Former University of South Carolina QB Phil Petty Dead at 43

The former quarterback led the USC Gamecocks to two back-to-back Outback Bowl titles

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 29: Phil Petty of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Columbia, South Carolina on September 29, 2001. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Photo: Sporting News/Getty

Former University of South Carolina quarterback Phil Petty, who led the Gamecocks to two Outback Bowl Championships, died on Thursday. He was 43 years old.

The cause of death remains unknown. USA Today reports his death comes after a brief hospital stay in Columbia.

The Gamecock football team confirmed Petty's death on Twitter early Thursday morning, writing, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of a great Gamecock."

"Phil Petty typified what a Gamecock truly is," the South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner said in a statement released by the school.

"A native South Carolinian, he was a fighter on the football field, a tremendous person off the field and beloved by all Gamecocks. He was a great friend to many and a wonderful dad and husband. My prayers go out to his wife, Morgan, children, Sage and McCoy, and his many friends," Tanner continued.

Petty was a three-year starting quarterback for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team and was on the team from 1998-2001, earning consecutive Outback Bowl wins during his final two years.

In his senior year bowl game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Petty was named MVP after throwing for 227 yards and two touchdowns for a 31-28 win.

Former Gamecocks head coach Lou Holtz reacted to the news of Petty's death, telling ABC Columbia's Mike Gillespie he has "great memories" of the late alum.

"He was a great player, but he was also a better teammate. Players come and go. Teammates last a lifetime. I would be proud to call him my son," Holtz said.

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In 2000, Petty marked his career-best stats, recording 170-of-315 completed passes for 2,285 yards, throwing for 305 yards against Mississippi State, according to USC.

He broke a number of records in his time at the university. He holds the record for the fourth highest in pass attempts (861), sixth highest for pass completions (454), seventh in passing yards (5,652), and seventh in total offensive yards (5,797). He also shares the record for ninth in passing touchdowns (28) with former Gamecock Bobby Fuller.

In 2001, he was named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award, given to the nation's top quarterback.

After leaving the university, he signed with the Tennessee Titans where he played for one season before he started pursuing his coaching career.

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In 2003, he became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Hammond Academy before later joining the Gamecock coaching staff as a graduate assistant the following year.

Petty is survived by his wife, Morgan, and two children, Sage and McCoy.

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