<
>

Frisby's story hits home

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- "Pops" is closing his first college
football season in style.

Tim Frisby, South Carolina's 39-year-old receiver who has shared
his story with Jay Leno and David Letterman among others, will get
more national attention this week.

Frisby is in Orlando, Fla., where he'll be honored on the ESPN's
Home Depot College Football Awards show with the Walt Disney World
of Sports Spirit Award, given each year to college football's most
inspirational person or team.


On Friday, Frisby will take part in the Cingular ABC Sports
All-America Celebration, where he'll receive the Keith Jackson
Award for Excellence. The show will be broadcast Saturday night.

"I'm just honored and proud that I can go down there and
represent the university," Frisby said by phone on his way to the
airport Wednesday.

The trip is just the latest for Frisby, the 20-year Army veteran
with six children who walked on with the Gamecocks last winter. He
served in Desert Storm and the Kosovo conflict and, with plans to
retire from the service, thought he might make a pretty fair
college receiver.

After outlasting about 60 walk-ons this fall, Frisby spent time
on the field. He lined up at receiver for the final four plays in a
17-7 victory over Troy in September and took part on the punt
coverage team as South Carolina ended its season with a 29-7 loss
at Clemson.

Since he made the team in the fall, Frisby's tale has gone coast
to coast. He has joked with Letterman about former coach Lou Holtz
eating players and with Leno on his nickname, "Pops." He's had
offers from producers about becoming Hollywood's next "Rudy."

Frisby is a little puzzled on why his story has connected with
people.

"I have wondered about it," he said. "I thought I was always
going to fly under the radar."

Instead, Frisby took flight. He was featured on ESPN's College
GameDay and Cold Pizza morning show. He was the subject of a CBS
Sports segment on Thanksgiving Day.

"It's been a special year for me," Frisby says. "I'm so happy
that coach Holtz believed in me and gave me the chance."

Holtz said Frisby was a hard worker who deserved the time he
got.

Frisby made the Gamecocks "because of his attitude and because
of the way he works and the things he does," Holtz said. "I
appreciate the sacrifice he's made."

Frisby hopes he'll get a similar chance with new coach Steve
Spurrier next fall. Frisby says he's briefly met Spurrier and the
Gamecocks new receivers coach, Steve Spurrier Jr. Frisby hasn't
discussed where he fits with the new regime.

"I think I do," Frisby said.

He's all but certain he'll line up with other Gamecocks next
month when offseason workouts begin. Still, with a large family,
including two high-school age children, a lucrative deal might come
in handy.

"You can only do this once. It's a big thing to give up your
eligibility," said Frisby, who will turn 40 in February. "It's
definitely a serious decision. You hope that next year, some of
these opportunities might still be around."