Steve Spurrier arrived at South Carolina in 2005 to try and win an SEC Championship, something the Gamecocks have never done.
The challenge was invigorating for the former Florida Gator and coming off an unsuccessful stint with the Washington Redskins, was a much-needed return to relevance back in the college ranks. On the heels of three straight 11-win campaigns, the Head Ball Coach says he feels fine at 69 heading into his 10th season and envisions another five years with the Gamecocks as his last stop if his health permits.
According to Wes Mitchell of 247Sports, Spurrier told those in attendance at Wednesday’s Gamecock Club Fan Fest just outside of Myrtle Beach, S.C., that passing Rex Enright as the program’s winningest coach during the 2012 season came earlier than expected and the program’s recent rise has reignited the fire a bit.
“I had hoped to go 8-10 (years when I got here), because I said one of my goals was to be the winningest coach — only 64 (wins) — had to get 65,” Spurrier said. “It looked like it was going to take about 12 years to do it, then all of a sudden we started winning 11. We started getting better players, and the facilities got better. The fans are super. It’s good football in our state.”
Over 12 seasons at Florida, Spurrier captured six SEC Championships, one national title and five conference coach of the year honors. He resigned in 2001 to test his offensive prowess in the NFL before giving that up two years later, leaving $15 million worth of contract dollars on the table following a 5-11 season.
If he does coach the Gamecocks five more years until 2018, it’ll be the longest tenure he’s spent on one sideline during his career. Georgia’s Mark Richt is the SEC’s current leader in that category after taking over the Bulldogs in 2001.
“Going into (Year)10? I think it depends on if you want to go anywhere else — see, I don’t want to go anywhere else now,” Spurrier said Wednesday. “I could go between 10 and 15 (years) maybe. But if you want to go somewhere else, then you ought to go 10-12 then go somewhere else 10-12.”
Spurrier is 77-39 at South Carolina, a mark that features four bowl wins in eight tries. Before Spurrier took over, the Gamecocks had just three bowl victories in their history — all coming since 1995.
Everyone outside of Clemson hopes Spurrier coaches many more years, in part because he delivers unforgettable one-liners. When asked about SEC scheduling this week, Spurrier took the opportunity to take a jab at Tennessee.
“Alabama and Tennessee like each other. I don’t know why Tennessee would keep liking them though.”
Don’t ever change, Steve.
Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports