USC Gamecocks Football

Spurrier to get paid through the end of the year

USC head football coach Steve Spurrier announced his resignation during a press conference in Williams-Brice Stadium on Tuesday.
USC head football coach Steve Spurrier announced his resignation during a press conference in Williams-Brice Stadium on Tuesday. tdominick@thestate.com

The University of South Carolina will pay former football coach Steve Spurrier, who resigned Monday, through the end of 2015, Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner said Friday.

That means Spurrier will receive his full $4 million pay for the year. Based on his annual pay, the former Gamecocks coach is scheduled to collect more than $900,000 through the end of the year.

Asked why Spurrier was being paid when most workers who leave their jobs would not receive paychecks, Tanner said: “All circumstances are different, especially in collegiate athletics with major college coaches.”

Tanner declined to say if Spurrier asked to be paid or if the Gamecocks offered to keep paying their former coach, whose contract runs through 2018.

Spurrier, who left after the Gamecocks started the season with a 2-4 record, has said he plans to stay in the Columbia area. He said he would take the rest of the season to empty his office at Williams-Brice Stadium.

A college coach resigning mid-season or in the middle of their contract is unusual. How often those coaches who resign continue to be paid is unclear.

Coaches usually get some of their pay if they are fired in the middle of their contract.

University of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall will receive more than $4 million after he was let go Sunday, The Washington Post reported. USC basketball coach Darrin Horn received more than $2 million remaining on his contract after he was fired in the 2011-12 season.

Coaches fired for misconduct usually don’t receive any salary or severance. Illinois refused to pay football coach Tim Beckman after firing him in August over allegations that he encouraged injured players to avoid medical care.

Tanner said he confirmed his plans to keep paying Spurrier with USC president Harris Pastides on Friday.

Pastides said Tanner did not need his permission to pay the school’s most-winning football coach for the reminder of the year.

“There are multiple ways to look at it,” Pastides said. “Ray made that (decision) as a fiscally prudent administrator.”

Tanner said some other additional costs are coming to the Gamecocks football program.

▪  He plans to offer pay raises to a pair of USC assistant coaches promoted in the wake of Spurrier’s departure.

Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was named interim head coach, and offensive quality-control coach Travelle Wharton took over as offensive live coach.

Elliott, a Camden native who also was co-offensive coordinator before his promotion, now is paid $430,000 a year. Wharton, a former Gamecock who played for a decade in the NFL, now makes $60,000, according to the state salary database.

▪  USC’s athletic department also will need to figure out how to make up an anticipated $2 million loss due to moving its Oct. 10 home game against LSU to Baton Rouge, La., after the historic rainstorm in Columbia, Tanner said.

Spurrier, 70, stepped down this week, blaming himself for the team’s poor start and saying he had become a liability in recruiting new players.

Coming off his third straight 11-win season, Spurrier received a $700,000 raise before the 2014 season to boost his salary to $4 million. He was the 15th-highest paid college football coach in the nation this season, according to a data collected by USA Today.

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