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University of South Carolina Football – Cheers, Customs, and Tailgating Traditions

South Carolina South Carolina Football Clemson Football Traditions

Quick Facts

  • City: Clemson

  • Home: Clemson Memorial Stadium, aka "Death Valley"

  • Mascot: Tiger

  • School Colors: Orange and Purple

  • Conference: ACC

  • Website: http://clemsontigers.com/
Clemson University

Fight Song

Tiger Rag – [ listen ]

Long ago way down in the jungle
Someone got an inspiration for a tune
And that jingle came from the jungle
Became famous mighty soon
Thrills and chills it sends through you
Hot so hot it burns you too
Though it's just the growl of the Tiger
It was written in a syncopated way
More and more they yell for the Tiger
Everywhere you go today, they're shoutin'
Where's that Tiger?
Where's that Tiger?
Where's that Tiger?
Where's that Tiger?
Hold that Tiger!
Hold that Tiger!
Hold that Tiger!

Clemson Memorial Stadium

Cheers & Customs:

  • Alma Mater: [ Lyrics | Listen ]
    Freshmen were required to wear rat caps (a beanie-style cap with small brim in front) during Clemson's military days, and the students would wave their hats in the air during home football games. If the Tigers lost, the rat caps had to be worn until their next victory. Today, students are no longer required to wear the caps, but the tradition continues. Present-day Clemson fans wave their hands in the air (with thumb folded under so they appear to be holding a cap) at the end of the singing of the alma mater.
    Clemson Alumnus Paul Hund of James Island, who used to wear these rat caps when he attended Clemson in 1955, says that the "caps were worn by freshmen until the Clemson-Carolina game. If Clemson won, no more caps! But if Carolina won, we wore them until Thanksgiving."
    – According to Clemson fan Wesley Stoddard of Spartanburg, who attended college here from 1968-1972, male freshmen had to shave their heads as well as wear rat caps! Females wore small cow bells through the first home game!

  • Howard's Rock: Named after legendary Coach Frank Howard, the famed Howard's Rock was brought to Clemson from Death Valley, California in 1919 by alumnus S.C. Jones. The rock was placed on its podium at the top of The Hill in September 1966. Before playing against Wake Forest that year, Coach Howard told his players that if they gave 110% during the game, they could rub the beloved rock. The Tigers soundly defeated Wake Forest, and Howard's Rock is now said to bring good luck to the football players who rub it as they run down The Hill.

  • The Tiger: Walter Merritt Riggs, the man who formed Clemson's first football team in 1896, worked at Auburn University before arriving at Clemson. Riggs borrowed ideas from Auburn for his new football squad, one being their mascot the Tiger.

    Howard's Famed Rock

  • The Hill: Sometimes called "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football," running down The Hill originally began out of practicality. Before the west stands of Death Valley were constructed, the football team would get dressed at Fike Field House and then would run from there and then down the hill onto the field. Today, as the football team races down The Hill and onto the field, a cannon fires, the school band plays "Tiger Rag," and the stadium erupts into cheers.
    – "Watching the team run down the hill is absolutely the best entrance in college football" says Tiger fan Charles. "Now we have the Tiger Walk leading into the stadium, which is where before the game you can go and see all the bowl trophies and pictures of all our great athletes. This is as close as you will get to Heaven without dying. It is just a very great experience."

  • The Tigerpaw: The famous paw print of the Clemson Tigers can be seen all over campus, and is emblazoned in the middle of the football field in Death Valley. Terry Houston of Pickens says that the paw was "designed by Henderson Advertising of Greenville and was then presented to Coach Frank Howard sometime in 1970. Coach Howard was not impressed until the presenters pulled out an orange helmet with the big, white tiger paws on the sides. The new logo for Clemson was then official and later trademarked!"

  • 1-2-3-4: Tiger fan Holly Robertson says one of her favorite Clemson football cheers goes like this: "1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, C-L-E-M-S-O-N! T-I-G-E-RRRR-S! FIGHT Tigers! FIGHT Tigers! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!" This is often used as a quick rally cry during games, or even when a few Clemson fans get together to watch the game on TV. It is a simple but very popular and effective cheer.
    Jason Taylor of Spartanburg adds: "The 1-2-3-4 cheer is first initiated by the leader of a cheer yelling 'C-L-E-M' in cadence count. Then 'C-l-e-m-s-o-n' and 'T-i-g-e-r-s' is spelled out letter by letter, with the 'R' in Tigers being held a bit longer. Members of Tiger Band traditionally yell only two of the three fights at the end of the cheer.
    Bill Awtry Jr. (class of 1941) says that "the 1-2-3-4 cadence count cheer was also used by the Senior Platoon in its performances at special occasions, including football games at home and away. Only two of the three 'fights' at the end of the cheer were used by the platoon."

  • A House Divided: Clemson and Carolina are so close in proximity, that it is almost impossible to not have someone in your immediate circle cheer for your rival team. In South Carolina, this is known as a House Divided.
    Clemson fan Carol Sweigert explains, "My son is a Gamecock fan so we are truly a "House Divided." I had a House Divided garden flag outside on my front lawn, and have had two stolen so far! You have to understand, we live in Pennsylvania, so there aren't many Clemson or Gamecock fans in our neighborhood! Our biggest game each season is the Clemson/Carolina Game near Thanksgiving. My son and I are both good losers; we just enjoy the rivalry and a good game. I look forward to college football every fall. I may live in the north, but my heart is always in SC! GO CLEMSON!"

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