Historically, The Citadel is best known for its cadets firing what many consider to be the first shots of the Civil War when they bombarded a federal ship resupplying the Union garrison manning Fort Sumter on Jan. 9, 1861. But the state’s military college has a proud athletics tradition, too, having competed in the Southern Conference since 1936.
The Bulldogs play in NCAA Division I’s Football Championship Series (FCS) and made the postseason playoffs five times from 1988-2016. Few schools can match The Citadel’s pregame festivities that begin with the weekly Friday parade on campus and continues with the Corps of Cadets marching into the stadium on game day.
How to enjoy a Bulldogs weekend, inside or outside the stadium:
Getting tickets – Tickets for The Citadel home games at 20,000-seat Johnson Hagood Stadium are usually readily available.
Where to eat before the game – A recent favorite of Bulldogs fans is Rutledge Cab Company, owned by actor and Charleston resident Bill Murray (“Caddyshack”) and featuring upscale bar food. Another nearby regulars spot is California Dreaming, overlooking the Ashley River.
Where to celebrate after the game – A short drive from campus, King Street Dispensary, a gastropub and bourbon bar, is where alums like to gather. Moe’s Crosstown Tavern, located on Rutledge Avenue, also draws crowds on game day.
Where to buy The Citadel gear – The Citadel Official Bookstore
Where to tailgate with Bulldogs fans – Plenty of parking is available around Johnson Hagood Stadium, but for a real treat, visit Brittlebank Park, which sits on edge of the Ashley River within easy walking distance.
Where to purchase your tailgate fare – Fried chicken from any of Charleston’s Publix grocery stores is traditional. For a barbecue fix, visit Rodney Scott’s BBQ or Lewis Barbecue on Nassau Street near the stadium.
Best Bulldogs game day rituals – The on-campus Friday parade and the pregame march into the stadium by the Corps of Cadets accompanied by the Regimental Band and Pipes are the hallmark events, but students and alumni also look forward to the Commandant of Cadets’ postgame announcement of the Saturday night curfew – which tends to be later when the Bulldogs win.
What they’re singing or dancing to – A highlight of any game – but not all – comes when the Commandant of Cadets rides around the sidelines on a surfboard carried by the school’s cheerleaders. The only thing missing is the "Hawaii Five-0" theme song.