The End of an Era

I feel like a line today from an old Beatle’s song. “I got the news today, oh boy”, and what news it was. Apparently, there is at least one other person who is as bummed by their football season as I am, Steve Spurrier. Imagine my surprise to hear the news that the arch-nemesis of Georgia football, the anti-Richt if you will, has decided to hang up his cleats in favor of golf spikes.

I’m not altogether surprised, I must admit. The old boy is seventy, and that’s plenty of time to decide if you can still give it 110 percent every season. Looks like Steve hit 110 percent at mid-point of this season and has decided to step away immediately. There is a great deal of speculation as to why the decision couldn’t wait until the end of the season, or, announce now that this would be his last season. Either decision would have allowed the administration the opportunity to do an easier transfer of power to the new coach, and, provided an opportunity to keep a hold of incoming recruits. While throwing up his hands and saying “screw it” is typical of Spurrier’s no holds barred personality, it does leave speculation for a deeper cause. I hope there are not health issues involved, other than the fact that his heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

Spurrier has been a major success in college football. Starting with his playing days at the University of Florida, where he won a Heisman, to his eventual success with the lowly Gamecocks of South Carolina, Spurrier has always been a force to be contended with. His particular hatred for my beloved Bulldogs has caused me many sleepless nights. His teams at Florida were legend, winning six SEC titles and one national title. Spurrier took particular delight in drubbing the Bulldogs, who always had “better talent”. The “better talent” meme was something Spurrier used at South Carolina, where he was probably right. Whatever voodoo that he had over UGA has hopefully been broken now with his passing.

When Spurrier did have the better talent he showed no mercy, as evidenced by his scoring 50 points on my Bulldogs in Athens. Legend has it that he hated Georgia because they didn’t recruit him during his high school days, and he never forgot. He became a powerful enemy.

Spurrier’s strength was knowing how to coach players. There is no better evidence of his coaching ability than his tenure as head coach at Duke. While at Duke, he took the team to their first bowl game in 25 years, won the ACC title once, and was named ACC Coach of the Year twice. If you’ve ever been to a Duke football game, you were among the few. Duke is not a football school, and they don’t get even three star football recruits. What the “evil genius” did with the talent at his hands was amazing. The same thing is true for his tenure at South Carolina. Lord only knows what he could have done with my Bulldogs.

I hope Spurrier doesn’t get completely out of football. I would love for him to stay around as a commentator. It would never be dull. Here’s a few classic Spurrier quotes on Georgia:

“I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

“Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”

When asked if Florida would beat Georgia:  “Is Ray Goff still coaching there?”

 

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