Josh Kendall

‘The progress is very clear’: South Carolina nears new deal with Muschamp

Given the coaching landscape in many places across the country, at least one USC Board of Trustees member is thankful for the stability of South Carolina’s football program.

“I’d hate to be in the market right now,” Chuck Allen, a former Gamecocks football player who has served on the BOT since 2008, told The State. “It’s nice to have the security and stability that we have right now. I think we will benefit from that, and hopefully benefit from some of the instability at other places. I would hope that would help our recruiting a little bit. Being stable at this time in the Eastern Division is a very positive thing.”

South Carolina officials still are hoping to increase that stability by giving head coach Will Muschamp a raise and a contract extension in the near future. Muschamp’s new deal, which is expected to raise his salary to between $3.4 million and $3.6 million annually and extend for six years, could be finalized as early as this weekend, a source told The State last month.

“It’s obvious and clear that the trajectory of the program is moving upward as we have seen,” Allen said Tuesday. “When he was hired we had just won three games. Last year we won six. This year we won eight. That doesn’t mean we are where we want to be. We want to get back to top 10 finishes and being a true contender for the Eastern Division. That’s where we need to get to, but the progress is very clear.”

Muschamp is 14-11 in two seasons since taking over after the 3-9 2015 season. The Gamecocks are 8-4 this season and headed to play against Michigan (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.

“It was a real challenge when he first arrived,” Allen said. “It was a real challenge to go out and win games at that point in time. He and that coaching staff between the coaching and recruiting have done an outstanding job in my judgment.”

As Allen surveys a college football landscape in which fellow SEC member Texas A&M just gave Jimbo Fisher a 10-year contract worth $75 million, he worries about the ever-increasing salaries demanded by college football coaches.

“It just puts everyone at a loss as to how you tamp down as the numbers continue to increase,” he said. “There is no method that I know of to do that. I think it’s clear that the salaries are just exorbitant. That’s what the market bears at this time apparently. You’re just at a loss for what you can do when the market is bearing that kind of money.”