by Drew Giudice
Known simply as “The Old Ball Coach,” Steve Spurrier is the head coach for the South Carolina Gamecocks. It pains me to see him at another institution in the SEC East after going to every home game in The Swamp as a kid. Spurrier led my beloved Florida Gators to six SEC Championships and the 1996 National Championship. The aerial assault of his “Fun ‘n’ Gun” offense lit up scoreboards with players such as Danny Wuerffel, Quezzie Green and Rex Grossman providing highlights.
The man is an innovator. Before he came to Florida in 1990, the SEC (and college football in general) was known for three yards and a cloud of dust. Teams would consistently run out of the I formation and pound it in to the line of scrimmage. Games were not nearly as entertaining. Spurrier decided to air it out. The 1990s Gators were a precursor to what you’re seeing Oregon and Texas A&M do today.
His accolades are endless. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1966 as Florida’s quarterback, coached Duke to an ACC Championship in 1989 (that’s not a typo)… DUKE! He plays Augusta National whenever he wants. He shows up to South Carolina’s preseason practices barefoot and shirtless. All of these are great reasons to have a mancrush on Steven Orr Spurrier. But they aren’t the best.
I love coaches who don’t hold back with the media. Spurrier loves to take jabs in the papers at other schools, stirring up the fire with the opponent. My three favorite Old Ball Coach cheap shots in descending order:
Honorable Mention: On consistently beating Tennessee, keeping them out of Sugar Bowl contention and knocking them down to the Citrus Bowl (Capitol One Bowl today for you kiddos): “You can’t spell Citrus without UT.”
#3 On playing Georgia later in the 2012 season rather than earlier: “I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game (of the season) because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”
#2 When hated rival Florida State had trouble with NCAA recruiting violations, Spurrier nicknamed the Seminoles “Free Shoes University.”
#1 When an Auburn dorm fire burned some of the students’ books: “The real tragedy is that about 15 or so hadn’t been colored in yet.”
With so much coverage devoted to collegiate athletics today, coaches have become even tighter lipped because they know it will be all over Twitter within minutes. The OBC doesn’t care. Last month he was taking jabs at a school his team wasn’t even playing when he commented on the Florida-Tennessee game. Ladies and gentleman I present to you a man’s man, one who should be lauded for his ability to win games and penchant for speaking his mind.