Gamecocks getting a little gourmet

The smell of Frogmore Stew filled the air in the press box high above Williams-Brice Stadium as athletic department staff and members of the media met for a luncheon to introduce a new deal for Carolina athletics on Friday afternoon.

South Carolina AD Eric Hyman announced the partnership between USC and Coach Low Country Brands that will be a part of the fundraising for the new athletic facilities, as well as scholarship funds for the school.

"We are very excited about the partnership with Coach Low Country brands," Hyman said. "Our student-athletes will benefit each time someone in the Gamecock Nation purchases some of this special seasoning."

The partnership between the two focuses on the companies founder Joe Crosby, a former North Carolina A&T football player and collegiate coach. Crosby, who resides in Seneca, S.C., created the spice as a result trying to find a new profession at life.

"I'm a guy who got out of coaching, and I moved to the lake with my wife. She was pregnant, so I got into real estate, and the market crashed," Crosby said. "I looked at my wife and I said, ‘You know honey, I ought to put a little grill beside our house.' And she said, 'You'll do anything.'"

From that restaurant, Crosby hand created a spice specifically for boiling seafood which has taken off to a plethora of success.

"On Mother's Day, I opened with eight tables in 2003. Now we do about 800 people a day," Crosby said of his establishment. "When you're a coach and you want to do something, you do it. If you lose, you lose. But most are people scared of losing."

The seasoning, which eventually caught the eye of national chains like Bi-Lo and Wal-Mart, is carried across the country. A far cry from its humble beginnings as Crosby told the story of a man asking how his early venture worked.

"He said, 'How do you sell it?' I said, 'I take it out of the big bag and put it in the Ziploc's.' He said, 'Well can you put that thing in a bottle?' I said, 'Yeah man, I probably can," Crosby said. "But why do you want to know? He said, 'Cause I'm from Wal-Mart, and I want to put it on the shelves."

After going through the Collegiate Licensing Company, Crosby has created a deal with Carolina that for every bottle of his seasoning sold, the company will donate $2 back to the University, along with an initial check of $20,000 Crosby surprised USC football coach Steve Spurrier with on Friday.

"I certainly admire him," Spurrier said. "He's come a long way, and he knows it. He wants to give back, and that's what we all should do and try to do."

For Crosby, it's just a passion to give back.

"My wife and I are real committed to what we're doing. If you've got something good that can make a difference in education and athletics and kids going to school," Crosby said. "For me and my wife it's more fun doing that than sitting up on a hill talking about how much money we have. It don't make a difference what you've got if you ain't doing nothing for nobody."

Spurrier, along with most of the USC coaches, attended the luncheon and know that if people try it, they could keep coming back. And that could be a big boost for USC.

"Once you try this sauce, like Joe said, you come back to it not because its Carolina, Clemson or any other school," Spurrier said. "Its pretty good stuff. All of us had the food here today, and I'm sure all of us were very much impressed with it."

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