Of course it started with that quip.
Steve Spurrier, less than a week removed from his resignation at South Carolina, had to open his stint on Saturday’s College GameDay on ESPN with a reminder of the time he answered the news a library fire at Auburn that destroyed 20 books with pity 15 had not yet been colored.
“Oh, that was just a corny old joke,” Spurrier said to laughter on the set.
The former Head Ball Coach was on for a few segments and reiterated his explanations for why and when he left. He noted that if he announced he’d be gone at the end of the year, he’d lose accountability from players, and assistants, knowing they’d be out at season’s end, would be distracted looking for the next job.
“I think I’ve sort of planned for this day the last several years,” Spurrier said. “Five, six, seven, who knows? But our team just wasn’t doing very well, 2-4. And I really thought it was my fault.
“I’m ready for life after coaching.”
He spent a segment helping break down Michigan-Michigan State. He pointed out Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh inherited a top-flight defense, much like Spurrier when he took the helm at Florida in 1990. He also talked about using two quarterbacks in relation to Ohio State’s current situation.
Asked about the changes in the game of college football, Spurrier noted he’d spent much of his career advocating for a playoff and for players to get more money. With the cost-of-attendance stipends, both have come to pass in some way.
He also had an interesting take on the status of preventing injuries, especially collisions to the head.
“We wiped that out pretty good right now,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier also joined in at the end as the show’s weekly guest picker, taking Florida over LSU, Michigan over Michigan State and Texas A&M over Alabama. When it came time to pick USC (Southern Cal) against Notre Dame, Spurrier said, “Well, first of all, they got it wrong. USC is playing Vandy. I’m going with the Gamecocks over Vandy.”
Spurrier got the glowing, warm career retrospective one expects from ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. Fielding media questions was often Spurrier’s best arena, but when Lee Corso asked about what the coach wanted his legacy to be, he could only deflect.
“That’s up to you guys,” Spurrier said.