Clemson University

Centennial celebration this weekend at USC

Tickets are available for Saturday's South Carolina-Mississippi State basketball game, which is in the middle of the Gamecocks' centennial celebration.

The game is at 4 p.m. Saturday. The rest of the weekend is a salute to USC greats, including an alumni game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The alumni game is free as long as fans have tickets to the USC-MSU game afterwards. The first 1,500 fans will receive a commemorative glass. There's also an autograph session featuring more than 50 former USC hoops players after the alumni game.

All of the letter-winners and coaches will be recognized at halftime of the USC-MSU game.

• STREAK-BREAKER: Former USC football coach Sparky Woods broke a notorious record last week when he accepted the head coaching position at VMI. He became the first former Gamecock coach since at least World War II to take another head coaching job after he left Columbia.

USC's previous 10 coaches before current head man Steve Spurrier, beginning with Rex Enright and finishing with Lou Holtz, all finished their head coaching careers in Columbia. Enright and Holtz retired and Woods' predecessor, Joe Morrison, died.

But the others -- Warren Giese, Marvin Bass, Paul Dietzel, Jim Carlen, Richard Bell, Woods and Brad Scott -- were either fired or quit under pressure. Only Scott, who is associate head coach at Clemson, and Woods are still around the game.

Woods, who took over the program after Morrison's death in February 1989, went 24-28-3 in five years, taking the Gamecocks into the SEC in 1992. The biggest stretch of success he had was that season when the Gamecocks, under the direction of brash freshman quarterback Steve Taneyhill, won five of their final six games after an 0-5 start that had the players voting for Woods to resign.

After Woods left in 1993, he bounced around as an assistant at Memphis, Virginia, Mississippi State, the New York Jets and most recently, Alabama. He took last year off before accepting the VMI job.

• IN THE BEGINNING: USC and Clemson each begin their baseball seasons this week at home.

The No. 12 Gamecocks host East Carolina at 3 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The No. 23 Tigers host Mercer at 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

With the starting date pushed back for all NCAA Division I teams this year, the two teams moved up their annual rivalry series. The first installment is on March 1 at Columbia, followed by the return engagement on March 2 at Clemson.

• SMOKIN': USC's Jason Richardson ran his second-fastest time of the year in the 60-meter hurdles last week, winning the silver medal at the Tyson Invitational.

The women's 4x400 relay team also finished second.