Steve Spurrier told South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner that he was ready to "call the press conference" and retire at the end of the 2014 season instead of returning for a disappointing 2015 that would include the Hall of Fame ball coach stepping away midway through the year after a 2-4 start.
Spurrier revisited his run with the Gamecocks in an extensive interview with The Athletic, with fond memories for the good times and some regrets for how things abruptly ended in Columbia. With 40 wins and an SEC East title across four seasons from 2010-13, Spurrier was responsible for the best run in program history.
South Carolina started the 2014 season with a 4-5 record marred by blown leads and a leaky defense. When the Gamecocks were able to pull out an epic 23-20 win against Florida in the SEC finale and then go on to beat Miami in the bowl game to finish 7-6, Spurrier was ready to to retire. But then a combination of Tanner, his wife Jerri, the fact that his sons were on the coaching staff and the opportunity to win 100 games at two different schools (he was 16 wins short at the time) brought Spurrier back for 2015.
"I sort of got greedy a little bit," Spurrier told The Athletic. "I said, 'That'd be neat [to win 100 games at two schools]. I'm not in that bad of shape, am I?' One thing led to another, and all the coaches had at least another year left on their deals. And I thought we had a decent team coming back. I really did. We thought we could scrap out eight wins or something like that."
The Gamecocks finished in the top 10 of the final polls in three straight seasons, which made the rapid decline in 2014 (7-6) and 2015 (3-9) so surprising. Spurrier identified a few potential reasons for the drop-off, including a complacency among the coaching staff that he thinks came from contract extensions after the 2013 season. There was also a sense that Spurrier's messages weren't resonating as well with the players either, including his tale of a quarterback that called him "bro" in practice and a severe decline in attendance for the team's weekly chapel services.