South Carolina Football: Is Steve Spurrier Jr. the Head Ball Coach's Heir?

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South Carolina Football: Is Steve Spurrier Jr. the Head Ball Coach's Heir?
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier (center) isn't ready to retire.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Before getting down to the topic of Steve Spurrier's successor, disclaimers are necessary.

First of all, Spurrier has no intention of stepping down as head coach of South Carolina anytime soon.

Secondly, Spurrier would like to make it clear that he won't be involved in the process of selecting his successor.

“I would have no input whatsoever on who follows me here at South Carolina," Spurrier said. "I have never thought a head coach should even make suggestions. We have two men here very capable, Ray Tanner (athletic director) and Harris Pastides (university president). The athletic director and the president, they make the call."

Only Spurrier knows how much longer he'll coach, and even he is probably unsure. He turns 69 in April, but he's in excellent health and thoroughly relishing South Carolina's recent success.

His stock answer is "four to five more years," but he's been saying that every year for more than a decade.

When the day comes, Spurrier Jr.—the Gamecocks' wide receivers coach—would likely be at or near the top of a short list, at least when it comes to in-house candidates.

Like his father, Spurrier Jr. is entering his 10th season at South Carolina and is the only assistant coach remaining from the original staff.

Spurrier Jr., 42, played at Duke, where he earned a bachelor's degree, and has a master's degree from Florida.

Over the years, Spurrier Sr. has gradually added to his son's responsibilities. Spurrier Jr. became passing game coordinator in 2009, recruiting coordinator in 2011 and co-offensive coordinator in 2012.

Nevertheless, everyone knows who runs the show when it comes to the offense at South Carolina. Spurrier Sr. still does the majority of the play calling.

The lack of coordinating experience could be perceived as a major hole in Spurrier Jr.'s resume.

The vast majority of his coaching career has come working for his father, where there is simply no room for an offensive coordinator in the traditional sense.

He also worked under Spurrier Sr. from 1994-98 at Florida and 2002-2003 with the Washington Redskins.

Outside of working for Spurrier Sr., he worked from 1999-2001 as an assistant on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma, which included a national championship in 2000.

In 2004, he worked as an assistant coach at Arizona, before rejoining Spurrier Sr. at South Carolina in 2005.

"You never know what is going to happen from year to year," Spurrier Sr. said. "Steve Jr. may get an opportunity to be a coordinator somewhere else here soon and that may be something he may want to do. That’s something we don’t even discuss.”

Either way, Spurrier Jr.s name is almost certain to surface when Spurrier Sr. retires, and in many ways he is an intriguing candidate.

The two Spurriers are similar in appearance and mannerisms. Spurrier Jr. has a little less patience with the media, often ducking interview requests.

However, that's a relatively minor part of the overall job and he would almost certainly get better at it if it became necessary.

The biggest question is how far from the tree has the apple fallen when it comes to coaching genius?

If it's close, Spurrier Jr. could offer a possibly seamless transition from father to son and potentially years upon years of continued success for South Carolina.

And who says he has to be a coordinator first? Clemson hired its wide receivers coach, Dabo Swinney, after firing his boss.

That has worked fairly well for the Tigers, with the exception of beating South Carolina.

Spurrier Jr. won't have to worry about beating South Carolina, just Clemson, and senior has already given him the blueprint for that.

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes obtained first hand.

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