Steve Spurrier is a legend in South Carolina for what he’s done for the Gamecocks over the last decade. In the last 10 seasons, the Gamecocks have finished .500 or better 10 times, have been to nine bowl games, and have won the SEC East. The program is relevant.
The Gamecocks, who have an abysmal football history, were 33-6 from 2011-2013, winning 11 games each year. It was the first time they’d won 11 games … ever. They’d only won 10 games once before, and that was in 1984. Before Spurrier arrived, the only other time in the football program’s 100+ year history that the team won nine or more games was in 2001.
Spurrier turns 71 in April, South Carolina was just beaten at home by Kentucky, the Gamecocks lost QB Connor Mitch to a separated shoulder and oh, they play #7 Georgia this week. Visits to Missouri, Texas A&M and Tennessee dot the schedule, plus they have to play LSU, Florida and Clemson. SC has three more wins (UCF, Vanderbilt, Citadel) but getting to a bowl game looks unlikely.
They were 8th in the SEC in recruiting according to Rivals in 2015 after finishing 8th in 2014. It’s still early, but the 2016 class is shaping up as their worst in years. The Gamecocks haven’t nabbed a 5-star recruit since Jadeveon Clowney stayed home in 2011.
All signs point to this: Is it time to move on from Steve Spurrier? It’s a delicate decision. You don’t want to shove out an icon who took the program to never-before-seen heights. Would Spurrier step down? Could the two sides work together … to not have this blow up in their face the way it did with Mack Brown at Texas?
It could be the perfect year for the Gamecocks to make the transition, as it appears – for now, anyway – that the competition for the best open job could be between Miami and … yeah, it’s that bleak.
[Aside: Wacky things could happen, of course – Charlie Strong and Texas, Steve Sarkisian and USC, Brian Kelly could give one last shot at the NFL and the Nick Saban rumors will always be floating around.]
How do the Gamecocks smoothly move on from the best coach in school history before things unravel to the point that they become Tennessee?