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CCU Atheneum: Scott Pleasant, coordinator of the Writing Center, and Joe Oestreich, associate professor of English, wrote CCU's Fight Song.
Scott Pleasant, coordinator of the Writing Center, and Joe Oestreich, associate professor of English, wrote CCU's Fight Song.

Football and Rock 'n' Roll: How two English professors wrote the 'Fight Song'

by Sommer Tarabek
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On a chilly autumn evening, a breeze sweeps over the field as the offense charges, cleats kicking up damp dirt from the turf. Players smash, wrestling one another to the ground as the receiver stretches to catch the ball. Across the stands, students cheer and shake their teal foam fingers and poms, shouting, “Sock ‘em, bust ‘em, that’s our custom!” Those iconic last few lines of Coastal Carolina University’s Fight Song were not born from sweat and sports, however, but from the minds of the people who work here.

The original CCU Fight Song was written back in the early 2000s when the football program was established. However, CCU’s athletic presence has grown so much over the last decade that it was clear a new song was needed. Cue Joe Oestreich and Scott Pleasant, both professors of English.

Pleasant, director of Coastal Carolina’s Writing Center, met Oestreich in 2008 during Oestreich’s visit to campus as a potential candidate for a professorial position. Because they both shared a love of music and sports, they hit it off right away and have been buddies ever since. They have even recorded a few songs in Pleasant’s home studio. When they were approached by English department chair Dan Ennis, they jumped at the chance.

“The athletic director at the time,” says Oestreich, “wanted new lyrics that were not football specific or gender specific.”

Apparently writing a fight song is not as easy as one would think. They kept the same tune, the same familiar music for the piece, but changed the majority of the words.

“There was a lot of ‘obsessive word substitution,’” Pleasant says, chuckling. “It’s a lot like poetry, writing a song. The rhythm and rhyme has to be just right.”

The words needed punch, power, and they needed to roll off the tongue without catching on the teeth. Not only that, but Oestreich and Pleasant were working with two main goals during their writing phase.

“The first,” Oestreich says, “was to acknowledge Coastal’s traditions as a school. The second was to keep within the spirit of the location.”

Because of this, CCU’s new fight song contains references to well-known Coastal Carolina lore, such as the common motto “Coastal is Number One!”, as well to CCU’s inception in 1954. The imagery of “tides,” “oaks” and “shore” also harkens back to the beach and to the forests surrounding the college.

“We actually wrote it in one very long, very exhausting day,” Pleasant says, explaining that songwriting has come quickly and easily to both him and Oestreich over the years. They spent from morning to evening shooting emails back and forth to one another, debating over single words and revising draft after draft until they arrived at the current version now sung at many CCU sporting events.

WE'RE THE CHANTICLEERS (CCU Fight Song)

We're the Chanticleers,
Tenacious and true.
We'll fight until the end
For CCU!

We'll compete with honor
And always to win.
Gather for our battle cry
And then…

We'll shout our colors.
Go teal! (Go teal!)
And then we'll yell out
And bronze! (And bronze!)

And every team will learn
Coastal is number one!

We're the Chanticleers-
Defending the shore-
Best of Carolina
Since '54.

Stronger than the oaks
And sure as the tide,
Our hearts are beating fast
With Coastal pride!

SOCK 'EM, BUST 'EM
THAT'S OUR CUSTOM
COASTAL CAROLINA

 

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