COLUMBIA n This is no stupid human trick, it's the late show with "Pops."
Tim Frisby, South Carolina's 39-year-old walk-on receiver called "Pops" by his teammates, will go national Thursday night when he visits the "Late Show with David Letterman." Officials with the CBS late-night show confirmed Frisby will fly to New York on Thursday and sit down with the wry host to discuss his new college football career.
South Carolina athletic spokesman Kerry Tharp had said earlier Wednesday there was still some paperwork to fill out before Frisby could appear the Ed Sullivan Theatre in midtown Manhattan and not jeopardize his status with the NCAA.
But a show publicist reached later in the afternoon said Frisby was booked solid for Thursday's show. He'll fit in somewhere between movie star John Travolta and musical guests, Pearl Jam.
"I mean, this has taken on a bigger life than any of us ever dreamed," said South Carolina quarterbacks Coach Skip Holtz, son of Gamecocks Head Coach Lou Holtz.
Tharp said the NCAA granted Frisby an administrative review subcommittee waiver, which allows for things like a TV appearance.
Frisby's tale has taken on a life of its own since the season began.
Frisby recently retired after 20 years in the Army. He was a Ranger-qualified member of the 82nd Airborne who took part in Desert Storm and the conflict in Kosovo.
Frisby joined the Gamecocks for winter workouts and spring practice this year. He was invited back as a walk-on with the team after fall camp and gained his NCAA eligibility just last week n Frisby says it was difficult discovering Pennsylvania high-school transcripts from 21 years ago.
Frisby played in a game for the first time this past Saturday, lining up split wide to the right for the final four plays in South Carolina's 17-7 victory over Troy.
"It was great, great out there," a happy Frisby said after his first taste of college football.
Tharp says coach Lou Holtz excused Frisby from Thursday practice so he could go to the Big Apple and make the Letterman taping.
Frisby's not part of the Gamecocks' traveling squad for the Alabama game this Saturday, Tharp said.
Still, it's been a busy time and hectic time for Frisby. His story appeared in The New York Times. A movie producer was outside his home Saturday morning. He was on CNN Tuesday and ESPN's "Cold Pizza" Wednesday morning.
Tharp says NBC's "Late Show with Jay Leno" and "Today" had also called for a chance to talk with Frisby.
Frisby, who has six children ranging from 16 years to about six months, says he hasn't been overwhelmed by the attention. "We don't think about any of that as a team," he says.
Tharp said there was no indication Frisby would let potential book or movie contracts n and the money they might bring n dissuade him from remaining with the team this season. Frisby is a junior academically and a freshman athletically.
And it looks like Frisby's staying as buttoned-down as any military man over his new found celebrity. Tharp said Frisby's comment when hearing about Letterman was, "I'm just hoping I represent the university well."
Frisby is majoring in broadcast journalism, which he hopes to turn into a second career.
Skip Holtz says letting Frisby join the team was never about publicity. The attention has not distracted the Gamecocks, said the younger Holtz who at 40 is just a year older than Frisby.
Holtz says he's just as captivated as people around the country seem to be with Frisby's career.
"It's kind of neat to have him out there with us," Holtz said. "It's rare for someone his age to be doing what he's doing."