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Taneyhill's Gamecocks glory still follows him

DUNCAN | The Chesterfield football coach called two area restaurants recently to check the availability of feeding his team there.

He was asked his name. The reply on the line's other end wasn't unusual. "Are you the same "

Steve Taneyhill didn't let the question get finished before he responded. Yes, he's the same quarterback who led the South Carolina Gamecocks in the mid-90s.

He's often recognized, even though "I've put on a few pounds and don't have the hair," he said.

The long hair may be gone, but he still has the fiery demeanor on the field.

Taneyhill and his team were in town recently playing in the Byrnes National 7-on-7 Passing Tournament.

With the sleeves to his T-shirt rolled up, Taneyhill is on the sideline coaching the Rams with plenty of enthusiasm.

The kids seem to enjoy and revel in him. And his coaching style has worked in the small town.

"We may not be big, but we're quick," he said.

In eight years of being a head coach, Taneyhill's teams have played in five state championship games. Three were at Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, an eight-man football team with current Tampa Bay Buccaneer and former Clemson Tiger Gaines Adams on the team.

He's had to convert a few Clemson fans to like and give a Gamecock a chance as a coach.

"There's always going to be people who don't like me because I played at USC," he said. "I'm not going to worry about that."

His players don't mind. Most of them don't remember Taneyhill running down the field with his arms raised high, hair flowing out the back of his helmet after a South Carolina score.

When higher-profile high school coaching jobs came open last season, Taneyhill's name was brought up often.

Leaving Chesterfield, though, wasn't in his plans. He has 19 players coming back from a team that won the title last season, his coaching staff has stayed intact and the fan base has grown.

He took the Chesterfield job and told school officials he'd improve the program in three years.

"I'm not ready to leave when things are going so well," he said.