Saddened by Spurrier’s departure, Corley said he respected the decision. “A lot of coaches wait until they are fired. They don’t know when to leave. I just have the most respect for him in making this decision.”
The trio was sadder upon discovering they were late to the visor run.
“We had a black Spurrier visor and a white Spurrier visor,” explained Bianca Dunn, a clerk at Garnet and Black Traditions, “and every morning we have a pick list, which is online orders from the previous night.”
The company had about 50 visors in stock Monday when the first reports of Spurrier’s retirement went public.
Half of that inventory was sold online overnight, and the remainder went out the door Tuesday morning. Garnet and Black Traditions’ Harbison Boulevard store had about 10 of the Spurrier visors in stock early Tuesday and customers in Cayce were directed there, Dunn said.
On a normal day – when Spurrier, the winningest coach in USC’s history, is not resigning – one or two of the popularized sun visors may be ordered overnight, once or twice a week, Dunn said. “It’s never this many all at once and literally every person that’s been in today has asked, ‘Where (are) the Spurrier visors?’”
But the day ended well for the three USC friends. They made their way to Palmetto Promotions on Rosewood Drive. There, they found longtime Columbia businessman Chip Prezioso, a golf buddy and friend of Spurrier’s, who has exclusive rights to the federally-trademarked Steve Spurrier sun visor and supplies Garnet and Black Traditions.
“Frankly, I was surprised” at Spurrier’s resignation, Prezioso said. “He’s a good friend and just a fine person and he’s been awfully good to us. I think the world of him.”
The run on Spurrier merchandise is to be expected, said Prezioso, a USC graduate and former USC golf team captain. “He’s absolutely a legend and the finest thing that ever happened to this university. Just look at all the building that’s going on around the city of Columbia.”
Palmetto Promotions had 35 orders online awaiting when they arrived in the store Tuesday morning. Happily, Strand, Corley and Frietze found the Spurrier sun visors in both black and white, for $24.95 apiece, but they were few in number.
“They can go online or they can get here,” said manager Larry Harrington. “But they better get here fast. We’re going to get more, (hopefully within the next week, he said) but when we get this last (shipment) that’s going be it. We’re going to be done with those.”
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398