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Spurious Spurrier 05/15/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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Steve Spurrier, head football coach at the University of South Carolina sat down at a radio mike for an interview.  This can often be an entertaining proposition, and this time did not disappoint.  “The Old Ball Coach,”

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier

as Spurrier is known, had a hall of fame career, and won the Heisman Trophy, while attending Florida.  It was his coaching success at his Alma Mater from 1990-2001 that solidified his reputation as a head coach.  His record while Gator’s coach was 122-27-1, including a national championship in 1996.  After the 2001 season, Spurrier left Florida and the SEC for the NFL and the Washington Redskins.  After 2 short seasons, and a 12-20 record in the NFL, Spurrier returned to the NCAA and the SEC, this time taking over South Carolina.  His return to college has been less than earth shaking so far, with a 28-22 record in 4 seasons with the Gamecocks.  That record includes a 31-10 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes this New Years Day in the Outback Bowl.

It was while talking about his former school, Florida, that Spurriercaused quite a stir.  He called current Gator coach Urban Meyer one of the top coaches in the nation.  He then went on to reference a rumor he has heard that  “…if he (Meyer) has about one more big year he might be the Notre Dame head coach.”  He also said “It’d be surprising if he left, but who knows?  He’s accomplished so much. I mean, I left after 12 years because I just said, ‘Hey, I’ve done enough. Try something else.’ He may get to the point where he needs to try something else. Who knows?”  Meyer grew up in the Midwest and has said on more than one occasion that Notre Dame is his dream job.  It should be pointed out, however, that at the end of the 2004 season  when he decided to leave the University of Utah,  Meyer had his choice of coaching positions, Including Notre Dame.  He chose to go to Florida. 

Now, coaches rarely speak openly about their own coaching opportunities.  To speculate about the opportunities of another coach is even more rare.  So, what is going on here?  Is this simply gamesmanship by one coach to another

Spurrier and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz meet at the end of the 2009 Outback Bowl

Spurrier and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz meet at the end of the 2009 Outback Bowl

 coach in the same conference?  Or is it, perhaps, jealousy on the part of The Old Ball Coach.  See, in his four seasons at Florida, Meyer has gone 83-17 and won National Championships in 2006 and 2008.  The timing of the statement is curious, also.  It comes on the heels of  a Meyer dust up with a former Florida player.  Shane Mathews, former Gator QB in the 90’s had criticized  Meyers game strategy during an upset loss last season.  At a recent Gator Club event Meyer said “If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you’re not welcome back in the football office.  You’re either a Gator or you’re not a Gator.” 

So, is the bloom coming off the flower at Florida and is Spurrier just taking a shot at increasing the distraction of a competitor?  With most prognosticators picking Notre Dame to have a 9 or 10 win season and a possible BCS bowl birth, it is not likely that Irish coach Charlie Weiss is going anywhere.  No, I think it just may be that Spurrier is worried about his reputation.  He was once considered THE old ball coach.  He is worried that he is becoming the OLD ball coach.

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