Shawn Elliott got a taste of being a head coach last season when he served as the interim at South Carolina after Steve Spurrier’s in-season resignation. Now he gets his shot at being the full-time guy.
The former Gamecocks offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator was introduced as the head coach at Georgia State during a press conference Friday morning in Atlanta.
Elliott said he believes his experiences throughout his coaching career, including his time as the interim coach with the Gamecocks, have prepared him to run his own program.
“There were a lot of great experiences that will lead me to become a better leader, better head coach,” Elliott said. “It was a tremendous honor, one that I did not take lightly, and a lot of experience that I’m going to use to build this program to where it needs to be.”
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Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb said Elliott running the Gamecocks program the second half of last season played a big role in his decision to hire the Camden native.
Cobb interviewed 11 candidates from across the country before choosing Elliott.
“It’s important the period of time he had to be the interim head coach at South Carolina,” Cobb said. “It’s a pressure cooker being a coach in the SEC, and you watch how he handled adversity. It’s easy to handle situations when everything’s great and wonderful, it’s handling adversity, and to be a position coach and then the next day he’s a head coach and all the responsibilities and all of the things that come with it. ... At the end it was one of those things where it became pretty clear to me.”
Elliott spent seven years at South Carolina, working under Spurrier for 5 1/2 seasons before being the only coach retained by Will Muschamp when Muschamp was hired this past December.
Even though Elliott only spent one season with Muschamp, he said it was a valuable one.
“It was a great opportunity to work under him and see his guidance and his focus,” Elliott said. “It really was an honor to be retained there at South Carolina after being the head coach. It was a fantastic experience and something that I will always value.”
Elliott expressed interest in being a head coach to Muschamp and the Gamecocks head coach was supportive while offering advice.
“Be yourself,” Elliott said of what Muschamp told him. “So many people try to fake their way in this business. Just be yourself. Go out there and let people see who you are. Don’t hide behind something. That’s probably the best advice. Don’t change who you are.”
In addition to receiving support from Muschamp, Elliott also received well wishes from several of his former players, whether through phone calls or social media.
Former Gamecock greats Patrick DiMarco, Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw were among those who wished Elliott well.
“It’s amazing just to have the feedback from those guys,” Elliott said. “Everyone that we come across, somehow, some way, we try to make a difference in their life. Just to see those things come back on social media and the phone calls just lets you know that you did it.”