Collin Mackie can’t see the banner honoring him on the northwest ramp of Williams-Brice Stadium.
Which is why he won’t mind if it’s replaced.
“All I’d say is to hold that record for 26 years is something special,” Mackie said Tuesday. “Of course I’m aware of it. Good for him.”
Mackie was speaking of South Carolina senior place kicker Elliott Fry, who resumes his assault on Mackie’s career scoring record on Thursday. Fry enters his senior season with 289 points, 42 from passing Mackie’s program record of 330.
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Mackie, a kicker during USC’s era of prolific run-n-shoot offense, has held the record since 1990. The vice president of Greenville’s AR Funding, Mackie has season tickets and is a faithful attendee of USC’s home games.
His name, etched with his record on the lower cylinder of the ramp, isn’t visible from his seats. In fact, it’s been used as a joke by his pals, who cite the “low and left” direction of it.
So if Fry ties or passes him, that’s OK. It’s been a long, fun ride.
“Records are meant to be broken,” he said. “I do sit in front of where the kicker warms up in the net. He’s had a good, strong three years for a team that’s had a lot of success.”
Fry saw the record when he first came to USC and put it in the back of his mind. No sense stressing about something so far away.
Now that it’s close, though …
“After my first season, I looked up and did the math in my head pretty quick and I said, ‘Maybe I’ll get to do that.’ I know people tell me after a game or a couple of games, or a Tweet or something here and there, but I don’t have a counter in my head,” Fry said. “I’m sure that if I get close to it, I might have that in the back of my head.”
Fry’s also second to Mackie in career field goals made (53 to 72) and career attempts (71 to 98), but his .746 career percentage bests Mackie’s .735, although he still trails Spencer Lanning (.773). Fry was 20-for-28 last year; he could pass Mackie in FGAs and FGMs with a similar season.
He’d also like to take a crack at another of Mackie’s most records. Mackie made 15 field goals in a row, bridging the 1987 and 1988 seasons. Fry currently has a streak of one.
It all funnels into trying to make every kick. In a year where the Gamecocks’ offense might be going through constant changes, Fry needs to continue to be reliable.
“He’s a guy, obviously, that is very competitive, and challenges himself,” special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler said. “I’m constantly staying on him and challenging him, and he knows that and he likes that and enjoys it.”
Fry’s competitive, but also likes to keep things loose, as noted by his offseason clips declaring he was joining the PGA Tour or the video he cut with the rest of USC’s specialists, set to Five for Fighting’s “100 Years.” He brushes aside any talk of his record pursuit overtaking his desire to help the team.
“I’ve said this before – it’s something with a kicker, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to be focused on records like that because I haven’t thought of a situation yet where I could be putting the team in jeopardy in order to make kicks,” he said.
Mackie hung up his kicking shoes after the 1990 season, although he tried out for the Professional Spring Football League in 1991 only to see the league fold before it played a game. He occasionally helped Upstate youth kickers if their parents asked, but otherwise limited his football to a fan’s perspective.
He and Fry haven’t talked, but Mackie wishes Fry the best. Fry will try to pass the name that’s stared at him since he arrived.
“Ever since I was a freshman, I looked up at it. And you know you’d see that every day,” he said. “You look up at those names and every kid wants to be there. I really want it to happen. Yeah, that’d be awesome.”
Putting up points
USC’s career leaders in scoring:
1. Collin Mackie
2. Elliott Fry
3. Ryan Succop
4. Marcus Lattimore
5. George Rogers