Ray Tanner never has had the proverbial “list in a drawer” where all his potential head coaching hires are scribbled, and he has no profile he thinks South Carolina’s football coach must fit, he said Tuesday.
“I think you can draw it up with a certain age and a certain amount of experience, but that’s a perfect world and we don’t necessarily live in that. I will look at all the different factors that go into it, but I’m going to try to find the best person that fits here at the University of South Carolina that can take us forward.”
Integrity, passion and the perceived ability to take South Carolina’s program to a level to which it never has been before all will be factors, Tanner said. What Tanner is looking for the most is a “feeling” that a potential coach can put down successful roots in Columbia, he said after Steve Spurrier announced he is resigning immediately from the Gamecocks’ head coaching position.
“For me, I think that having been a former coach, I will get a feel that this person is going to fit well here,” Tanner said. “We are going to get a highly qualified coach. I don’t know that you can have a job description or go, ‘This is the main factor.’ We are going to have high-caliber candidates for this job.”
The Gamecocks, who will use a search firm to assist in finding Spurrier’s replacement, have not reached out to potential candidates beyond naming offensive line coach Shawn Elliott to the interim head coaching position.
“We have not gone down that road,” he said. “There, obviously, is a timetable. I just chose not to share that with you.”
The Feb. 3 national signing day will figure heavily into the timing of the new hire, Tanner said.
Elliott will be given a chance to earn the job permanently, Tanner said.
“It’s my job to evaluate all the time, and I’ve done that, and I’ll continue to do that,” Tanner said.
Spurrier will play no role in picking his successor, the former coach said.
“I want to have no involvement,” Spurrier said. “That’s not up to the former coach. I just don’t believe it should be. It’s up to the president or if he has a search committee or we’ll see how Shawn does.”
Spurrier does believe the next coach needs to be a strong recruiter, he said.
“College football is a game of recruiting, as we all know,” Spurrier said. “That’s another reason I need to move on.”
Competition for available talent figures to be stiff. Southern Cal, Maryland and Illinois already have fired their coaches and are in the market for new ones, but Tanner believes his job stacks up favorably with any.
“There’s a lot of positives,” he said. “I am not going to worry about the other jobs that are open. I am going to go after the best candidate. If it turns out not to be Shawn Elliott, I am going after the best candidate possible.”
Spurrier was paid $4 million annually.
“We don’t have the biggest budget in the Southeastern Conference. We are doing very well, our revenue is in a pretty good case, but there will certainly be limitations,” Tanner said. “We will be very competitive in what we do as far as the marketplace is concerned.”