As a guy who has been to every home football game at Williams-Brice Stadium for the past 23 years, I have seen it all. Gamecock football has been my oasis and my escape my entire life; I’ve invested countless hours, days, dollars, sweat, tears and even blood in becoming intimately close to the program.
I sat through the mediocre 1990s that saw us ignored by the rest of the country at the hands of Sparky Woods. I saw us become a laughingstock at the hands of Brad Scott as I sat through his 1-10 debacle. Then I sat through Lou Holtz’s first season. We went winless that year, for those who don’t remember. However, we did see the program begin to rise. We became respectable, but we still weren’t players on the national scene.
Then we hired the old Gator coach. The one who used to thrash us on a yearly basis. Say what you want about Spurrier, but coming from a guy who’s been there and seen them all, he showed us things I’d truly never seen and, until they happened, didn’t think possible. We beat more top 25 teams than I can remember. We beat many top 10 teams, several top 5 and even a No. 1 team — with a Heisman Trophy winner playing.
Spurrier took us to nearly as many bowl games as we’d been to throughout the school’s history, winning many. We went from a team of apathy to a program respected and even feared by our biggest foes — Georgia, Clemson and even Tennessee and Florida. Let’s not forget his winning record over the Tigers. And of course everyone remembers the SEC East title in 2010 and the three straight 11-win seasons, culminating in a No. 4 national finish in 2013.
Even more than all that, under Spurrier, we were in nearly every game we played, no matter which opponent we faced. He brought hope, excitement and fun to the game in Columbia — something no other coach has matched in my lifetime. It’s been a long run. A great run.
We’ll get through this and be beating Clemson again before you know it. But until then, all true Gamecocks should remove our hats and raise a glass to Uncle Steve. Thanks Coach.