Gamecock Saturday

“It’s another Gamecock Saturday…”  – WIS – AM 560

The news came Wednesday afternoon that Bob Fulton had died.

For 43 years, Bob Fulton broadcast University of South Carolina sporting events. Although he also broadcast baseball and basketball, most fans will probably remember him best for his football broadcasts. I fondly remember listening to WIS-AM on many a “Gamecock Saturday”. Gamecock Saturday wasn’t just a radio broadcast, it was an event.  Everything began with a two-hour pregame show as Gene McKay and his partner analyzed the opponent, ran down the injury list, and checked on scores from other games across the nation. The pregame show was broadcast from the stadium parking lot with thousands of fans nearby. Whenever arch-rival Clemson University was mentioned, Carolina fans would answer BOOOO! The catcalls turned to cheers if Clemson was losing their game.

The pregame ended about ten minutes before game time and then Bob Fulton’s voice brought the entire state into Williams-Brice Stadium. I was one of the far away fans – I could be raking leaves or sweeping the carport, it didn’t matter. If it was fall, my body was working but my mind was at the game.

A trip to the South Carolina State Fair when Carolina was playing at home was a double treat. Williams-Brice Stadium is directly across the street from the fairgrounds; you had to get there early if you didn’t want to sit in traffic all day. Unusually enough, you didn’t have to bring your radio. Every third person seemed to have a transistor radio pressed to their ear, and you could hear Bob Fulton broadcasting no matter where you were. Occasionally you might have to ride the Ferris Wheel and try to catch a glimpse of the scoreboard, but not often.

And then you’d hear Bob utter those magical words – “Touchdown, Carolina!” – and the stadium would erupt in cheers. State Fair strangers would raise their index fingers and shout “Go Gamecocks!” to each other. The sun seemed just a little brighter, the day a little warmer, and it was a great day to be in South Carolina.

Fulton retired in 1995; a few years later WIS-AM lost the contract to broadcast South Carolina football and the Gamecock Saturday tagline was retired. Carolina still plays football, of course, and we still have the State Fair, but it just doesn’t seem quite the same. The days of my youth have slipped by, and now Gamecock Saturday exists only in my mind.

Thanks for being such a large part of it, Bob.

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One Response to “Gamecock Saturday”

  1. BILL DRAKE Says:

    EVEN THOUGH I HAVE BEEN THE MORNING PERSONALITY IN SPARTANBURG FOR 34 YEARS, AND ON THE AIR FOR 51 YEARS, I WILL NEVER FORGET THE TWO YEARS(1973-74) I SPENT AS THE ANNOUNCER ON BOB’S GAMECOCK CREW. I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM HIM INCLUDING PREPARATION FOR A BROADCAST,TIMING, WHEN TO GIVE A SCORE, THE POLITICS OF SPORTS. OUR PATHS HAVE CROSSED MANY TIMES SINCE I LEFT WIS IN 1976 TO COME TO SPARTANBURG. ON THURSDAY MORNING,11/4, I DEVOTED ALMOST A HALF HOUR TO BOB’S MEMORY(PLAY BY PLAY EXCERPTS AND MY OWN INTERVIEWS WITH HIM OVER THE YEARS. THE VOICE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME OR BE REPLACED ON THE GAMECOCK NETWORK. HE KEPT THE THEATER OF THE MIND ALIVE WITH HIS PRESENTATION. REST IN PEACE,BOB

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