Steve Spurrier Takes a Mid-Season Bow From South Carolina

 

Steve Spurrier Takes a Mid-Season Bow From South Carolina

By Burt Carey

Steve Spurrier, the University of South Carolina’s winningest football coach, announced his immediate resignation Monday.

Known affectionately – and derisively by his Southeastern Conference opponents – as the Head Ball Coach, the 70-year-old Spurrier met behind closed doors with the USC football team Monday evening, then told the rest of the world his news the following morning.

Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach, resignation, Heisman Trophy winner“You can’t keep a head coach that’s done it as long as I have when it’s heading in the wrong direction,” Spurrier said during a press conference Tuesday. “It was only two years ago that we were fourth in the nation and the last of those 11-2 (seasons), and somehow or another, we’ve slid. And it’s my fault, I’m responsible. I’m the head coach. And it’s time for me to sort of get out of the way and let somebody else have a go at it.”

Athletic Director Ray Tanner named offensive line coach Shawn Elliott interim head coach for the remaining six regular season games on the Gamecocks schedule. Spurrier leaves the team with a 2-4 record, 0-4 in the SEC.

The 1966 Heisman Trophy winner, Spurrier was in the midst of his 11th season as the Gamecocks head coach.

“I didn’t plan on going out this way,” Spurrier said. “I planned on being on the shoulder pads of the team coming out of the Georgia Dome with an SEC Championship and that didn’t work out. I think the team needs to hear a new message, a new voice, from another coach. I think I was probably the right coach for this job 11 years ago, but I’m not today.”

In 10-and-a-half seasons at South Carolina Spurrier compiled an 86-49 record. He became South Carolina’s winngest football coach with his 65th victory, beating Clemson in the final game of the 2012 season. Rex Enright held the record to that point.

He’d previously been the head coach at Duke and Florida, and has a career record of 228-89-2, placing him 19th in all-time college football wins. He’s second, behind Alabama coach Bear Bryant, in SEC wins, with 208. While at Florida, Spurrier won six SEC titles. He was named SEC Coach of the Year seven times. He also coached at the professional level: three years with the USFL Tamp Bay Bandits and two years with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. He played 10 years as a backup quarterback in the NFL, nine for the San Francisco 49ers and his final season (1976) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All three college programs Spurrier headed were struggling before his arrival. Spurrier took them all to conference championships (Duke in 1989, Florida six times in the SEC, South Carolina in 2010), and Florida won the national championship in 1996. Fans at USC will remember him for bringing the Gamecocks their first 11-win season (three times), its first SEC title, a five-game winning streak against in-state rival Clemson, and its first win over a No. 1-ranked team.

“I really think the one that I personally like was the 18 straight home wins,” Spurrier said. “Eighteen straight at home was a school record, and that was pretty special I think, and our fans had so much to do with that one.”

“He changed our culture, our champion mentality and became the winningest coach in the history of the program,” Tanner said. “We are honored and blessed that Coach Spurrier has been with us for this length of time and has made such an impact on this school and our athletics department. He has been an inspiration to us all. He’s been a great friend to all of us and a great colleague.”

“I am resigning, I’m not retiring,” Spurrier said. “Get that part straight. I doubt if I’ll ever be a head coach again, maybe coach a high-school team or something. I won’t say I’ve retired completely from coaching. Who knows what will come in the future?”

 

Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach, resignation, Heisman Trophy winner

Spurrier and the Gators v. Georgia, 1966.

Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle