Steve Spurrier informed his South Carolina team Monday night that he is retiring immediately and that an interim coach will be named Tuesday, according to multiple players and sources.
Quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus and co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Shawn Elliott are the leading candidates to be named interim head coach, according to sources.
Spurrier, who is 70, has a 228-89-2 career record at Duke, Florida and South Carolina. He is the Gamecocks’ all-time winningest coach with 86 victories.
“Thank you coach!” Gamecocks great Marcus Lattimore tweeted Monday night. “Your impact will live forever in this state. Your legacy will never be forgotten I promise you that.”
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Said USC board of trustee Eddie Floyd: “I’m shocked, and I have a lot of sadness, too. I think Coach Spurrier has done so much for us and showed us we can win.”
USC athletics director Ray Tanner, president Harris Pastides and Spurrier did not return phone calls Monday night.
The Gamecocks are 2-4 (0-4 SEC) to start 2015. Spurrier has never had a losing season as USC’s coach, and the team has been bowl-eligible in his first 10 seasons.
While Floyd, namesake for the building at the north end zone of Williams-Brice Stadium, did not expect Spurrier to quit, he noticed a change in the coach during losses at Missouri and LSU in the past two weeks.
“He looked on TV like he was real upset,” Floyd said. “It was a look of disbelief.”
Floyd said he would have preferred Spurrier remain for the rest of the season.
“If he wants to go now, there’s no reason for us to second guess it,” he said.
Spurrier was introduced as USC’s 32nd head coach on Nov. 23, 2004. He is 86-49 overall as USC’s head coach. He surpassed Rex Enright’s school record for wins when he recorded No. 65 at Clemson in the 2012 season finale.
USC trustees chairman Gene Warr learned the news about Spurrier like most others Monday, from texts about early media reports.
“He seemed to be troubled by losing,” Warr said. “He’s always been a player who’s won and a coach who’s won.”
Warr would not question Spurrier’s decision to retire immediately. “It’s his life. I’m not in his shoes and don’t know how he feels.”
Warr said Spurrier tolerated the struggle of his early seasons at USC because “he just knew he would get it done, and he did get it done.”
Warr said he did not have a preference on the next coach and would leave the decision to Tanner.
In his first season at South Carolina, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a 7-5 record and a second-place finish in the SEC Eastern Division. He was honored as the SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press after leading the Gamecocks to a school-record five straight SEC wins.
His 2010 USC team posted several milestones en route to a 9-5 season, the biggest of which was the school’s first SEC Eastern Division title and first appearance in the SEC Championship. The Gamecocks defeated No. 1 Alabama along the way. Spurrier that season was named SEC Coach of the Year for the seventh time.
The Gamecocks went on to finish 11-2 in three-straight seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
In 2014, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a school-record fourth-consecutive bowl victory with a win over Miami in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
“I am blessed to say I was coached by a legend,” said freshman offensive lineman Christian Pellage in a tweet. “Best of luck to you Coach Spurrier. Stay cocky!”
David Cloninger and Andrew Shain contributed