South Carolina and Steve Spurrier agreed to a new contract Monday that would keep the Gamecocks football coach in place until he’s 72 years old, and Spurrier told The State he might just finish out the deal.
Spurrier’s two-year extension, which takes his contract through the 2017 season, was suggested by athletic director Ray Tanner and approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees during an afternoon conference call.
“Who knows?” Spurrier said. “A lot of people tell me, ‘You’ll be there five years. What else are you going to do?’ I sort of stop and think, ‘Heck, you may be right.’ All I know is when I was 55, I never thought I’d be coaching even in my 60s. Then you get to be 65. I don’t see how retirement is all that much fun. I can’t see that right now. So we’ll keep pushing this thing, maybe we can win us an SEC (championship) the next two or three years.”
Spurrier, 67, will not receive a raise as part of this new deal. He is set to make around $3.3 million annually for the life of the deal. Spurrier, who is one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in college football, told Tanner and university president Harris Pastides he did not need a raise, he said.
“I’m already embarrassed by how much I make,” he said. “I tell some people that and they say, ‘You don’t need to be embarrassed if you look around and see what some of those other coaches are making,’ but I am. I don’t need to make anymore. It’s plenty.”
Tanner is “very optimistic” Spurrier will remain at South Carolina for the life of the deal, he said Monday.
“I know he’s not as young as he once was, but he’s in better shape than a lot of guys are who are a lot younger,” Tanner said. “He’s doing great and he feels good and he loves coaching football as much as any coach I’ve ever been around in any sport.”
Spurrier became the school’s all-time winningest football coach with South Carolina’s 27-17 victory over Clemson on Nov. 24. He is 65-37 at the school, and 207-77-2 as a collegiate head coach. Spurrier’s 122 wins in SEC games are more than any coach in history other than Alabama’s Bear Bryant.
He reiterated Monday that his retirement, whenever it comes, will not be a drawn-out affair.
“When I leave, it’s going to be, ‘Bang,’ ” he said. “When it feels like the right time or there is something else I want to do or this, that and the other. Who knows, it may go bad. If it starts going bad, they will need somebody else here. And don’t think it can’t go bad. Look at that Auburn situation. Two years after going 14-0, (coach Gene Chizik) is gone. I know it can go bad. You have to have that in the back of your mind, it can go bad if you sit around and watch everybody pass you up.”
The reason for approving a new contract this week is recruiting, which is in full swing this month. Having five years on his contract allows Spurrier to tell recruits that he could be at the school throughout their collegiate career.
“It sometimes can be difficult in the recruiting process when you have less than four or five years on your contract, and certainly he is deserving of that kind of contract,” Tanner said.
The Gamecocks last two senior classes have each left South Carolina as the winningest classes in school history. South Carolina has won 30 games, and its first SEC Eastern Division title, under Spurrier in the last three years.
“I think everybody recognizes what a great situation we have with our football program right now, on and off the field,” Tanner said. “It’s really the best era we have ever enjoyed, and hopefully it’ll continue.”