The Florida Gators received some good news on Friday morning when the most famous—and popular—Gator in school history returned to the Swamp. It was announced that former Heisman trophy winner and national championship-winning head coach, Steve Spurrier, would return to his alma mater as an “ambassador and consultant.”
Spurrier won the Heisman back in 1966, passing for 2,012 yards and 16 touchdowns, which were big numbers for that era. Spurrier was then drafted No. 3 overall by the San Francisco 49ers and went on to play nine seasons in the NFL. While his NFL career was largely disappointing, it was his coaching career that made him an even bigger legend in the eyes of Gator Nation.
Steve Spurrier returns to The Swamp.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 29, 2016
The former Florida coach is named ambassador & consultant for the Gators. pic.twitter.com/JeE10NiVUI
Spurrier took over the Gators back in 1990, eventually winning a national championship in 1996. In his addition to his national championship, Spurrier also led Florida to seven SEC titles in his 12 seasons on the sideline. He finished with an overall record 122-27 (87-12 in SEC play) as head ball coach of his beloved Gators.
Back in the 90s, Spurrier gained notoriety for some his comments about his chief rivals. Two of his more famous disses were calling Florida State “Free Shoe University,” or saying you couldn’t spell Citrus without UT, mocking Tennessee because of its failure to get past his Gators and in the Sugar Bowl.
Second-year head coach Jim McElwain was excited about Spurrier’s return to Gainesville.
Spurrier himself seemed excited, according to Florida’s official website.
This was really something I wanted to do and I was really searching for the right time to do it and I think it's now. I'll try to help out any way I can there. I'm not coaching. I want to make it clear that in no way am I a coach. I'm just sort of a spectator. I will say this: Coach McElwain is not a big ego guy at all. He suggested that whenever I was done coaching to come around a little bit and see if I can help the Gators in all sports.
Now we can only hope Spurrier gives interviews each week previewing UF’s next opponent. College football has missed Spurrier’s brash and entertaining style over the last several years. He would occasionally battle with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in the media, but not to the level of his trash-talking when he was Florida’s head coach in the 90s.
Things got off to a great start on Friday when Spurrier, per Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports—apparently inadvertently—said “(Luke) Del Rio seems to be the starter," Spurrier said on a teleconference call. "He is the starter now. We'll see how it all works out."
Oh boy, this could be fun.
While he may not be the “Ol’ Ball Coach” anymore, Spurrier could be as entertaining as ever now that he’s back in the Swamp. College football, especially in the SEC, could use some of Spurrier’s swagger and personality.