Seven things that define Steve Spurrier's coaching legacy


A prideful Steve Spurrier told his South Carolina Gamecocks team Monday that he is resigning, effective immediately, in the wake of his first 0-4 start in SEC play. His impact can't easily be measured, as he brought unprecedented success to three programs that weren't very familiar with winning during his 25-plus seasons as a college head coach. Spurrier, 70, won an ACC championship at Duke, and revolutionized offensive football in the SEC at Florida. His first season at South Carolina was in 2005, and he was the school's all-time winningest coach by 2012.

In between, he learned NFL coaching wasn't for him. A 12-20 record in two seasons with the Washington Redskins (2002-2003) was enough to teach that lesson.

Certainly, no coach ever had a sharper wit, either.

Here are seven things to remember about Spurrier:

1. Checkmate, 'Noles. Few coaches ever submitted to change, or recognized the need for it, more quickly than Spurrier. There was no better example of that than the 1996 national championship game against Florida State. Having lost to the Seminoles weeks earlier at the hands of a vicious FSU pass rush led by future first-round picks Peter Boulware and Reinard Wilson, Spurrier installed a shotgun offense for the Sugar Bowl rematch to give quarterback Danny Wuerffel more time to throw. Final score: UF 52, FSU 20.

2. Spurrier made Duke football relevant.The aforementioned ACC title Spurrier won at Duke, a trick that hasn't been repeated since, came 26 years ago. And as impressive as David Cutcliffe has been in reviving Duke football once again, it could easily be 26 more before it happens again.

3. The best of the best.Lists of Spurrier's classic quotes are easy. Picking one is hard. But for all his fabulous digs over the years on rivals Tennessee, Georgia and FSU and Clemson, Spurrier aimed his best ever-barb at Auburn. Upon hearing that 20 books in the Auburn library had been lost in a fire, Spurrier said: "The real tragedy is 15 of them hadn't been colored yet."

4. Spurrier did it his way.At Florida, Spurrier revolutionized run-oriented SEC football. He did it with a passing attack based heavily on timing routes that anticipated open receivers rather than waiting for them. As much as anyone in college football, Spurrier exposed the typically heavy-footed, run-stopping strong safety in coverage. If you could only cover backs and tight ends as a safety, Spurrier's offense found you.

5. The worst of times. Spurrier walked away from the most lucrative head-coaching contract in the NFL at the time, five years for $25 million, exiting a franchise wrought with dysfunction.

6. Too much talk.Spurrier's witty jabs sometimes backfired. That was certainly the case in 2002, when, before he'd even coached an NFL game, he said: "I saw where (New Orleans Saints coach) Jim Haslett comies in at 4:30 in the morning -- that's not doing him much good." As Spurrier's two-year NFL run began to crumble, that comment was among those that followed him.

7. Breaking new ground. In 2010, South Carolina was on a list no SEC school wanted to be a part of, as one of four league programs that had never reached the SEC title game in its then-18-year history, along with Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Kentucky. The Gamecocks won the SEC East that year to end the drought.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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