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Scott Spurrier: Coaching is in his name

Scott Spurrier
Scott Spurrier

In the coming months, after he graduates from South Carolina, the easiest thing for Scott Spurrier would be to move to a remote area of the country where people aren't as familiar with his surname.

The easiest thing would involve taking a job that has little or nothing to do with sports - especially not football.

Easier because the Spurrier name comes with awe, sure, but it also comes with responsibility, a microscope and an added bit of pressure.

But Spurrier never has shied from that, so why would he start now?

No, the 22-year-old son of Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier wants to stay here and get into - what else? - the family biz.

"It's in my blood," Scott said recently. "It's awesome, man, just to be part of this and see the program grow."

The plan for Scott is to perhaps latch on as a USC graduate assistant and begin the climb toward becoming a coach - as his dad did and as his older brother, Gamecocks receivers coach Steve Jr., did.

Scott will start with an internship at Airport High.

"It's amazing. It's what he's always wanted," said Jerri, Scott's mom and Steve's wife. "It's always surprised me. He just loves it. He loves every part of it."

Scott watched as his dad built Florida into a powerhouse. Looking back, he said he took that consistent success for granted. He realizes now that winning is tough; winning big is even tougher.

The Spurrier family learned that lesson when Steve took the Washington Redskins job.

That was during Scott's high school years in Loudoun County, Va., just outside D.C.

After going 12-20 in two seasons, Spurrier hit eject on his NFL experiment following the 2003 campaign.

Suddenly, Scott's dad was around a lot more in 2004.

"He was driving my mom crazy," Scott said.

Out of nowhere, Steve stopped Scott in the house one day and asked him what he thought of South Carolina. Scott said he didn't know much about it.

That week - as Steve went to talk with then-athletics director Mike McGee, then-coach Lou Holtz and the Gamecocks' brass - Scott watched in horror as USC and Clemson brawled on the football field.

Clearly, things weren't nearly as bad as they seemed that day, but Steve had his work cut out for him when he took the job in November 2004.

Scott wasn't entirely sold on the program, nor on the idea of living in Columbia, so he chose to play at Charleston Southern.

Not long after he had gotten there, Steve and Steve Jr. talked Scott into joining the family at USC.

Scott transferred and walked on to the team in 2006. Where did the time go?

"It went by fast," he said. "Feels like I just walked out there for the first time."

As a 5-foot-7 receiver with average speed, Scott wasn't going to win a Heisman as his dad did at Florida in 1966. He knew that.

But Scott still thought he could make himself into an SEC player. He thought he could have a role, however small, in the program's progress.

Last season, first-year special teams coach Ray Rychleski took a shine to Scott. Undersized as Scott was, Rychleski regularly involved him in some of the coverage and return teams.

This season, Scott was included in some of Shane Beamer's special teams plans. Spurrier also made his first career catch - a 13-yarder late in the victory against Florida Atlantic.

"He's got some toughness to him," Beamer said. "He won't back down from anybody. He'll fight you and compete. From that standpoint, you wish you had more guys like him."

Steve said he is to the point where, on the field, he thinks of Scott as a player first, a son second.

He said Tuesday he appreciates Scott's contributions for four years.

"He's one of the guys," Steve said. "He and so many of these players understand their roles. Hopefully as coaches we treat all the walk-ons, the backup players, as if they're very important. Because they are. Every player is important, and every player has a role on the team.

"He's fulfilled his role nicely, as have so many other of our players."

Beamer understands what it is like to be the son of a high-profile coach.

After high school, Beamer decided to walk on to Frank Beamer's established Virginia Tech team.

Teammates - heck, even coaches - might not have made jokes about Shane to his face, but he could feel the skepticism.

Walk-ons have to earn their way more than scholarship players. But a walk-on who is the coach's kid? Phew.

"You don't want to be seen as getting any kind of favoritism because of who you are," Beamer said. "My dad and I went out of our way not to let anybody think that was going on."

Scott earned acceptance from the Gamecocks the past two seasons. He even earned a scholarship this fall.

"I was limited athletically," said Beamer, who is a bit bigger than Scott. "But I'd do what was asked of me and hopefully bring a little bit of something to the team.

"The most important thing for me wasn't the playing time. It was having the respect of my teammates. The players on this team, they respect Scotty for what he's about and who he is."

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