Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier announces his resignation
As fans and media reflect on Steve Spurrier’s successful tenure at South Carolina, the Old Ball Coach himself should thank the city of Rock Hill for helping him turn the corner with the Gamecocks.
Spurrier’s successful recruitment of South Pointe stud Stephon Gilmore – a process piloted by former defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson – helped the Gamecocks stamp their logo on the state and begin to reel in the Palmetto State’s top talent over the next five to six years, including Mr. Football winners Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney.
“It seemed like it turned the tide,” said York coach Bobby Carroll, who sent five South Pointe players to USC during his six years coaching the Stallions.
Gilmore’s recruitment could serve as a case study for the impact that Spurrier had on Gamecocks football.
“He was one of the reasons why I chose to go to South Carolina,” said Gilmore on Tuesday, adding that news of Spurrier’s sudden resignation was so surprising that he had to make sure it was true. “We wanted to build something new.”
The Stallion standout was recruited by all of the blue bloods of college football, with several, including Ohio State, offering him scholarships as a quarterback, his high school position. But Gilmore was attracted to South Carolina because of the proximity to home, the huge fan support and the possibility of playing in the SEC. In Spurrier, USC had something it had never brought into the living rooms of recruits’ homes.
“You had a guy who’d won a national championship running the show,” said Carroll.
“Spurrier, he’s a big name around the whole world,” said Gilmore. “That matters when you’re picking a school. Parents want to know who they’re sending their kids off to.”
Ironically, Spurrier admitted Tuesday during the press conference where he announced his resignation formally that it was college football recruiting that had hastened his exit. It wasn’t his favorite part of the job. In Carroll’s six years at South Pointe, Spurrier came to the school’s campus once, with a second visit canceled after his mother passed away. He left much of the recruiting to his assistants; his mere name in many cases was enough.
“He was a legendary guy,” said Carroll. “People knew he’d won everywhere he’d been and I just think that was a draw, just the name Steve Spurrier. It didn’t have to be one-on-one contact with him.”
One of Spurrier’s most evident personality traits was on display Tuesday during the press conference announcing his departure. It’s what helped him lure some of Rock Hill’s best talent down to Columbia, prompting a run of success the likes of which Gamecock fans had never seen.
“He was always honest with you,” said Gilmore, “never sugar-coated it.”
Reactions from locals that played for Spurrier at South Carolina