Dolphins — and Gamecocks — make Darius Rucker cry.
The singer, who rose to fame with Hootie & the Blowfish, the band he formed as a University of South Carolina undergrad, was in the crowd Sunday at Madison Square Garden in NYC rooting on his alma mater in their surprise win over University of Florida. It’s the first time the team has made it to the Final Four.
The moment wasn’t lost on him either. He looked happily stunned — with red eyes from shedding tears — as he watched the moment next to his son, Jack. Also there? His bandmate Mark Bryan.
He admitted he was crying in a postgame interview, describing it all as “awesome.”
Rucker, who has gone on to have a successful solo career as a country singer, was born in Charleston and attended the school, located in Columbia, in the late 1980s. He was singing in the shower of his dorm when he was overheard by future band guitarist Mark Bryan, who was impressed by his talent. Bassist Dean Felber and drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld rounded out the group, which went on to sell over 25 million records worldwide with hits including “Hold My Hand,” “Only Want to Be With You,” and “Let Her Cry.”
Rucker has been a Gamecocks superfan ever since — and his home state loves their Hootie. Charleston renamed a street for him (Darius Rucker Boulevard) in 2013. He lives in the area, in Mount Pleasant, with his wife and two other children.
Throughout the playoffs, the singer has been keeping tabs on his team — even from the stage. This was all over Twitter the day before — Rucker performing while watching the game on monitors.
Luckily, his next few shows — Las Vegas on Thursday and Evans, Ga., next week — won’t conflict with his game watching, so expect to see him in the crowd at the next game. Let’s hope he gets to shed more tears — the joyous kind.
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