Despite being born in Ohio, Gamecock great Ryan Brewer considers himself to be a South Carolinian after his time at the University.
“It meant a lot to stay in Columbia after playing at South Carolina and graduating,” Brewer explained. “I’m from Ohio, but I married a Columbia girl and I knew where my name was strong and I was opening up a business. It made sense to stay in Columbia. I love it.
“I love the state of South Carolina, the city (Columbia) is great, all the people here are great, so it was a no-brainer for me. South Carolina had a huge impact on my life, so much so that I decided to stay down here once I finished my time at the University,” Brewer added.
Brewer is now the owner of Ryan Brewer Enterprises LLC with locations in Columbia off of Shop Road and in Moncks Corner as well.
“It’s a fencing company that I started in 2005 and we do all types of fence from ornamental to chain-link and wood fences. We do railings from hotel railings to your individual home owners’ railings and things like that as well. We keep branching out every year, growing and trying to get stronger every year,” Brewer said of his business. To find out more about his business, visit the website at: www.RyanBrewer.net.
Even with his growing business, Brewer said that he makes as much time as possible to follow the program in which he was once a star.
“I’ve gone to a couple of scrimmages when I can and I still bleed Garnet & Black. I’m always going to and I try to stay as involved as I can,” Brewer noted.
Brewer has also remained involved with the USC Association of Lettermen in trying to grow the association and he is slated to be the next president.
“We’re trying to grow and get bigger and better with that as well. We’re trying to get all sports active now … we try to tie everybody together to make it more of a family-oriented situation. ‘You bled Garnet & Black, so stick with us now’ is kind of our slogan,” Brewer said.
Brewer recalled the Gamecocks’ 24-7 victory in the 2001 Outback Bowl over Ohio State as his favorite on-field memory from his time at South Carolina. He noted it was particularly satisfying to perform so well after being named Mr. Football for Ohio in 1998 and not being recruited by Ohio State. He added the game “put my footprint in the sand here in Columbia.” Brewer compiled 219 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on his way to earning MVP honors for his performance.
Brewer said that season was satisfying for the players after coming off an 0-11 record the year before. He noted that he saw a change in the team’s demeanor in workouts coming into the year and thought things could change. He credited the solidarity of the team for allowing the Gamecocks to find success on the field.
“There was one particular conditioning session where coach (Lou) Holtz was pushing us, trying to break us. The guys were kind of bent over and tired, so I got in front of them and gave them the line from Rocky, ‘one more round,’” Brewer said. “They really bought in and rallied around that. After that we weren’t quite as tired, our legs weren’t as heavy and we just went at it. Coach Holtz tried to run us until we quit, but we came together and didn’t break. Then we carried that momentum over into the season and kind of turned things around.”
The solidarity, camaraderie and relationships with teammates are the things that Brewer said he remembers most from his time as a Gamecock.
“The teammates that I had and the relationships that I had and still have with them have been outstanding. That was what I’ll take from it,” Brewer remarked. “There’s the games, there’s the moments, but those will fade. I can tell the stories, but most people will remember them and that was 13 years ago now.
“Those moments may fade away, but the teammates, the coaches and the friends, they don’t. That’s what you remember and just being able to think back to what I did in playing in front of 80,000-plus fans every game was great. You don’t think about it when you’re playing, but now as you’re getting older you kind of think back and realize how special that was,” Brewer continued.
He said with his business so close to Williams-Brice Stadium he has enjoyed seeing the improvements including the new signage and looks forward to seeing the beautification projects continue.
“That’s not even mentioning the new practice facilities and all the other improvements going on within the Athletics Department. It’s going to be great and the support from the fans helps to make it all happen. These fans here in South Carolina really are special and that’s part of the reason I’ll always bleed Garnet & Black,” Brewer concluded.