Should any South Carolina assistants be retained?
If you believe the rumors swirling around the South Carolina coaching search, interim coach Shawn Elliott’s days at the helm of the program are numbered.
Let’s assume for a moment that Elliott is not retained as head coach. A pretty likely result at this point, most believe.
While the enthusiasm and energy from the Gamecocks is noticeably higher than it was under Steve Spurrier, the on-field results have been very much the same. At this point, keeping him in the big office would be a tough sell to fans, boosters and future players.
So, chances are, Elliott and nine other coaches will be looking for new positions by year’s end.
Generally, new coaches like to bring in new coaching staffs. But there is a chance that an assistant or two might be asked to stay. That does happen sometimes.
Let’s run down the list:
Shawn Elliott — A Gamecock man through and through, I think there’s a decent chance that he’s asked to be part of the next coaching staff. He’s popular with the players, and he knows the state well. He could easily slot into a new staff as an offensive or defensive line coach.
Deke Adams (defensive line coach) — The Jadeveon Clowney era ended a couple of seasons ago, and the South Carolina front four has fallen off a bit since then. Some of that is the talent deficit that’s been plaguing the program in recent years, but part of it falls on Adams. I can’t see him coming back.
Kirk Botkin (linebackers coach) — The bright spot of this year’s defense has been Botkin’s unit. Skai Moore is having an all-SEC caliber season and T.J. Holloman has played well in spurts this season as well. I could see a scenario where Botkin is asked to remain on staff.
Jon Hoke (co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs) — His first year in Columbia will likely be his last. The Gamecocks are 12th in scoring defense and dead last in total defense in the SEC. Those numbers don’t light up a resume.
Lorenzo Ward (co-defensive coordinator) — Ward has been in Columbia for seven years, and along with Hoke, he shares the blame for this season’s defensive woes. Fair or unfair, most coaches are only as good as their most recent season.
G.A. Mangus (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/tight ends) — Mangus has been a breath of fresh air (for the most part) since inheriting play-calling duties earlier this season. His work with Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw in recent years deserves mention, too. I think his chances of remaining in Columbia depend on the new coach. If it’s a defensive-minded coach, Mangus’ odds of sticking around will be better.
Joe Robinson (special teams coordinator) — Punting and place kicking have been solid for South Carolina this season. It’s Robinson’s fourth season, and he’s always been solid. He’d be worth a look to a new head coach.
Everette Sands (running backs coach) — Also in his fourth year on staff in Columbia, Sands has done a decent job with Gamecocks running backs in his tenure. He’s also a South Carolina native and a Citadel graduate, so he’s another guy with deep ties to the Palmetto State. I’d say he has a shot.
Steve Spurrier Jr. (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator) — I don’t think a new coach can keep the former coach’s son on staff. That would be a little odd, wouldn’t it? Besides, recruiting has been a sore spot for years now.
Travelle Wharton (offensive line coach) — A new hire this year, Wharton is a South Carolina alum and native. He played for almost a decade in the NFL and, again, knows the state well. Like Elliott, he would likely be a popular retention for a new coach.