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SC Football Guide: Furman Paladins

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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For four decades, Furman University in Greenville has been one of the nation's elite NCAA Football Championship Series (FCS) teams, having claimed 13 Southern Conference titles and a national championship in 1988. That success is balanced with a strong academic tradition and the best elements of "small college" football.

Students and alumni stream into the 16,000-seat Paladin Stadium to cheer on their purple-clad team and enjoy the breathtaking views of Paris Mountain in the distance. If you're looking for a low-key, but still vibrant football culture, this is your place.

How to enjoy a Paladins weekend, inside or outside the stadium:

Getting tickets - Tickets are generally available for Furman home games via the school's ticket office or through ticket broker StubHub.

Where to eat before the game - For nearby comfort food, check out Stax's Original restaurant on Poinsett Highway, located a couple of miles from campus. Two miles north of the school, you'll also find Shortfields in the town of Travelers Rest.

Where to celebrate after the game - If your idea of fun is craft beer or craft spirits, check out the Swamp Rabbit Brewery or Copper Mountain Distillery, both in Travelers Rest. A popular institution near Greenville is the Peddler Steak House on Poinsett Highway.

Where to buy Furman gear - The Paladins don't freely license team merchandise, so the best (maybe only) place to get souvenirs is the on-campus Furman University Bookstore.

Where to tailgate with Paladins fans - Paladin Plaza, located in front of the stadium, is mostly for Paladin Club members, but there are a number of parking lots near the school's chapel, and if you don't mind walking, there's free parking at McAlister Auditorium.

Where to purchase your tailgate fare - Furman's "official" tailgate supplier is Ingles Market. There's also a well-stocked Publix near campus.

Best Furman game day rituals - The No. 1 tradition is the arrival of Sir Paladin, dressed as a medieval knight riding a white stallion onto the field before kickoff. During games, cheerleaders often direct the crowd in Furman's unofficial cheer: "FU one time, FU two times, FU three times, FU all the time." For years, the chant was led by now-retired school president John Johns.

What they're singing or dancing to - Before taking the name Paladins, Furman's football team was known as the Purple Hurricane. In recent years, the band plays the Scorpions' rock song, "Rock You Like A Hurricane," as the team takes the field.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 360-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.