Joey Tepper

Editor’s note: This story was originally filed during the fall semester of 2021.

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – Every fall Winthrop University holds its annual homecoming event for students and alumni to come to Rock Hill and enjoy some tailgating and basketball.

Since Winthrop doesn’t have a football team, the basketball team takes center stage for fans, and after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown the event last year, many around Rock Hill have expressed excitement about the return of homecoming Nov. 13.

“I think it’s great they brought back homecoming after COViD. It’s a really good thing to do every year for the basketball team and for the alumni to come back and watch the games,” Cooper Guest, a junior at Winthrop, said.

“I think the student population is just excited to be able to get together again and watch some basketball. I am just glad it is back,” Guest said.

“Coming back for homecoming I think it’s good that they put something on for everybody. I think everyone can get excited for it again, because we have not had it in the past and we get to see some old people from the past years we have not had the chance to,” said Bryan Petta, a recent Winthrop graduate.

However, with the pandemic still lingering, the university made some changes to homecoming. For example, fans were not allowed to set up early or use tents to tailgate outside the Winthrop Coliseum.

Despite the changes, junior Willie Lumpkin was grateful to have homecoming return.

“I think homecoming is great not only for Winthrop, but for Rock Hill. Even without tailgating this year I feel it was important to bring it back and for people to enjoy themselves,” said Lumpkin.

Chandler Brooks, a junior at Winthrop, agreed.

“I know there has been a tough time with COVID last year, not having (homecoming) and being able to bring it back this year; I know tailgating is not allowed, but just allowing the alumni to come back to a place like Winthrop is a great time,” said Brooks. “I think it’s great they brought back homecoming, because everyone gets to come back and see their friends.”

Without tailgating, students had to find other ways to be social before going to the game.

“My friends and I went and got brunch and caught up with a few friends we have not seen in a year or two. No tailgating stinks, but at least homecoming is back,” said Caroline Bergvist, a Winthrop senior. 

Brooks also said the event was a success.

“Even though the celebration was altered, I think it was great for Winthrop to get the event back up and running again not only for us, but for the town of Rock Hill.”

The celebration continued on the court, as the Winthrop men’s team completed an exciting comeback victory over Mercer 88-85.