COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Steve Spurrier might give his brash, visor-throwing style an overhaul now that he has returned to college football.
Spurrier took over at South Carolina on Tuesday, signing a seven-year deal worth $1.25 million a season that could grow to more than $2 million with incentives. He pledged to turn the Gamecocks into the consistent champion he built for 12 seasons at Florida.
But the ol' ball coach comes back following a dose of humility, after going 12-20 in two pitiful seasons as the Washington Redskins coach in 2002 and 2003.
"Maybe I was a little arrogant. Maybe I ran my mouth more than I should," Spurrier said. "Human nature comes down and causes you maybe to feel you've got more answers than you really do when you've got a real good team.
"So hopefully, I've learned some humility and great respect for all coaches," he said.
Is this the same man who quipped you can't spell the Citrus Bowl without UT (Tennessee)? Or called Florida State, "Free Shoes University?" Or recounted how a Gator receiver told him it was nice of Gamecocks fans to wear all black -- it was a "Black Out Florida" effort -- so they could easily see the football in a 56-17 rout at Williams-Brice Stadium three seasons ago?
"When they see what he can do on the field, people will be happy with him," said South Carolina assistant David Reaves, the son of Spurrier's former assistant at Florida, John Reaves.
|'Why not us'? That's the question Steve Spurrier posed at Tuesday's news conference.(AP)|
Spurrier left the NFL after last season and then waited for the right college job to open.
"You could see he was getting anxious," said his wife, Jerri.
There was a strong push from some Florida followers for Spurrier to return to his old position at The Swamp after coach Ron Zook was fired. But Spurrier pulled out of the running and said again Tuesday that 12 years at the same university was enough.
When Holtz told athletic director Mike McGee he planned to resign, South Carolina officials went after Spurrier. McGee contacted Spurrier and negotiations were handled quickly.