Steve Spurrier has always said he wanted to exit college coaching on his own terms, and the South Carolina coach did just that Tuesday in announcing his resignation. Despite a 2-4 season that could get worse as the Gamecocks' schedule toughens in the second half of the season, Spurrier had reached the point -- as the school's all-time winningest coach -- of choosing his own time to step away.
"It was only two years ago we were No. 4 in the nation, the last of those 11-2 (seasons)," Spurrier said. "Somehow or another, we've slid. And it's my fault. I'm responsible, I'm the head coach. It's time for me to get out of the way and let somebody else have a go at it. ... I think the team needs to hear a new message, a new voice, from another coach. I think I was the best coach for this job 11 years ago, but I'm not today."
Spurrier's overall record as a college head coach is 228-89-2. At South Carolina, he became the Gamecocks winningest coach ever at 86-49, and reached the SEC Championship Game for the first time in the history of the program in 2010 (Auburn won that game, 56-17). His most successful stretch at South Carolina came over three seasons from 2011-2013, in which he went 11-2 in three consecutive years.
Spurrier opened his remarks making a distinction between resigning and retiring.
"I'm resigning, I'm not retiring. Get that part straight. I doubt if I'll ever be a (college) head coach again, but may be coaching a high school team or something," Spurrier said. "So don't say I've retired completely from coaching. Who knows what will come in the future?"
Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott will take over on an interim basis. Elliott, who has been on the Gamecocks staff since 2010, said he would call on Spurrier as much as possible for advice through the second half of the season. The Gamecocks face Vanderbilt Saturday, followed by a tough three-game stretch at Texas A&M, at Tennessee and home against Florida.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah played for Appalachian State when Elliott was an assistant coach there.
"He is high energy. High, high energy. He is the loudest voice on the practice field, and he's from South Carolina," Jeremiah said. "He loves that program. He had an opportunity to come back to Appalachian State, but he wasn't going to leave South Carolina. He's a really smart coach, and if you were looking for someone to put a lot life into the program right now, he's the guy to do that."
Spurrier said when the Gamecocks (2-4) opened the season at 2-2, "I sensed that this was about it for me."