Steve Spurrier has received criticism for still coaching South Carolina at age 70, and a report by Jeremy Henderson of The Sporting News suggests that Spurrier should take a lesson from Bear Bryant, who was just shy of the same age when he stepped down at Alabama.
Speaking to Henderson, SEC expert Paul Finebaum shared a story regarding Bryant and how “enemies” of his essentially forced him out once he got too old and recruits were shying away from the program, specifically Bo Jackson.
“My memory is a little fuzzy 28 years later or whatever it was, but the story was about Bryant beginning to lose his grip and there were a couple of assistant coaches who were trying to get out. He was losing a couple of recruits and I remember after that article came out — it was very close to recruiting, and during or around the time… I can’t remember, about a week or two….I’m not sure if Bo had made his decision yet,” he said.
“It was a big story and there was a picture of Bryant that was magnified where you could kind of see the crease in his head like craters in the moon. He just looked terribly old. I happened to be covering Auburn at the time. I was at Auburn the night before and I remember that one of Pat Dye’s assistants told me that they had gone out and gotten that newspaper… now just think about this, this would have been ’81, I guess… I mean, it’s not like today where you just email it or post it on Facebook… but one of the assistant coaches told me they got the newspaper and figured out a way to deliver it on the doorstep to every recruit they were after down the final stretch to kind of give them an idea of how things were coming undone.”
While that story does hold some water, albeit a very small amount, it seems pretty clear that Spurrier isn’t going anywhere despite his age.
Spurrier appears to be in great shape, has turned around South Carolina football, and is not going to step down until his health forces him to or until he feels it is time. Since taking over the Gamecocks, he has gone 84-45 (44-36 SEC) and has the team poised to make another strong statement in the SEC.
South Carolina opens the season against UNC on September 5 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports