USC Gamecocks Football

Finding new coach becomes main focus for Gamecocks

South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner before Saturday’s game.
South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner before Saturday’s game. dmclemore@thestate.com

It’s officially coaching search season at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks’ football season wrapped up Saturday with a 37-32 loss to Clemson, leaving athletic director Ray Tanner to focus on finding a full-time replacement for Steve Spurrier, who resigned midway through the season.

“I would like to have it done by Dec. 10-12, at the latest,” Tanner told The State.

Three names remain at the forefront of South Carolina’s search: Houston coach Tom Herman, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, although another candidate could emerge.

Shawn Elliott finished 1-5 as South Carolina’s interim coach after being promoted following the loss to LSU.

“Let me tell you what, I’m not even thinking about that,” Elliott said after the game. “All I can do is go lay it on the line every time I have the opportunity to lead this football team. That’s not for me to decide, of course. I’m not even worried about it.”

Elliott expects to have “a phone call or a sit down conversation” with Tanner about the job, he said.

“I want to be remembered for the person I am and the person I always will be,” Elliott said. “I’m kind of the same ol’ guy, whether I’m the head coach, the O-line coach or working down the street. I lay it all out there. That’s who I am.”

South Carolina’s next full-time coach will be its third since 1999, following a six-year run by Lou Holtz and 10-and-a-half years from Spurrier. South Carolina’s players met with Tanner last week but didn’t lobby for any particular candidate, quarterback Perry Orth said.

“The only thing the meeting was really about was Coach Tanner wanted to hear what we thought about the situation,” Orth said. “All we can do is just wait and see. Go about our every day life. I know Coach Tanner is going to make the right hire, whoever that may be. I am very, very thankful for all our coaches who gave me the opportunity to play here.”

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