Auburn, AL—Sources I have spoken to within the last few hours have confided that current South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has been contacted by Auburn officials.
A source close to the situation stated that Spurrier’s name was on Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs’s short list, but would not give further information. Another source stated that Spurrier had interviewed with Jacobs late last week, and details of an offer have not been finalized.
“Auburn is being very careful not to upset the bowl preparations that are going on with Steve and South Carolina,” the source said.
Does this mean the interviews of, shall we say, "less statured" candidates may be for backup purposes should a deal not be reached? Would Auburn take a chance on an aging Spurrier who is 64 and seems content at USC, where there’s less pressure to win?
Auburn can certainly outspend South Carolina, head-to-head. Spurrier’s reported annual salary totals nearly $1.8 million and his buyout is $2 million.
The biggest question is would Spurrier be assured enough control over the program? Many believe Colonial Bank president and university trustee Bobby Lowder pulls the strings that move the athletic department.
Call me naive, but I doubt that sort of meddling continues today. SACS could do more to finish off Auburn football than the NCAA if Auburn University were to lose its accreditation. That’s too big of a risk even for Lowder. He is a money man who loves to feed his ego with power. However, I don’t believe he would risk devaluing previous and future Auburn University degrees for the sake of administering control over Auburn athletics.
My opinion of Lowder compares to three-hundred-year-old goat poop, under a muddy rock. None the less obviously, he loves and supports Auburn. He’ll be off the board in 2012, but who’s counting, anyway?
Under Spurrier, USC finished the regular season 7-5, 4-4 in the SEC. The Gamecocks will meet the Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-3) in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 1. It marks the third time they will go bowling under Spurrier in four seasons.
The Gamecocks were bowl-eligible at 6-6 in 2007 but did not receive an invitation. Spurrier has directed his teams to a 7-7 bowl record overall. The best record gained while at Florida. He was 0-1 in bowl games while coaching at Duke. He was 6-5 in bowl games as the head coach for the Gators, including a 52-20 win over Florida State in the 1997 Sugar Bowl to capture the national championship, and is 1-1 in two bowl games while guiding the Gamecocks.
It is unclear whether there is a leading candidate at this point for Auburn’s vacant head coaching position. However, with limited time between bowl games and signing day around the corner in February, naming a head ball coach must not be delayed too long.
Rushing to secure a hire is not the way to go, either. With Nick Saban at Alabama and clearly with the momentum over their archrival, Jay Jacob’s must hire a "wow factor" coach. The problem is there are simply not enough available coaches with Nick Saban’s star quality.
If Jacobs is telling the truth when he said money will not be a limitation, prove it! The last thing Auburn should do is hire an unproven coach. But, hey, legendary and former Auburn coach Pat Dye came from East Carolina by way on one year at Wyoming.
Consider this: Would Auburn have even entertained offering an opportunity to current Florida head coach Urban Meyer while at Utah? Many people are upset with Jay Jacobs; some are not. It’s a matter of opinion, and what you believe are the reasons why Tommy Tuberville resigned from Auburn.
As an Auburn fan, I want to believe it happened just the way Jacobs said in the media. Until Tuberville say’s differently, I’ll take him at his word. With that being said, I would not want to be in the shoes of Jay Jacobs. Or maybe I would—if I could hire Steve Spurrier.
Stay tuned; the saga continues...