South Carolina Gamecocks: Top 10 Coaches Of All Time
The South Carolina Gamecocks won their first ever SEC East Championship this past season in school history, and played in their first SEC Championship game as well.
The Gamecock football history can be dated back all the way to 1892, and have had 32 coaches over the last 119 years.
The Gamecocks have a storied past, and one with both ups and downs. Fans have had to suffer through a lot of tough times, but in the last few years things seem to be on the way up.
I spent four years at the university from 2004-2008, and had the opportunity to watch my gamecocks play under two coaching legends: Steve Spurrier and Lou Holtz.
Being a northerner dropped into southern college football I was hit hard with the religion of football, and the stories of past players and coaches from the university.
This top ten list is going to consist of coaches that you may not have heard of, but have been good coaches and had winning teams and a winning reputation.
The criteria for my top ten list is that coaches had to stay more than just one year.
This led to narrowing the candidates down to 20 individuals to choose from for this list.
What coaches make up this list, and are currently one of Carolina's top ten coaches of all time?
No. 10- N.B Edgerton, 1912-1915
Edgerton coach way back when.
He coached the Gamecocks for 4 seasons and posted a 19-13-3 record.
Edgerton never had a losing season at Carolina.
His worst season 1914, Edgerton and the Gamecocks went 5-5-1.
Edgerton is No. 12 on the Gamecocks all-time win list and is an early pioneer to the Gamecock football program.
No. 9- C.R. Williams, 1902-1903
Williams is No. 10 on the all-time coaching list at South Carolina because he was the first coach in school history to post a above .500 win percentage.
Williams coached the Gamecocks for two years (1902-1903), where he posted a 14-3 record and a win percentage of .824.
Williams was known to be a defensive minded coach, and his teams proved that almost to a 'T'.
The most points that Williams teams gave up ever was 17 points.
Not much more is known of one of South Carolina's earliest coaches, but he was a coach that first brought a winning way to Gamecocks football and that is why he begins the list at No. 10.
No. 8- Warren Giese, 1956-1960
Warren Giese spent five seasons as the South Carolina head football coach. Those five years would be the only years he would ever be a head coach in college football.
Giese sported a record of 28-21-1 during his tenure in Columbia.
His best seasons came in 1956 and 1958 where he posted a 7-3 record.
Giese's biggest win came in his first year at South Carolina where he and the Gamecocks defeated Duke for the first time in 26 years, 7-0.
That win sprung the football team to the No. 17 rank in the country.
Giese is best known for implementing the two-point conversion.
In 1959 the Gamecocks lined up and attempted 13 attempts at two points.
This record is still No. 1 in South Carolina Gamecock history as the most attempts in a single season.
During the five year tenure, Giese had the Gamecocks ranked as high as No. 11 in the country.
No. 7- Lou Holtz- 1999-2004
Lou Holtz finds himself in the No. 8 spot on the all-time Gamecock list.
Holtz coached for six seasons in Columbia where he posted a 33-37 record.
Holtz came out of retirement to coach the Gamecocks in 1999, where he spent time as an assistant in the 1960's.
Holtz came in to a dismal situation in Carolina where the team went 1-10 in the year before Holtz arrived.
Lou could not improve on that record as his first year as head coach when the Gamecocks failed to win a single game and finished the season 0-11.
The South Carolina under Holtz would not be down for long. In his second year the Gamecocks went on to win eight games.
The played in the Outback Bowl where they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were big favorites in that game.
Holtz won the Outback Bowl again against Ohio State the next year as well when the Gamecocks improved to a 9-3 record.
The University and fans can look at Lou Holtz as the coach who started the winning ways back at South Carolina.
Holtz though finished his career at South Carolina with a losing record and a single game that tarnished his legacy as coach.
Holtz's Gamecocks and in-state rival Clemson got into a brawl in the 2004 matchup that led to both teams schools denying their teams a bowl game.
This is why Lou Holtz is the No.8 coach in school history
No. 6- Billy Laval, 1928-1934
Laval led the Gamecocks to seven consecutive winning seasons.
He finished as head coach at South Carolina with an impressive 39-26-6 record.
What is impressive about Laval's success as a football coach, was that he never played football in his life.
A man in his position today could never get near any division of college footbal coaching position.
With his 39 wins Laval sits as the No. 5 most winning coach in Gamecock football history.
No. 5- Sol Metzger
Sol Metzger is a name that most Gamecocks would not know.
However, his five years spent coaching the South Carolina football team saw Metzger finish with a 26-18-2 record.
Metzger's best season came in 1924 where the Gamecocks finished the year at 7-3.
A 4-6 season was Sol's only losing mark in 1923.
There may not be a lot history kept about the older coaches in Carolina football history, but these coaches kept Gamecock football alive in times when programs were being lost and the country needed its young men to serve its country in a time of need.
Metzger was able to coach a team to a winning record in five seasons, and was a pioneer that all Gamecock fans and current players and coaches should know about.
No. 4- Jim Carlen, 1975-1981
Carlen is in no doubt one of the all-time coaches in Carolina football history.
In his seven years he won 45 games, and posted a winning record of 45-36-1
Those 45 wins leaves him as the No. 2 coach in wins in school history.
South Carolina only has one Heisman Trophy winner, George Rogers was running back at South Carolina when Carlen was coach in 1980.
Carlen led the Gamecocks to three bowl games (Tangerine, Hall of Fame and Gator) all of which the Carolina Gamecocks lost.
Carlen posted his best seasons in 1979 and 1980 with 8-4 records.
Carlen will go down in Gamecock history as the man who coached the universities sole Heisman winner.
Along with this his winning style and top rank in Carolina win history has solidified his name as a top ranked coach in the Gamecock all-time best.
No. 3- Rex Enright
If you ask Gamecock students who is the all-time leading coach in Gamecock history, the majority would not guess Rex Enright.
Enright is No. 1 on the Gamecocks win list with 64.
Enright also holds the longest tenure at the university at 15 seasons from 1938-1942 and again from 1946-1955.
Enright and his team had their best season in 1953, when they went 7-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Enright was coach of the Gamecocks when college atheltics and sports in general were put on the back burner, as the United States found itself fighting in the second world war.
Enright comes in at No. 3 of the Gamecocks all-time coaching list because he leads the team in both wins and seasons coached, as well as coaching a team and university through a tough period of American history.
His total wins are going to be hard to beat for now current coach Steve Spurrier who currently sits 20 wins behind with 44, but are well with in reach by 2014.
No. 2- Joe Morrison
Joe Morrison is best known for the Gamecocks "Black Magic."
He was known for getting his team all geared up in black for games.
Morrison is arguably the greatest coach in Carolina football history.
He spent only six years coaching in Columbia but saw a record of 39-28-2.
He is one of few coaches who have ever been a head coach with out ever being an assistant previously.
Morrison led the Gamecocks to three bowl games, where they would lose all three.
Morrison is most touted for his Coach of the Year award in 1984 after posting a record of 10-2.
Morrison will be known around Carolina alumni, coaches, players and current students for his before game song: Also sprach Zarathustra which is best known from "2001: A Space Odyssey."
The black magic still resonates through William Brice Stadium to this day, and the spirit of coach Joe Morrison is felt as well to this day.
No. 1: Steve Spurrier
The Ol' Ball Coach comes in as my No. 1 ranked coach in Carolina history.
Steve Spurrier has only spent six seasons as the Carolina football coach, but has amassed 44 victories and a 44-33 record.
He has an SEC East championship that he and his Gamecocks accomplished this past season, and found themselves in the SEC Championship game against future National Champions Auburn.
Spurrier has been a coach in college football known for his high power offenses that throw throw the ball all over the field.
However, the coach has had to make changes at South Carolina and lean to a more blue-collared rushing offense which worked out greatly for the Gamecocks this past year.
Steve Spurrier sits at No. 3 on the wins list with 44, one win behind Coach Carlen.
By the end of his coaching career at Carolina he will be the all-time winning coach in school history.
Coach Spurrier has brought in top recruits since he became the coach in 2005, and the univeristy and fans have started to see the results of what a coach with a great legacy can bring to a university.
Steve Spurrier is my No. 1 for all-time coaches in school history based on what he has accomplished so far in his short career at the University of South Carolina as well as what he will more than likely continue to do in the next coming years.