South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier informed his coaching staff Monday night that he is retiring, effective immediately, a person with knowledge of the matter told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced publicly.
Spurrier will address the decision and an interim coach will be named at a news conference Tuesday.
The Head Ball Coach had a 228-89-2 record as a college football coach, including the 1996 national championship while at Florida. He is the winningest coach in South Carolina history (86-49 record), and he was 208-76-1 in the SEC.
Spurrier also won the 1966 Heisman Trophy with the Gators and also coached Duke University and the Washington Redskins.
Spurrier’s college coaching career includes seven conference championships in addition to the national title.
“He loved football,” Hall of Famer and longtime Georgia coach Vince Dooley told USA TODAY Sports. “He loved golf and his family. He had just a great wife. She is a saint. As a coach there is no question he opened up football and brought the passing game and the use of skill players and the coaching of quarterbacks as good as anybody I know. The quarterbacks he developed are really amazing. …
“But I think he did some of his better coaching jobs at South Carolina when he didn’t have quite as many skilled players.
“He was a coach who continued to learn. He reversed in some ways from being that wide open and innovative offensive mind to being a much sounder football coach at South Carolina with the emphasis on the running game and playing defense.
“He will go down as one of the great coaches in the game.”
As much as he was known for his offensive acumen, he was also known for his acerbic wit.
►To Tennessee (the state from which he hailed), which Spurrier’s Florida Gators beat time and again in the 1990s, keeping the Vols out of the SEC title game and out of the Sugar Bowl, he quipped: You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.
►Spurrier when a fire at Auburn destroyed 20 books: “The real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”
►Concerning a scandal at Florida State, another arch-Gators rival, Spurrier said: “You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.”
The Gamecocks are 2-4 this season, beating North Carolina and Central Florida, and losing all four SEC games, to Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri and LSU. Spurrier is 0-4 in the SEC for the first time in 23 seasons coaching in the league. With games against ranked opponents Florida, Texas A&M and Clemson remaining, along with a road game against Tennessee, the odds of the Gamecocks keeping Spurrier’s streak of non-losing season alive appears difficult at best.
Last season began with high expectations, but South Carolina slumped to 7-6, salvaging a winning season by topping Miami (Fla.) in the Independence Bowl.
Spurrier faced questions about his future in the offseason, but shot them all down at SEC media days in July, when he said he was rejuvenated.
SOURCE: USA Today – Dan Wolken; The Greenville (S.C.) News – Thomas O’Toole