Darius Rucker celebrated with his fellow South Carolina fans Sunday night, but if you love the Tennessee Vols, you probably needed to ear-muff it.
Rucker promised South Carolina students — he used to be one of them — that if the Gamecock women’s basketball team won the NCAA championship, he’d give them a special concert. South Carolina roughed up UConn earlier this month to win the national title. So Rucker, as promised, was on stage at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia to celebrate the Gamecocks.
But when it came to singing “Wagon Wheel,” Rucker’s cover of an old Bob Dylan song, he tweaked the words to gig Tennessee, a South Carolina rival. The Lady Vols used to rule SEC women’s basketball. But South Carolina now are the queens of the league and the country.
Rucker’s F-bomb of a lyric went viral. The lyric was supposed to be “but he’s a-headin’ west from the Cumberland Gap To Johnson City, Tennessee.” However, Johnson City became a four-letter word that started with F. Rucker encouraged the lyric change. You can listen for yourself. We don’t think anyone was saying fudge.
He told us to sing along. pic.twitter.com/kuyqIBLhhW— Nick Lorensen (@nlorensensports) April 25, 2022
Darius Rucker Loves South Carolina, But Tennessee Isn’t a Favorite
Even before mentioning Tennessee, Darius Rucker was hyped about South Carolina as soon as he took the stage. The Gamecocks, in any sport, are his favorite team. He probably loves them more than the Miami Dolphins, which we know from Hootie songs that they always make him cry. The Gamecocks didn’t.
“What a year, what a year,” Rucker said as entered the stage. “All year, the No. 1 team in the country.”
It’s not the first time Darius Rucker has given a free concert for South Carolina students, but maybe it’s the first time he so publicly dissed Tennessee from the stage. (Privacy of your own living room doesn’t count). Back in 2017, Rucker did a concert after South Carolina won six football games under new coach Will Muschamp. One of those victories came against a ranked Volunteers team.
South Carolina lost to Tennessee in football and twice in men’s basketball this season. But the Gamecocks held the upper hand in women’s basketball.
Dawn Staley, the women’s basketball coach and one-time star for Virginia, celebrated her second NCAA title with the Gamecocks. She was there for the concert along with her assistants and players. They all were introduced to the crowd before Rucker got started singing. Nelly also was a special guest, giving the concert a country music and pop vibe to it.
“Shout out to Darius Rucker for always coming through,” Staley said. “He is a Carolina man through and through so let’s make sure we give him a great round of applause. “… Lastly, we aren’t done yet. Run it back.”
Darius Rucker will head back on the road for concert dates this summer. You can check out the Outsider story here.