Steve Spurrier

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This article is about the former American football coach and former player. For the British artist, see Steven Spurrier (artist). For the wine writer, see Steven Spurrier (wine merchant).
Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier ESPNWeekend2010-056.jpg
Spurrier at ESPN the Weekend in 2010
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1945-04-20) April 20, 1945 (age 70)
Miami Beach, Florida
Playing career
1963–1966 Florida
1967–1975 San Francisco 49ers
1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position(s) Quarterback, punter[1]
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1978 Florida (QB)
1979 Georgia Tech (QB)
1980–1982 Duke (OC)
1983–1985 Tampa Bay Bandits
1987–1989 Duke
1990–2001 Florida
2002–2003 Washington Redskins
2005–2015 South Carolina
Head coaching record
Overall 228–89–2 (NCAA)
12–20 (NFL)
35–21 (USFL)
Bowls 11–10
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1996)
1 ACC (1989)
6 SEC (1991, 1993–1996, 2000)
8 SEC Eastern Division (1992–1996, 1999–2000, 2010)
As a coach
ACC Coach of the Year (1988, 1989)
SEC Coach of the Year
(1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2005, 2010)
As a player
First-team All-American (1965, 1966)
Heisman Trophy (1966)
UPI Player of the Year (1966)
Walter Camp Memorial Trophy (1966)
SEC Player of the Year (1966)
Florida–Georgia Hall of Fame
University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1986 (profile)

Stephen Orr Spurrier (born April 20, 1945) is an American former football player and coach, having served as the head coach of three college and two professional teams. Spurrier was also noteworthy as a standout college football player, and he later played professionally in the National Football League (NFL).

Spurrier was born in Florida and grew up in Tennessee. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he played for the Florida Gators. Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy winner and two-time All-American quarterback for the Gators and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986. He played professional football for ten seasons during the 1960s and 1970s with the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL.

After retiring as a player, Spurrier served as a college assistant coach before being hired as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League (USFL) in 1983. The Bandits had a successful three-season run but folded along with the USFL after the 1985 season, and Spurrier accepted the head coach position for the Duke Blue Devils, where he led his 1989 squad to the team's first conference championship since 1962 and most recent to date. He returned to the University of Florida to become the Gators' head coach in 1990. From then until 2001, he led the Gators to their first six Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships and first consensus national championship in 1996.

After a brief and largely disappointing tenure as the head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins, Spurrier returned to the college game when he became head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. At South Carolina, he raised the Gamecocks program to new levels of success. Under his watch, the Gamecocks tallied three of their four 10-win seasons in team history, as well as the Gamecocks' only 11-win seasons and top-10 poll finishes. On October 12, 2015, Spurrier announced to his team and staff that he was resigning, effective immediately.[2]

Spurrier compiled more wins than any other coach in the history of the Florida Gator and South Carolina Gamecock football programs. He is also the first Heisman Trophy winner to coach a Heisman Trophy winner.

Playing career[edit]

High school[edit]

Spurrier attended Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee,[3] where he was a three-sport letterman starring in high school football, basketball and baseball for the Science Hill Hilltoppers.[4] In three years as the starting pitcher for Science Hill, he never lost a game and led his team to two consecutive state baseball championships.[4] He was an all-state selection in football, basketball and baseball, and a high school All-American quarterback.[4]

Steve Spurrier (11), two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback of the Florida Gators.


Spurrier in 1965.

After winning multiple all-state honors as a high school quarterback in Tennessee, Spurrier was recruited by several top college programs, but not by the University of Tennessee, because the Volunteers ran a wing-T offense that featured a running quarterback while Spurrier was an excellent passer.[5] He ultimately chose to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida because of "the passing, the SEC, the weather, and coach Ray Graves."[5]

After sitting out his freshman season per NCAA rules at the time, Spurrier became the Gators' starting quarterback at the beginning of his sophomore season in 1964. He kept the position until the end of his senior year in 1966 and led the team to some of the best seasons in program history up to that point.[6] In addition to being a stellar passer, Spurrier gained notoriety by regularly bringing his team back in the fourth quarter. In his first collegiate start, he led the Gators on a successful two-minute drill to beat Ole Miss in Oxford.[7] The most memorable example was during a key 1966 game against Auburn, when he waved off Florida's starting place-kicker and booted a forty-yard field goal to give the Gators a 30–27 victory.[8] This penchant for dramatic comebacks prompted John Logue of the Atlanta Constitution to famously write "Blindfolded, with his back to the wall, with his hands tied behind him, Steve Spurrier would be a two-point favorite at his own execution."[9]

Spurrier and the Gators v. Georgia, 1966.

Spurrier finished his three-year, thirty-one-game college career having completed 392 of 692 attempts, with 4,848 passing yards and 37 touchdowns, breaking numerous school and conference records.[10] In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy and the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy[11] as a senior,[10][12] he was selected as a Football Writers Association of America first-team All-American as a junior in 1965, and a unanimous first-team All-American in 1966.[6][13] He was also the recipient of the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award, recognizing the "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage."[6] In 2006, Spurrier was recognized by The Gainesville Sun as the No. 2 player among the top 100 from the first century of the Gators football program.[14]

National Football League[edit]

The San Francisco 49ers selected Spurrier in the first round (third pick overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft.[15] Spurrier played for the 49ers for nine seasons, mostly as a punter and backup quarterback to John Brodie, before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expansion team for his final NFL season in 1976.[16] He played his best game as an NFL quarterback against the Minnesota Vikings in 1973, when he completed 31 of 48 pass attempts for 320 yards.[10] During his 10-year NFL career, Spurrier played in 106 games, completing 597 passes in 1,151 attempts, for a total of 6,878 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 60 interceptions.[17]

Coaching career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After retiring from the NFL, Spurrier began his coaching career as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Florida under head coach Doug Dickey in 1978, but he was not retained by the new Gators head coach, Charley Pell, when Pell took control of the program the following season.[18] In 1979, he coached the quarterbacks at Georgia Tech under Pepper Rodgers, and worked as an assistant coach and the offensive coordinator at Duke University from 1980 to 1982.[18]

In 1983, Spurrier became the youngest head coach in professional football (37)[19] when he was hired to lead the Tampa Bay Bandits of the new United States Football League (USFL). His Bandits teams were regularly among the league leaders in offense and compiled an overall record of 35–21 over three seasons before the USFL dissolved.[18]

In 1987, Spurrier accepted the head coaching position for the Duke Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).[18] Spurrier proceeded to revive the Blue Devils to levels of success which the team had not realized in over twenty-five years, including Duke's first bowl game appearance since the 1960 Cotton Bowl Classic and a tie for the 1989 ACC championship, Duke's first ACC football title since 1962.[20] After back-to-back winning seasons, Spurrier was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989.[21]

Florida Gators[edit]

On December 31, 1989, the University of Florida announced that Spurrier had accepted its offer to be the head football coach of the Florida Gators.[22][23] He inherited a team under NCAA investigation for the second time in five years,[24] and that had never won an officially recognized Southeastern Conference (SEC) football championship in 57 seasons of SEC play.[25]

Spurrier successfully steered the program away from the previous scandals and led the Gators to the best record in the SEC in his first year. However, they were not eligible for the title due to NCAA probation. Building on that momentum, he captured the Gators' first officially recognized SEC title in 1991.[4][26] Under Spurrier, the Gators won the SEC title in four of the next five years, and represented the SEC East in the first five SEC Championship Games.[4] The 1996 team captured the Gators' first-ever National Championship with a 52–20 win over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl,[27] avenging the Gators' sole regular season loss in which Florida State upset Florida 24–21 in Tallahassee.[4]

Steve Spurrier on Fan Day, 1999

Spurrier's finest moment as a coach may have been the Gators' 1997 game against the previously undefeated and national title game-bound Florida State Seminoles.[28] Spurrier used a two-quarterback offense, rotating quarterbacks Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise in and out of the game, confusing the Florida State defense and its veteran coordinator, Mickey Andrews, and giving Spurrier more time to counsel his quarterbacks on the sidelines without having to use time-outs.[28] Florida upset the heavily favored Seminoles 32–29.[28]

Significantly, Spurrier is credited with changing the way the SEC played football. Spurrier employed a pass-oriented offense (known in the sports media as the "Fun 'n' Gun")[29] in contrast to the ball-control, rush-oriented offenses that were traditionally played in the SEC. His innovative offensive schemes forced many coaches in the SEC to change their offensive and defensive play-calling.

While his offensive style used a more wide open passing game than the SEC was accustomed to, Spurrier was also able to utilize a constant group of talented running backs. Many of them would later go on to have success at the NFL level, including Errict Rhett, Fred Taylor, Terry Jackson, and Earnest Graham.

Spurrier and his Gators accomplished a number of memorable feats during his twelve seasons in Gainesville (1990–2001), including:

  • Won one national championship (1997), and played for another (1996).[4]
  • Won six SEC championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000).[4]
  • Named SEC Coach of the Year five times (1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996).[4]
  • First Heisman Trophy-winner to coach a Heisman Trophy-winner (Danny Wuerffel).[4]
  • Won at least nine games in each of his twelve seasons, one of only three coaches in major college history to do so.[4]
  • Averaged more than ten wins per season.[4]
  • Ranked in the final top fifteen in each of his twelve seasons, including nine top-ten finishes, five final top-five rankings, and an average end-of-season ranking of 6.8.[4]
  • Appeared among the top twenty-five teams in the weekly polls 202 of a possible 203 weeks, including each of his last 202 consecutive weeks. The Gators were ranked number one in the polls twenty-nine times, appeared among the top five team for 117 weeks, and among the nation's top ten teams for 179 weeks.[4]
  • Appeared in a bowl game in each of his last eleven seasons—every season in which the Gators were eligible—one of only five schools to do so during the same time period.[4]
  • Only coach in major college history to win as many as 120 games in his first twelve seasons at one school (an overall record of 122–27–1, with a winning percentage of .8167).[4]
  • One of only two coaches in major college history to win ten or more games in six consecutive seasons (1993–1998).[4]
  • Only college football team to score at least 500 points, including bowl games, for four consecutive years (1993–1996) since the NCAA began keeping statistics in 1937.[4]

Spurrier is also credited with creating the nickname "The Swamp" for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Gators' home field. In the early 1990s, he said, ". . . a swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous. Only Gators get out alive."[30] Soon after becoming head coach, he insisted that the artificial turf then in use at the stadium be replaced with natural grass, and the "Swamp" remains a natural surface field today.[22] During Spurrier's tenure, the Gators built up one of the most formidable home field advantages in the nation; they would not lose a home SEC game until 1994, and would only suffer two more home losses to conference opponents during his 12-year run. Largely due to the formidable home-field advantage Spurrier built, he is by far the winningest coach in Florida history as his 122 wins are 52 more than runner-up Graves.

Spurrier was known for his gamesmanship while coaching Florida, doing such things as giving much-derided Georgia coach Ray Goff the nickname of "Ray Goof."[31][32] His rivalry with the Tennessee Volunteers and their coach Phillip Fulmer became highly publicized, as Spurrier would gig the Volunteers after the Gators' wins over Tennessee, saying that "you can't spell 'Citrus' without 'UT,'" a reference to the Citrus Bowl, which has the contractual right to select the second-place SEC football team. He also said of Peyton Manning, Tennessee's quarterback, "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP!"[31]

Other memorable one-liners from Steve Spurrier included nicknaming rival Florida State University, "Free Shoes University," for the Seminoles' NCAA troubles with recruiting violations.[31]

On January 4, 2002, Spurrier abruptly resigned as head coach, stating, "I simply believe that twelve years as head coach at a major university in the SEC is long enough."[33]

Before Spurrier returned to coach his Gamecocks against the Gators in 2006 and 2008, his most recent visits to Gainesville were on September 2, 2006, to take part in the Gators' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of their 1996 championship season,[34] and on September 30, 2006, when he was one of the first four inductees into the Gator Football Ring of Honor, alongside Danny Wuerffel, Emmitt Smith, and Jack Youngblood.[35] At both appearances, Spurrier received standing ovations from the crowd.[35]

Spurrier retains a deep affection and loyalty for his alma mater, and sometimes still accidentally says "we" when referring to the University of Florida. The feeling is mutual; he remains very much in the good graces of Gator fans for building their program into a perennial national power.[36] When he was inducted into the Gators' "Ring of Honor," Spurrier humbly announced to the sell-out crowd at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium: "I'd just like to thank coach Ray Graves for bringing the skinny kid from Tennessee to the University of Florida."[37]

Spurrier has not let his affection for the University of Florida get in the way of a budding Florida-South Carolina rivalry, however. In 2005, his Gamecocks upset the Gators 30–22 in Columbia, costing the Gators a shot at the SEC championship.[38] And in November 2010, he coached South Carolina to a 36–14 victory in Gainesville (their first ever on Florida Field) in a game that decided the SEC Eastern Division title.[39]

Washington Redskins[edit]

Ten days after Spurrier resigned his position at the University of Florida, he became head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins.[40] Spurrier's five-year, $25 million contract with the Redskins was the most lucrative coaching contract in the history of the NFL at the time.[40]

A fast start to the 2002 season raised hopes for Spurrier's potential success. The Redskins led off the preseason in Japan, where they beat the San Francisco 49ers 38-7 in the American Bowl. The team threw for over 400 yards and was accused of running up the score, a charge frequently leveled against Spurrier at Florida.[41] The Redskins went 4-1 in the preseason (including a 40-10 win in Tampa against Spurrier's last professional team, the Buccaneers[42]) and won the first game of the regular season 31-23, with Shane Matthews throwing for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals.[43] However, subsequent opponents were able to slow Spurrier's offense, mainly by using disguised blitzes to disrupt the passing game. By the end of the season, the Redskins were ranked 25th (out of 32 teams) in scoring offense and finished with a 7–9 record. It was only Spurrier's second losing campaign in 18 years as a head coach, the first being his first year at Duke.

In 2003, the Redskins started 2–0 but finished 5–11, with several close losses coming down to the 4th quarter. The offense was a bit improved, but the departure of defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to become the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals saw the defense fade from 5th in scoring defense during the previous season to 24th in 2003. The team as a whole faded late in the season, and were outscored 85–31 over their last three games. Spurrier resigned on December 30, 2003, choosing to walk away from $15 million still owed to him over the remaining three years of his contract. In a statement released by the team, Spurrier said “I apologize to Redskins fans that we did not reach a level of success that we had all hoped... It's a long grind and I feel (that) after 20 years as a head coach there are other things I need to do. I simply believe this is the right time for me to move on because this team needs new leadership.”[44]

Spurrier's disappointing tenure as an NFL head coach has been heavily scrutinized and analysed. During his first season in Washington, Spurrier had acquired many of his former Florida players, including quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews, leading to criticism that he played favorites. Also criticized was his decision to bring along most of his coaching staff from Florida even though they had little or no experience in professional football (the exception being Marvin Lewis, who was a veteran NFL coach). Additionally, there were many well-documented philosophical, strategic, and player personnel differences between Spurrier and the Washington front office, including team owner Daniel Snyder.[45][46][47] Snyder pushed for the drafting of Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey in the 2002 NFL Draft, and though Spurrier said that he would not play Ramsey during his first season in the NFL, he was the starter by game 4.[48] The quarterback position continued to be a source of friction, particularly when the front office decided to release Wuerffel before the start of Spurrier's second season.[49] Spurrier later said that he "knew it was over" when he "wasn't allowed to pick the backup quarterback".[48]

In 2014, Spurrier reflected on his NFL aspirations. "When I left Florida after 12 years, I thought I was going to coach in the NFL five or six years and retire to the beach, and play golf a bunch, and travel around, this, that and the other. But that was a bad plan. It was. Later you found out that was not a real good idea. But that's the way I was thinking back then."[50]

South Carolina Gamecocks[edit]

Spurrier stands on the sidelines during the Gamecocks' November 15, 2008 game against Florida.

Throughout the 2004 football season, various sources openly speculated about Spurrier returning to coach in the college ranks once again, preferably for a program located in the southeastern United States and even more preferably, somewhere in his beloved Southeastern Conference.[51] The University of Florida was in the process of taking applications for a new coach after Spurrier's successor at Florida, Ron Zook, was fired following the 2004 season.[52] The timing seemed perfect for Spurrier's return to the Gators and Spurrier initially said that he wanted to be considered for his old job, but later removed his name from consideration stating that "12 years at Florida was probably long enough."[53] Soon afterwards, rumors began circulating that South Carolina Gamecocks' Athletic Director, Mike McGee, was actively pursuing Spurrier and that Spurrier was considering the Gamecocks' offer. Again, the timing was perfect and on November 22, South Carolina coach Lou Holtz announced his retirement and, during his final press conference, hinted that Spurrier might replace him.[54] The next day, months of rumors were put to rest as Spurrier was introduced as South Carolina's new head coach. Spurrier had signed a seven-year deal that paid him $1.25 million per year and the Steve Spurrier era began for the Gamecocks.[55]

In 2005, his first season as the Gamecocks' new head coach, Spurrier led his South Carolina Gamecocks with newfound humility.[56] The Gamecocks, who were not expected to have a winning season by most pundits, rattled off a five-game SEC winning streak for the first time in their fourteen-year SEC history.[57] Included among those victories were historic wins at Tennessee (16–15)[58] — the program's first win in Knoxville[58] — and against then 12th-ranked Florida (30–22),[59] who South Carolina had not beaten since 1939.[59] The Associated Press named Spurrier the SEC Coach of the Year,[18] and the Gamecocks finished the 2005 season with a 7–5 record and a trip to the Independence Bowl.[57]

Two days prior to South Carolina's 2006 season opener, Spurrier announced that he would kick off the athletics department's capital campaign with a $250,000 donation over five years.[60] Spurrier's Gamecocks opened the 2006 season with a 15–0 win over Mississippi State in Starkville,[61] where he was 0–2 while coaching the Florida Gators.[62] With the victory, he reached 150 wins for his college coaching career.[63] On September 30, Spurrier was inducted into the Gator Football Ring of Honor in a pre-game ceremony in Gainesville.[64] Later in the season on November 11, Spurrier returned to "The Swamp" to face off against his former Gators team, which was then ranked sixth in the BCS rankings.[65] Trailing 17–16, the Gamecocks had a chance to win with a 48-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game.[65] However, Ryan Succop's kick was blocked as time expired in a repeat of an earlier blocked extra-point attempt.[65]

In the final game of the 2006 regular season, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to victory over in-state rival Clemson at Death Valley.[66] Trailing 28–14 in the third quarter, South Carolina scored seventeen unanswered points to lead 31–28.[67] With only seconds remaining, Clemson's field goal attempt missed wide left and the Gamecocks celebrated their first victory over Clemson in five years.[66][68]

On December 2, 2006, amid speculation he was a candidate for head coaching jobs at Miami and Alabama, Spurrier received a contract extension through 2012 and a raise from $1.25 million to $1.75 million annually.[69] Spurrier and the Gamecocks went on to defeat the Houston Cougars in the Liberty Bowl on December 29, and finished the season 8–5.[61] All five of the Gamecocks' 2006 losses were to ranked opponents.[70] Spurrier became the first head coach in Gamecock football history to take a team to a bowl game in each of his first two seasons.[71]

The 2007 football season, got off to a quick start winning at SEC rival Georgia early in the season as well as Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina State, and climbed into the top 10 in the national rankings. South Carolina stumbled down the stretch dropping the final five games, including a home loss in the season finale to arch-rival Clemson. The 6-6 (3-5 SEC) season record marked the first non-winning college season for Spurrier since his first season at Duke in 1987.[72][73]

Spurrier won his 100th SEC game on October 11, 2008, coaching the Gamecocks to a 24–17 victory over Kentucky.[74] In his ten seasons as the Gamecocks' head coach, Spurrier has beaten each of South Carolina's traditional SEC Eastern Division rivals at least five times.[71] Against their annual SEC Eastern Division opponents, his ten teams have posted an 8–2 record against Kentucky, 8–2 against Vanderbilt, 5–5 against Tennessee, 5–5 against Georgia, 5–5 against Florida, and 2-1 against Missouri who began competing in the SEC in 2012.[71] Against South Carolina's major in-state rival, Clemson, Spurrier's Gamecocks have gone 6–3.[71] While Spurrier's teams at USC have shown flashes of his old "Fun 'n' Gun" offense, they have mostly relied on stout defense to win upsets. The Gamecocks have been bowl eligible every year Spurrier has been their head coach, a feat no other Carolina coach has accomplished. Also, the Gamecocks have been ranked in the AP Poll Top 25 at some point during the season in nine out of Spurrier's ten years at USC.

Spurrier's Gamecocks won the SEC Eastern Division championship for the first time in school history in 2010, clinching the title with a convincing 36–14 victory at "The Swamp" over the Florida Gators. It was a season of firsts for South Carolina, including their first win at Florida, first win over a No. 1 ranked team (Alabama), and first time sweeping the November "Orange Crush" portion of their schedule with wins over Tennessee, Florida and Clemson. Following a 9–3 regular season and an appearance in the SEC championship game, Spurrier was named SEC Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches in the conference.[75]

The Gamecocks had another strong season in 2011, beating every opponent in the division. However, losses to Arkansas and Auburn cost them a return appearance in the SEC title game. With a 34-13 rout of Clemson, the Gamecocks won 10 games for only the second time in their 119-year football history. In the 2012 Capital One Bowl, the Gamecocks dispatched Nebraska 30-13 to win their school-record 11th game. They also finished eighth in the AP Poll and ninth in the Coaches' Poll—their first top-ten finishes in a major media poll in school history.

In 2012 Spurrier led the Gamecocks to their second-consecutive regular season with double-digit wins—something no Gamecock team had ever achieved. The 2012 regular season culminated with the annual season-ending game against Clemson at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. Spurrier and his Gamecocks emerged with a fourth consecutive double-digit victory over the Tigers. That win was also Spurrier's 65th win with the Gamecocks, vaulting him past Rex Enright to become the winningest coach in South Carolina's history. Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a thrilling 33-28 victory in the 2013 Outback Bowl against the winningest program in college football, the Michigan Wolverines. The victory elevated the Gamecocks to an 11-2 record for the 2nd consecutive season. Additionally, by finishing 8th in the Associated Press poll and 7th in the Coaches poll, South Carolina finished in Top 10 of both polls for the second year in a row.

During the 2013 season, Spurrier led his Gamecocks to a third consecutive 11-2 record. Only two other programs (Alabama and Oregon) have won 11 or more games each of the last three seasons (2011–13). During the season, the Gamecocks defeated three teams that finished ranked in the Top 10 in the final AP Poll (Missouri, University of Central Florida, and Clemson). The Gamecocks were the only team to accomplish this feat. They also became the first and only team to defeat two teams that won BCS bowl games. Following their 34-24 win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, the Gamecocks were ranked 4th in the final AP Poll,[76] setting a record for the program. This also marked the third straight year that the Gamecocks finished with a Top 10 ranking in the final AP Poll. While defeating Clemson, again, the Gamecocks ran their winning streak over their arch rival to five games, which is the longest winning streak in the rivalry, for either team, since 1940. The 31-17 score marked the 5th straight double-digit margin of victory over their ACC foe. Also, for the 5th straight year, the Gamecocks defense held the Tigers to 17 points or less.

On October 12, 2015, Spurrier announced to his team and staff that he had resigned as head coach. He publicly confirmed his intentions at a press conference the following day. Spurrier reiterated that he was not officially retiring, but added he will probably never coach again.[2]

The Ladies Clinic[edit]

A popular tradition, started during the Sparky Woods era at USC, occurs on the last Saturday of July when the University of South Carolina athletics department hosts the annual "Steve Spurrier Ladies Football Clinic." Only female fans are invited to attend the clinic where football coaches and players discuss the X's and O's with fans who want to understand the game better. All attendees get a tour of the football facilities, and finish the day running onto the football field through the players' tunnel accompanied by artificial smoke and theme music in the same way the team does during the season. The event was hosted by Spurrier and his wife Jerri.[77][78][79]


Spurrier was born on April 20, 1945, in Miami Beach, Florida.[80] He is the son of a Presbyterian minister, J. Graham Spurrier, and his wife Marjorie.[4] Spurrier's father moved the family repeatedly, and only stayed in Miami Beach for about a year after Steve was born, moving first to Charlotte, North Carolina, then Athens, Newport and Johnson City, Tennessee.[81] The Spurrier family moved to Johnson City when Steve was twelve years old, and his father coached the Little League baseball team for which Steve played.[81]

While he was a University of Florida student, Spurrier was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity (Alpha Omega chapter), and was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame, the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame,[82] and Florida Blue Key leadership honorary.

Spurrier married his college sweetheart, the former Jerri Starr, on September 14, 1966, during his senior year at the University of Florida.[4] They have been married for forty-nine years, and have four children together—Lisa, Amy, Steve, Jr., and Scott, as well as twelve grandchildren.[10] Spurrier's younger son, Scott, played wide receiver for the Gamecocks through the 2009 season,[83] and his older son, Steve, Jr., is currently the Gamecocks' receivers coach.[84]

Head coaching record[edit]


Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win %
Tampa Bay Bandits 1983 11 7 0 .611 3rd in Central Div. - - -
Tampa Bay Bandits 1984 14 4 0 .778 2nd in Southern Div. 0 1 .000
Tampa Bay Bandits 1985 10 8 0 .556 5th in Eastern Con. 0 1 .000
Total 35 19 0 .648


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Duke Blue Devils (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1987–1989)
1987 Duke 5–6 2–5 7th
1988 Duke 7–3–1 3–3–1 6th
1989 Duke 8–4 6–1 T–1st L All-American
Duke: 20–13–1 11–9–1
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1990–2001)
1990 Florida 9–2 6–1 1st ‡ 13
1991 Florida 10–2 7–0 1st L Sugar 8 7
1992 Florida 9–4 6–2 T–1st (Eastern) W Gator 11 10
1993 Florida 11–2 7–1 1st (Eastern) W Sugar 4 5
1994 Florida 10–2–1 7–1 1st (Eastern) L Sugar 7 7
1995 Florida 12–1 8–0 1st (Eastern) L Fiesta 3 2
1996 Florida 12–1 8–0 1st (Eastern) W Sugar 1 1
1997 Florida 10–2 6–2 T–2nd (Eastern) W Florida Citrus 6 4
1998 Florida 10–2 7–1 2nd (Eastern) W Orange 6 5
1999 Florida 9–4 7–1 1st (Eastern) L Florida Citrus 14 12
2000 Florida 10–3 7–1 1st (Eastern) L Sugar 11 10
2001 Florida 10–2 6–2 2nd (Eastern) W Orange 3 3
Florida: 122–27–1 87–12 ‡ Ineligible for SEC title, bowl game and Coaches' Poll
South Carolina Gamecocks (Southeastern Conference) (2005–2015)
2005 South Carolina 7–5 5–3 T–2nd (Eastern) L Independence
2006 South Carolina 8–5 3–5 5th (Eastern) W Liberty
2007 South Carolina 6–6 3–5 T–4th (Eastern)
2008 South Carolina 7–6 4–4 T–3rd (Eastern) L Outback
2009 South Carolina 7–6 3–5 T–4th (Eastern) L
2010 South Carolina 9–5 5–3 1st (Eastern) L Chick-fil-A 22 22
2011 South Carolina 11–2 6–2 2nd (Eastern) W Capital One 8 9
2012 South Carolina 11–2 6–2 3rd (Eastern) W Outback 7 8
2013 South Carolina 11–2 6–2 2nd (Eastern) W Capital One 4 4
2014 South Carolina 7–6 3–5 T–4th (Eastern) W Independence
2015 South Carolina 2–4[n 1] 0–4[n 1] (Eastern)[n 1]
South Carolina: 86–49 44–40
Total: 228–89–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

National Football League[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
WAS 2002 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC East - - - -
WAS 2003 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC East - - - -
WAS Total 12 20 0 .375 0 0 .000
Total 12 20 0 .375 0 0 .000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Spurrier resigned on October 12, 2015. Shawn Elliott was named interim head coach the next day.


  1. ^ Steve Spurrier: Career Stats at
  2. ^ a b News Services (October 13, 2015). "Steve Spurrier announces resignation". ESPN. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  3. ^, Players, Steve Spurrier. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t, Football History, 2001 Roster, Steve Spurrier Biography. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Gordon Weidler, "Steve's Story: New Book Unlocks Spurrier Mystery," The Gainesville Sun (September 28, 2002). Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 70, 72, 74, 75, 80, 87, 89, 92, 93, 94, 96, 98, 102, 106, 112–113, 116, 122, 124, 129, 136, 141, 142, 144–146, 149–150, 153–154, 155, 157, 165, 171, 182 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Kelly, Tom (January 5, 1990). "Ailing Gators Put Football Future in the Hands of Miracle Worker Spurrier". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  8. ^ S.L. Price, "Spurrier: Call Me Mastermind," Sports Illustrated (October 3, 2007). Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  9. ^ Mabe, Logan (November 14, 1996). "Heisman was Spurrier's 2nd Best Catch". The Gainesville Sun. pp. 1C, 6C. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d, 1966: Steve Spurrier. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  11. ^ "Sonny Jurgensen And Steve Spurrier At The Touchdown Club". Retrieved December 15, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  12. ^, College Football, 1966 Heisman Trophy Voting. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  13. ^ 2012 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, pp. 7 & 14 (2012). Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 2 Steve Spurrier," The Gainesville Sun (September 1, 2006). Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  15. ^, NFL Draft History, 1967 Round 1. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  16. ^, SI Vault, Sports Illustrated (July 23, 1976). Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  17. ^ National Football League, Historical Players, Steve Spurrier Career Statistics. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  18. ^ a b c d e Gamecocks Online, Steve Spurrier Profile. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  19. ^ The Miami News - Google News Archive Search
  20. ^ Compare College Football Date Warehouse, Duke Yearly Results 1985–1989 and Duke Yearly Results 1960–1964. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  21. ^ Matt Hayes, "Spurrier legacy at South Carolina in QB Garcia's hands," The Sporting News (May 27, 2009). Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  22. ^ a b Pat Dooley, "It's official; Spurrier is head Gator," Gainesville Sun, pp. 1A & 6A (January 1, 1990). Retrieved September 5, 2009. Spurrier actually accepted the offer on December 12, 1989 at the home of the university president, Robert Bryan, but postponed any public announcement until after Duke and Florida had played their bowl games.
  23. ^ Associated Press, "Spurrier takes Florida Job," The New York Times (January 1, 1990). Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  24. ^ Associated Press, "Football and Basketball Teams Placed on Probation at Florida," The New York Times (September 21, 1990). Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  25. ^ Jeff Browne, "His goal for UF: to be best in the state," Gainesville Sun, pp. 1A & 6A (January 1, 1990). Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  26. ^ The Gators won the 1984 SEC championship, but were stripped of the title by a vote of the SEC university presidents in the spring of 1985 because of fifty-nine documented violations of NCAA rules by the previous coaching staff. The Gators also had the best record in the SEC in 1985, but were ineligible for the SEC championship because of NCAA probation.
  27. ^ S.L. Price, "'96: For The Love Of Gator Nation," Sports Illustrated (October 3, 2007). Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  28. ^ a b c Matthew Zemek, "Urban Meyer, Meet 1997," Gator Country (October 18, 2005). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  29. ^ "Offensive Revolution: The Steve Spurrier Fun 'n' Gun," Sports Illustrated (August 8, 2005). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  30. ^, Facilities, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  31. ^ a b c Dave Kindred, "Spurrier dares to imagine always," The Sporting News (January 28, 2002). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  32. ^ Ray Goff responded publicly: "He's a good coach, but I'd like to run into him some night down a dark alley." Jack Hairston, "Spurrier Has Built a Sugar Bowl Legacy," Times-Picayune (January 8, 2008). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  33. ^ Associated Press, "Spurrier resigns as Gators coach," ESPN (January 4, 2002). Retrieved July 25, 2009. See also American Rhetoric, Online Speech Bank, Steve Spurrier: Resignation Speech (University of Florida). Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  34. ^, Football, SEC Football Roundup - Saturday, September 2nd. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  35. ^ a b, Football, SEC Football Roundup - Saturday, September 30th. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  36. ^ Andy Staples, "At Florida, loyalty still runs deep for the Head Ball Coach," Sports Illustrated (November 14, 2008). Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  37. ^ Antonya English, "Gators start Ring of Honor with four former greats," St. Petersburg Times (October 1, 2009). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  38. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Urban Meyer Records by Year: 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  39. ^ Spurrier, No. 22 Gamecocks clinch SEC East title
  40. ^ a b "Schottenheimer out, Spurrier in for Redskins". ESPN. January 14, 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2009. 
  41. ^ - Spurrier preseason era opens with Redskins rout
  42. ^ Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Recap - August 24, 2002 - ESPN
  43. ^ Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins - Box Score - September 08, 2002 - ESPN
  44. ^ Hack, Damon (December 31, 2003). "Spurrier Resigns As Head Coach Of Redskins". New York Times. 
  45. ^ Demasio, Nunyo (July 28, 2003). "Owning Up, Snyder Learns From the Past". Washington Post. 
  46. ^ Olivia, SM (August 27, 2011). "Saban, Petrino & Spurrier: Why Didn’t They Make It In The NFL?]]". 
  47. ^ Jenkins, Sally (December 10, 2013). "Washington Redskins are being undermined by Dan Snyder’s corrosive star culture". Washington Post. 
  48. ^ a b College football - Unhealthy culture contributed to Steve Spurrier's failure in NFL - ESPN
  49. ^ - Spurrier quits as Redskins coach
  50. ^ Spurrier's new plan: Just keep winning | Tampa Bay Times
  51. ^ See, e.g., Mark Maske, "Spurrier Considering Options in Florida," NFL Insider, The Washington Post (October 29, 2004). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  52. ^ "With Zook out, will Spurrier get a call?," ESPN News Services (October 26, 2004). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  53. ^ David Jones, "Spurrier withdraws name from Florida coaching search," USA Today (November 4, 2004). Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  54. ^ Mark Schlabach, "Teams in Fight To Skip Bowls," Washington Post, p. D1 (November 23, 2004). Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  55. ^ Viv Bernstein, "With Less Swagger, Spurrier Returns to SEC," The New York Times (November 24, 2004). Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  56. ^ Karl Taro Greenfeld, "Meet Mr. Humble," Sports Illustrated (August 22, 2005). Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  57. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier Records by Year: 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  58. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, South Carolina Opponents, South Carolina Record by Team, South Carolina vs. Tennessee. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  59. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, South Carolina Opponents, South Carolina Record by Team, South Carolina vs. Florida. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  60. ^ Ben Crane, "Coach Gives funds to USC: Spurrier's gift seeks to aid renovations of athletic facilities," Daily Gamecock (September 6, 2006). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  61. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier: 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  62. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Florida vs. Mississippi St. Retrieved September 4, 2009. Spurrier's Gators lost to Mississippi State in Starkville in 1992 and 2000.
  63. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier Records by Year. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  64. ^ Antonya English, "Gators start Ring of Honor with four former greats," St. Petersburg Times (October 1, 2006). Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  65. ^ a b c Alex Riley, "Spurrier's past still outshines his future: Battle with best of SEC leaves Carolina, Florida fans pondering legacy," Daily Gamecok (November 13, 2006). Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  66. ^ a b Michael Aguilar, "Defense uses 'bend don't break' mantra for win: Stops on Tiger offense allow gutsy Gamecocks to wrangle seventh win," Daily Gamecock (November 27, 2006). Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  67. ^ Jonathan Hillyard, "Victory over rival will spark turnaround for USC: Spurrier says Clemson win could get Carolina ready for future success seasons," Daily Gamecock (November 27, 2006). Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  68. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, South Carolina vs. Clemson (SC). Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  69. ^ Associated Press, "Suitors beware, SC gives Spurrier $500K raise," ESPN (December 2, 2006). Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  70. ^ AP Poll Archive, 2006 Final AP Football Poll. Retrieved August 26, 2009. In the final AP Poll, the five teams that defeated South Carolina finished as follows: Florida 1st, Auburn 10th, Arkansas 15th, Georgia 23rd, and Tennessee 25th.
  71. ^ a b c d College Football Data Warehouse, South Carolina Yearly Results: 2005–2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  72. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, South Carolina Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier Records by Year. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  73. ^ Pete Iacobelli, "Spurrier holds down Gamecocks expectations," USA Today (August 25, 2008). Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  74. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier: 2008. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  75. ^, Football, "Spurrier, Lattimore Earn SEC Superlatives," (December 8, 2010). Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  76. ^ "2013 NCAA College Football Polls and Rankings for Week 17 - ESPN". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  77. ^ "2010 Steve Spurrier Ladies Football Clinic". thestate. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  78. ^ "University of South Carolina Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  79. ^ "Steve Spurrier Ladies Football Clinic a Big Hit". South Carolina Gamecocks. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  80. ^, Players, Steve Spurrier. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  81. ^ a b S.L. Price, "Steve Superior," Sports Illustrated (October 23, 1995). Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  82. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  83. ^ Gamecocks Online, Football, Scott Spurrier Profile. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  84. ^ Gamecocks Online, Football, Steve Spurrier, Jr. Profile. Retrieved July 26, 2009.


  • 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida (2012).
  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
  • Proctor, Samuel, & Wright Langley, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing Company, Gainesville, Florida (1986). ISBN 0-938637-00-2.

External links[edit]