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Steve Spurrier is officially no longer South Carolina's coach.
Spurrier publicly revealed his decision Tuesday morning. He called it a resignation rather than a retirement because he said he may end up coaching high school football. And he said his reason for getting out now was because of South Carolina's recent struggles. The Gamecocks are 2-4 in 2015 and 0-4 in the SEC.
"The last several years as I've traveled around the country, seen guys and so forth I always get asked 'How much longer are you going to coach?'" Spurrier said Tuesday. "And my answer is always the same. As long as we keep winning, keep winning these bowl games, everybody's happy, we're ranked, life's pretty good, I guess I could go several more years.
"But, as it starts going south, starts going bad, I need to get out. You just can't keep a head coach who's done it as long as I have when it's heading in the wrong direction. And really today, when I move out of the way and Shawn Elliott's going to take over as the interim head coach, it sort of starts building back what we had just two years ago."
Elliott has been the team's offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator. Spurrier informed the team of his decision on Monday and said he knew Sunday morning that it was time to make a decision about his future. He also said he was responsible for South Carolina's poor record and that it was time for him to "get out of the way and let somebody else have a go at it."
Spurrier said the decision would be the "best thing" for South Carolina. He didn't want to be a lame duck coach and resign at the end of the year and hoped the change in leadership would spark his team. South Carolina plays Vanderbilt on Saturday.
"Actually when we were 2-2 I called [athletic director Ray Tanner] up and I told him 'I'm going to try to get through this season, but I sense this is about it for me. I sense it's it.' Central Florida, it was a struggle against those guys. As you know, we came in at halftime behind. And it was a struggle. And I said 'I don't know if I need to continue having these kinds of struggles.'"
"But we talked briefly then and we talked briefly this past Sunday and when something is inevitable I believe you do it right then. I believe you don't wait a week, you don't wait two weeks. This has to happen, let's do it. Let's do it and get started in a new direction."
He has cumulative record of 228-89-2 in his 24+ years of coaching college football at Duke, Florida and South Carolina. The 70-year-old is the winningest coach in both South Carolina and Florida history. His 1996 Florida team won the national title and he won six SEC titles, all with Florida.
He won the 2010 SEC East division title with South Carolina. The team lost to eventual BCS Champion Auburn in the SEC Championship Game. Spurrier has 208 SEC wins. He's second to Bear Bryant for most SEC wins among coaches.
Spurrier was also a successful football player. He was a first-team All-American at Florida in 1965 and 1966 at quarterback and won the 1966 Heisman Trophy. He's the first coach to win a Heisman Trophy as a player and coach a Heisman-winner. Florida QB Danny Weurffel won the 1996 Heisman.
"I didn't plan on going out this way," Spurrier said. "I planned on being on the shoulder pads of the team coming out of the Georgia Dome with an SEC Championship. But that didn't work out. We did win our division down in the Swamp, that was neat back then, but I just think it's best for everybody, especially our team, our school, that I get out of the way now and let's start in a new direction."
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