Fish Fry forever: What made this Gamecocks specialist duo so unique — and effective

·5 min read

South Carolina achieve historic success in football in the early 2010s.

Steve Spurrier strung together three-straight 11-win seasons and four-straight bowl wins during the tail end of his tenure in what can arguably be regarded as the “golden age” of the program’s history.

Jadeveon Clowney, Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw — they’re all names that come to mind when those teams are mentioned, and rightfully so.

While punters, kickers and other specialists often slip to the back of fans’ minds, two who will likely stick out among diehard South Carolina fans are Elliott Fry and Patrick Fish.

Fish Fry, anyone?

Quite the tag team for Gamecocks

Fish and Fry were together during the successful run in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and both remember their time playing for the Gamecocks fondly.

“It was unbelievable,” Fish told The State. “I mean, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I committed to South Carolina. I don’t think really anybody knew that we were going to kind of take off like that within that four- or five-year span. But when I got there, it just seemed like everything was clicking.”

The two met when Fry entered fall camp in 2013, and the iconic duo aptly nicknamed “Fish Fry” was born soon after.

“Elliott came in as a true freshman, and I think everybody that was involved with the special teams kind of realized this kid’s a little bit different,” Fish said. “He just didn’t miss, it seemed like.”

As Gamecock fans know, Fry won the starting job and at the same time Fish solidified his role as the team’s holder.

“Fish was like the crazy uncle of the specialists,” Fry recalled. “He was real wild and had a good time, but he was also, he really truly was, a really good punter. ... He was a really good holder, and he was always going to be the holder.”

Fry was nearly perfect in his first year, converting 54 out of 55 extra-point attempts and making 15 out of 18 field-goal tries.

He benefited from having a veteran like Fish holding his kicks for him, he said, adding that it helped him remain calm and confident in high-pressure situations.

“If you go and watch a lot of the kicks, he had some really, really good holds, which is probably — most people don’t see — but he was really good at it,” Fry said. “Your relationship with your holder is an important one because there’s a lot of trust there. There’s just a lot of importance in what he does for me. And so you’ve got to have a special bond.”

After landing on the All-SEC Freshman team at the conclusion of the 2013 season, Fry followed it up with another nearly perfect season.

In 2014, he went 51 for 51 on extra points — he wouldn’t miss another one in his career at USC — and also made 18 of his 25 field-goal attempts, landing him on the second-team All-SEC list.

Fry’s success wasn’t a surprise for his holder, who saw the potential from the second he stepped on campus.

“Going into that summer we would have workouts and then go kick afterwards, and we all realized that we had a kid who could make an impact immediately,” Fish said.

South Carolina’s Patrick Fish warms up prior to the Gamecocks’ 2013 game at Missouri.
South Carolina’s Patrick Fish warms up prior to the Gamecocks’ 2013 game at Missouri.

More than just a catchy nickname

The success of the special teams along with the catchiness of the duo’s combined last names quickly launched them to popularity among Gamecock fans.

Fish said he and Fry didn’t initially think to put their two last names together for a nickname. Once South Carolina fans caught on to it, they embraced it.

“We could go out in Five Points and there would be people that immediately know, ‘Oh, Fish Fry’s here!’ or ‘Fish! Fish!’ and that was the only way that people really knew me,” Fish joked. “I had the long blonde hair but I was just the holder, right? Elliott’s the one scoring the points. But that was the reason I really got any recognition was just because my last name, so now we definitely took it in and kind of ran with it as well.”

The combination of their two personalities made them natural fan favorites, but it also helped them mesh together on the field.

Fry described Fish as the class clown on the team during their time together. Once Fish graduated, Fry assumed that role.

“I’ve always been, probably just due to Fish, just been a lot more relaxed,” Fry said. “When I’m going on the field, I could be talking to my holder and telling jokes, we could be laughing about something. I’m never too serious, and I think (Fish) definitely made that a lot easier and kind of showed me the way of how to not take yourself too seriously.”

Toward the end of Fish’s time at USC, the duo even started a podcast named “Fry’d Fish,” something that Fry described as “funny guys just saying stupid stuff into a microphone.”

Fast forward to 2022 and Fish no longer has his long hair that was the staple of his college years. He works for Allstate, while Fry is still working among the ranks of professional kickers.

The two are still good friends and live just over two hours away from each other in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. They can be found occasionally playing golf together.

“What I love about him most is, me and him just cracking jokes and giving each other a hard time, and we still do it today,” Fish said. “…So I love the guy and I wish nothing but the best for him with his kicking career. And moving forward, I’m excited to see what the future has in store for him.”

South Carolina’s Elliott Fry (29) watches a successful field goal made with Patrick Fish (18) as his holder.
South Carolina’s Elliott Fry (29) watches a successful field goal made with Patrick Fish (18) as his holder.