'A great 4 years of my life': Gamecocks QB great Dan Reeves reflects
Dan Reeves, 72, started from 1962-64 at South Carolina, winning eight games and being enshrined in the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977. Today he lives in Atlanta after leaving his position as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Q. Why did you decide to settle down in Atlanta?
A. “We had been here to coach the Falcons. Both my wife and I are originally from Georgia, so it was like coming back home. When I got fired by the Falcons, we thought this was a great place to settle down.”
Q. How do you keep up with the Gamecocks?
A. “Well, we a have a Gamecock Club here and I come to the meetings. I have always kept up with them. You certainly always pull for your school. And Steve (Spurrier) made it a lot more fun to pull for them and I’m looking forward to seeing what Will (Muschamp) can do.”
Q. What was your most memorable game at South Carolina?
A. “Oh gosh, I think the first one. We opened up against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. I’ll never forget that (USC lost 37-20). And there always were some good games against Clemson. We finally beat them one time (1964). Coach Marvin Bass was like a second father to me. When I became a head coach, he was one of the first guys I tried to hire. He was always one of those guys who would tell you what you needed to hear and not what you wanted to hear.”
Q. What qualities does a good quarterback need to have?
A. “You have to be a good leader. You don’t ask players on your team to do anything you would not be willing to do. I started three years, so it was a great thrill.”
Q. What kind of quarterback were you?
A. “Well, I did a lot of scrambling. I was called a roll-out quarterback. We had a lot of great players. It’s just a shame we didn’t have a better record than we did.”
Q. How would you describe the USC-Clemson rivalry?
A. “Coming from Georgia, I knew about Georgia against Georgia Tech. I had no idea about the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry. But I learned all about it. I ended up also playing baseball one year and we played at Clemson, too. There was no love lost.”
Q. How would you describe the USC offense when you played?
A. “We played Nebraska my senior year and they were No. 1 in the nation, but we passed for more than 300 yards. (Nebraska won 28-6.) We had to. We got behind early and had to throw. But we had a good running game, too. Kind of a balanced attack.”
Q. Who was your favorite receiver?
A. “J.R. Wilburn, without question. He was a great receiver. He ended up going to the NFL, too. We played against each other. We still stay in touch.”
Q. Who was USC’s best quarterback?
A. “There were so many after I left, it’s hard to pick one. (Steve) Taneyhill did a great job. Jeff (Grantz) was a good one. They’ve had some good ones.”
Q. What are your most memorable games in the NFL?
A. “As a player, the Ice Bowl game (Cowboys vs. Packers at Lambeua Field) is certainly one I will always remember. As a coach, certainly our (Denver’s) 98-yard drive against Cleveland when we came from behind to beat them and made the Super Bowl. And with the Falcons, when we beat the Vikings in Minnesota for the NFC championship sticks out.”
Q. How has the USC campus changed since you were there?
A. “They have made many great improvements. I didn’t even recognize some things. I didn’t recognize the dorm I stayed in. But USC was and is such a great school. That was a great four years of my life.”