USC Gamecocks Football

Spurrier ‘happy’ about one of the new coaches hired in the SEC

Former USC football coach Steve Spurrier reflects his recent resignation from his position at the University of South Carolina.
Former USC football coach Steve Spurrier reflects his recent resignation from his position at the University of South Carolina. online@thestate.com

Steve Spurrier is taking this ambassador position seriously.

The former South Carolina Gamecocks football coach took to social media Sunday night to roll out the red carpet for the new coach at one of the other universities where Spurrier served as the HBC.

“On behalf of former Gator players and Gators everywhere, we want to welcome Dan Mullen as our new coach here at the University of Florida,” said Spurrier who won a Heisman Trophy playing at Florida before winning a national championship as the Gators coach.

These days, Spurrier serves as an ambassador for Florida, and was one of the first to publicly show their support for Mullen, the former Florida assistant coach who led Mississippi State to an 8-4 record this season.

Mullen spent nine seasons in Starkville, going 69–46 with seven winning seasons and a pair of top-25 finishes. Before that, he won a pair of national titles as offensive coordinator at Florida and was part of Urban Meyer’s staff as far back as 2001 at Bowling Green and Utah.

“Obviously with his success at Mississippi State and plus his time here with Urban Meyer, championships that they had here, he is well prepared to get us back into one of the top-10 programs in the country and competing for SEC championships,” Spurrier said. “So Dan, we’re happy to have you back at the University of Florida.”

Winning championships is something Spurrier knows a lot about. In addition to winning the 1996 national championship as the Gators’ coach, Spurrier won six SEC championships and won the East Division eight times. That includes in 2010, when he guided the Gamecocks to the SEC Eastern Division championship for the first time in school history.

Spurrier coached collegiality for 26 years at Duke, Florida and South Carolina, compiling a 228-89-2 record. He led the Gamecocks to three consecutive 11-win seasons and was 86-49 in 10 1/2 years at the school, quitting midway through the 2015 season.

During his welcome speech to Mullen, Spurrier might have been subtly letting the new coach how high the bar of expectations is raised.

While speaking to a camera, wearing a bright-yellow shirt, Spurrier sat in front of a bookcase that had a picture on it as well. It was a photo of a scoreboard that read, “Gators 35, Bama 0.”

Expectations continue to be high around the SEC.

In addition to Mullen, another coach was reportedly hired by an SEC school Sunday, while another was fired. According to reports, Tennessee also hired a former Meyer assistant, naming Greg Schiano to replace Butch Jones as the Volunteers head coach.

Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin and will be looking for a new coach, as well as Mississippi State. Don’t expect to see Spurrier’s name on the list of possible candidates.

Spurrier has made it clear he won’t be putting his trademark visor and headset back on as a head coach – ever.

“I don’t want to be a head coach. There’s too much involved with the head coach,” Spurrier said in October, leaving open the possibility of coaching quarterbacks on some level. “If it’s a high school, or junior, well they don’t have junior highs anymore. Just high school, or somewhere there to coach quarterbacks and pitch the ball around. That might be something, something I want to do again. It would just have to be the right situation.”

Spurrier said too much has changed in college football since he got started in coaching in the 1980s. Although he helped revolutionize the game, especially during his tenure at Florida in the 1990s, time waits for no man. Not even the HBC.

“Major college ball, these guys, they work 11 months of the year now,” said Spurrier, who was known to enjoy as much time on the golf course as the film room. “It’s so different than it was, in the 90s, and even in the 2000s as far as the total amount of hours these guys work.”

After leaving the sidelines at Williams-Brice Stadium, Spurrier had been hired as an “ambassador” in Columbia. But he ultimately returned to Florida in the same capacity.

Former Duke, South Carolina, and Florida football coach Steve Spurrier talks with reporters during his visit to his old stompin' grounds in Durham.

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