Former USC quarterback Steve Taneyhill buys Group Therapy bar

Gamecock great Steve Taneyhill, new owner of Group Therapy bar in Five Points

Gamecock great Steve Taneyhill is the new owner of Group Therapy in Five Points.
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Gamecock great Steve Taneyhill is the new owner of Group Therapy in Five Points.

Steve Taneyhill, the former University of South Carolina quarterback who led the Gamecocks to their first bowl win after the 1994 season, has purchased the Group Therapy bar in Columbia.

Group Therapy has been a fixture in the Five Points area near USC since 1978. Taneyhill, who has been coaching high school football for 16 years, purchased the Greene Street bar on Thursday. He most recently coached at Union County but his contract was not renewed after last season.

“I’ve wanted to own a bar since I was 18 years old,” he said. “And I always wanted to come back to Columbia and do something. So this was a good fit.”

Taneyhill said he doesn’t plan major changes to the bar, which will now be called “Steve Taneyhill’s Group Therapy.” But he will add sports paraphernalia, including some of his own, and develop more of a sports feel.

For instance, Taneyhill said he plans to make the back deck more conducive to watching games, but keep the bands and the DJs who perform on the weekends.

“It’s not going to be a sports bar,” he said. “We want to keep the tradition. But if the Gamecocks are playing on the road at 1 (p.m.), we’ll be open at 11 (a.m.).”

Group Therapy was founded on July 4, 1978, by USC grad George Meares and partners. It became an institution with its low drink prices, a varied and loyal clientele and funky interior.

The back bar is still dominated by a large moose head, often sporting hats, beads or cigarettes. And Meares and patrons once sponsored a vulture exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo.

Previous owner Scott Fleming, known as “Hollywood,” said he had several offers for the bar, but felt like Taneyhill, with his connections to USC, was the right fit.

“I’ve worked here for 20 years and owned it for eight,” Fleming said. “I just wanted to move on to new things.”

Neither Fleming nor Taneyhill would disclose the selling price.

The bar will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend for some immediate renovations, Taneyhill said, but will reopen after.

“We should have everything done by the time students get back on Aug. 10,” he said.

Taneyhill was the Gamecocks’ quarterback from 1992-95 and threw for 8,782 yards and 62 touchdowns. His swagger, long mullet haircut and outspoken demeanor at conservative Carolina during his college days became his trademark.

He once he pretended to sign the Clemson tiger paw at midfield in Death Valley after a big win at Clemson.

During his four seasons at Union County, he went 22-27 but led the Yellow Jackets to a Class 3A championship game in his first season and the upper state title game in 2015 after starting out 0-4. South Pointe defeated Union County 27-12 on its way to a second straight championship. Before moving to Union County, he was head coach at Chesterfield High School, where his teams went 71-22 and won three straight Class A state championships from 2007-2009.

Taneyhill announced the purchase on Twitter:

Taneyhill said he had never managed a business before, but was confident his new venture would be a success.

“I’m good at everything,” he said.