Judging from the size of the breakfast gathering and the screams of Darius Rucker fans, some drivers are likely to go out of their way to the street formerly known as Coliseum Drive in North Charleston just so they can say they drove on it.
At a Monday morning ceremony that included all the trappings of stardom, Mayor Keith Summey proudly announced that the short stretch of road that leads to the North Charleston Coliseum has been renamed Darius Rucker Boulevard.
“As you turn off of International Boulevard, for now and forever you will be on Darius Rucker Boulevard,” Summey said to wild applause and loud hoots.
Rucker was in the Montague Terrace room at the sports and entertainment facility, all smiles. The event was part of a WEZL radio broadcast that included interviews with Rucker and Summey and culminated in the presentation of the street sign.
Rucker, who grew up in the Charleston area and lives with his family in Mount Pleasant, said he was honored to be recognized this way by the city he loves. His band, Hootie & the Blowfish, played the coliseum in the mid-1990s, soon after it opened, and Rucker said he’s thinking about another performance there, perhaps this time a country music set, in November or December.
“All my friends play here, all my buddies in country music,” he said.
Rucker reinvented himself as a country music artist in 2008 and, the following year, won the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association. But he has never disassociated from his rock ’n’ roll pals.
Rucker will perform with Hootie & the Blowfish at Family Circle Stadium 7 p.m. Aug. 23 and 24.
Summey said he had talked with people at WEZL about naming a street after someone famous, perhaps tennis star Serena Williams, but they quickly decided on Rucker, a native and resident.
“He’s one of us,” Summey said. “He’s done so much locally,” like raise $250,000 for the Medical University’s Children’s Hospital Fund last year by presenting a program at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center of Frank Sinatra songs. “It’s hard to find people who have become so successful nationally and internationally but still live at home.” Summey said he wanted to honor Rucker for that, and for his “overwhelming talent.”
Rucker, in turn, appeared grateful, and welcomed the opportunity to have pictures taken with friends, family and fans.
“If you asked me 20 years ago, I’d never thought they’d have a street named after me,” Rucker said.