clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steve Spurrier Resignation Press Conference: 'I Need to Get Out'

New, 2 comments

The Head Ball Coach gave us some indications about his thought process for leaving South Carolina midseason

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

"Okay, let's get moving. I've had enough here."

And with that, Steve Spurrier stepped away from the podium at a press conference announcing his resignation -- don't call it a retirement, the always age-conscious coach said -- as the head coach at South Carolina. It was not intended as a reference to his time in Columbia -- though, after the last two years, it could have been -- but to what appeared to be an emotionally difficult and perhaps even tedious event for Spurrier.

As much as Spurrier likes to poke fun at rivals, and as much as he can rattle off the records of the teams he coached in the USFL 30 years ago, he has never enjoyed talking about Steve Spurrier the person. Steve Spurrier, the accomplished head coach, sure. But not his private thoughts and emotions, which were naturally the focus on Tuesday.

In fact, it was a remarkably introspective press conference, at least for someone who has observed Spurrier for a long time. He didn't spend that much time boasting about his record at South Carolina, though part of that was because Athletics Director Ray Tanner and University President Harris Pastides did so for him. What was most striking about the event was Spurrier's frequent references to his limitations.

The coach known for mocking opponents for recruiting violations or off-field problems or just losing too much was instead talking about why he was leaving. Steve Spurrier didn't resign because of what he has done, but because of what he can no longer do.

"I think I was probably the best coach for this job 11 years ago," Spurrier said. "But I'm not today. I'm not today."

At 70 years old, Spurrier is not the man for a long-term rebuilding prospect. "Yesterday, I was sort of a recruiting liability," he said, echoing a point that many of his critics over the last year have made. A promising 2015 class imploded under the pressure of a 7-6 season and Spurrier's unsuccessful attempts to roll back his comments that he would probably retire in the near future. High-school prospects aren't going to jump at the possibility to go through a coaching change, particularly when the outgoing coach is a legend and the incoming coach is unknown.

Spurrier noted that he liked to say he would coach for several more years as long as things were going well.

"But if it starts going south, starts going bad, then I need to get out," he said. "You can't keep a head coach that's done it as long as I have when it's heading in the wrong direction."

The winningest coach in the history of South Carolina said he needed to "move out of the way" and let the rebuilding process begin. He pointed out that the Gamecocks were just two years removed from an 11-2 season.

"Somehow or another, we've slid, and it's my fault," he said. "I'm responsible; I'm the head coach."

It came down to a simple calculation, Spurrier said. The game against UCF -- a team that, he didn't mention, is likely to go 0-12 -- was harder than it should have been. After watching his team get blasted in the second half of the game against LSU, Spurrier said, he came to realization that it was time to go.

"When something is inevitable, I believe you do it right then," Spurrier said.

So, in the direct fashion that is his trademark, that's exactly what Steve Spurrier did. He got moving.