Steve Spurrier Headed to South Carolina

Spurrier headed to South Carolina, announcement next week (Nashville Tennessean)

The ol’ head ball coach is on his way back to the Southeastern Conference — just not where everyone expected. Steve Spurrier, who guided Florida to six SEC championships and a national championship in his 12 years in Gainesville, has agreed in principle to take over at South Carolina for Lou Holtz as the Gamecocks’ head coach, a source close to the situation told The Tennessean last night. One potential snag in the agreement could be if Holtz, 67, has a change of heart and decides at the last minute not to retire. Spurrier has also been known to change his mind, although he’s made it clear to South Carolina that the Gamecocks’ job is the one he wants.

An announcement is expected early next week. South Carolina ends its regular season Saturday at rival Clemson. Holtz has been non-committal about his future, although yesterday on the SEC coaches’ teleconference he made reference to his final game at Notre Dame when discussing the distractions of this week.

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Spurrier and Holtz are close friends, and Holtz has openly endorsed Spurrier as somebody the Gamecocks should pursue if Holtz decides to step down at the end of this season. ”I’ve talked to Steve,” Holtz said earlier this week. ”I don’t want to go in that direction, but I have talked to him. We talked about how you cure a slice, his son, etc. Steve’s a good friend of mine, as I said. All I want to talk about is Clemson, Clemson, Clemson. That’s all. That’s the only thing on my mind.”

Spurrier’s shadow has hovered over the SEC all season, although most thought he would end up back at Florida after Ron Zook was fired Oct. 25. In the end, though, Spurrier was disinterested in having to go through a full-fledged interview process with the Gators and pulled his name out of consideration two weeks ago. He has been out of coaching for the last year after going just 12-20 in two years as the Washington Redskins coach.

When this rumor first surfaced, I was perplexed, as Lou Holtz is one of the most respected coaches in the game and has done well at South Carolina. So long as Holtz is bowing out on his own, though, this makes a lot of sense to me. Spurrier is easily the best currently available coach, if not the best college coach, period. Going back home to Florida was the obvious move, and one I expected once Zook was fired, but there was really nothing for Spurrier to gain in doing that. He already turned the Gators into a premier program, won several SEC titles, and the mythical national championship.

(via Jeff Quinton)

Update (1108):

ESPN has confirmed a report in the Nashville Tennessean that Spurrier, who won a national title and six SEC championships in 12 seasons at Florida, has agreed in principle to be the next coach of the Gamecocks.

Update (11-23): It’s official: Back to school time for ol’ ball coach (ESPN – AP)

Steve Spurrier was hired at South Carolina on Tuesday after the school trustees’ executive board approved a seven-year deal worth $1.25 million a season for the former Florida coach.
Spurrier, who replaces the retiring Lou Holtz, returns to college football after a three-year absence. He was coach of the Washington Redskins for two seasons after leaving Florida, going 12-20 before resigning. Spurrier won the 1996 national championship and six Southeastern Conference titles while with the Gators, and also went 10-0 against the Gamecocks.

The ol’ ball coach met with the team Tuesday morning. Players said Spurrier told them he wanted to bring fun back to the game.

Athletic director Mike McGee presented details of the contract to the trustees. “Maybe we’re prejudiced now for Steve Spurrier,” McGee said. “That wasn’t always the case.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rick says:

    Holtz is tired of coaching and wanted to leave last year , but did not want to leave on a losing season. This year he has Carolina in a bowl and with most of the players coming back. Lou Holtz and now Spurrier, we should be in for a heck of a ride in Columbia!!!!!

  2. Dodd says:

    FARK put this best: “It’s official: Spurrier is a Cock”.

  3. Dusitn Williams says:

    WE NEED YOU STEVE!!!!!!!!!!! Im depressed, saddend, and actualy about to cry right now ove what has been going on…I CANT STAND THE GAMECOCKS and for my favorite coach of alltime to go there would be HEART BREAKING. I WANT MY “OL’BAll COACH” BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Mike Chumley says:

    I am very excited about Spurrier coming to South Carolina. I hated him at Florida, liked him at Washington and now Love him at South Carolina. It’s amazing how your allegience changes when someone that is a great coach moves to a different location. Go Cocks!