The University of South Carolina announced on Thursday that former head football coach Steve Spurrier will be inducted into the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame on April 2, 2020.
Spurrier is the headlining inductee of the Class of 2020 that includes Art Baker, Robert Porcher, Willie Scott, and Charlie Waters.
— TheBigSpur.com (@TheBigSpur247) February 27, 2020
Spurrier began his tenure at South Carolina in 2005 after coaching at Duke University and his alma mater, University of Florida, and racked up a total of 228 all-time wins as a collegiate head football coach between the three schools. He unexpectedly retired midseason in 2015 and returned to Florida in a non-coaching capacity.
Spurrier’s football career began in 1964 as a quarterback for the University of Florida and in 1966, Spurrier won the coveted Heisman Award. He posted 392-of-692 completed attempts for 4,848 yards, 36 touchdowns and 31 interceptions for a 123.7 rating in his collegiate career.
He was then drafted third overall by the San Francisco 49ers and played nine seasons with them, plus one for Tampa Bay before retiring in 1976.
Following his NFL retirement, Spurrier returned to Florida to coach the quarterbacks under head coach Doug Dickey, then went on to take the quarterback coach position at Georgia Tech, and became the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Duke from 1980-1982. Spurrier left the college coaching scene in 1982 when he became the youngest head coach in professional football history as the head coach for the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League, which dissolved three years later.
Spurrier returned to Duke in 1987, this time as the head football coach, and was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989 amongst many other accolades and achievements. it was at the end of 1989 Spurrier accepted the head coaching position at his alma mater, the University of Florida.
During Spurrier’s time as the head coach at Florida, he was named the SEC Coach of the Year five times, led the Gators to six SEC Championships, a National Championship in 1996. Also, during his 12-year tenure, the Gators won at least nine games every season, and the team was ranked in the final top 15 every year of his 12-year tenure with Florida.
Spurrier, commonly known as HBC, the head ball coach, resigned unexpectedly from Florida in 2002 and then tried his hand at coaching in the NFL. Spurrier signed a five-year $25 million contract with the Washington Redskins but resigned the next year following a 7-9 season.
In 2004, South Carolina head football coach, Lou Holtz announced his retirement, and following months of speculation of where Spurrier was headed next, he signed a seven-year contract at $1.25 million per year. His final coaching gig, the head coach at the University of South Carolina started the following year with the 2005 college football season. In his first season at South Carolina, he led the Gamecocks to a 7-5 record and a trip to the Independence Bowl.
In the ten and a half seasons to follow, Spurrier continued to add to his accolades, including becoming the Gamecocks’ most winningest coach. In 2010 the Gamecocks won the SEC Eastern Division Championship for the first time in school history. The 2010 team also boasted their first win at Florida, the first win over a no. one ranked opponent, and it was the first time the Gamecocks beat Tennessee, Florida, and Clemson in the “orange crush” portion of the schedule. Spurrier posted winning seasons (except the 6-6 2007 season) during his tenure at South Carolina, including the first 11-win season in school history in 2011. Many South Carolina players such as Jadeveon Clowney, Alshon Jeffrey, and Dylan Thompson have gone on to have successful NFL careers.
On October 12, 2015, Spurrier caused shockwaves when he unexpectedly announced his resignation from South Carolina, effective immediately. This followed much speculation he would leave following a disappointing 2014 season, but to recruit he said he would be around “five or six more years,” that was in July of 2015. At the time of Spurrier’s resignation, the Gamecocks were 2-4 and Spurrier took it upon himself to shoulder the blame for the poor playing, and decided it was time for him to leave. Athletic Director Ray Tanner named co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Shawn Elliott as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Gamecocks finished the 2015 season 3-9, only winning one more game, against Vanderbilt at home. Will Muschamp, the former head coach of Florida, was hired as the program’s new head coach and has a record of 26-25 going into the 2020 season.
Coach Spurrier left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Gamecocks faithful because of how he resigned from the team. Many felt he quit on his young players and not only let them down but also the entire South Carolina community. Many fans still hold a grudge against Spurrier, despite all of the success he brought to the University, and some can’t give credit where credit is due; both sides of the argument hold validity. However, personal feelings aside and removed, one can’t legitimately deny he deserves and earned his enshrinement in the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame.