Tag Archives: Arkansas Razorbacks

The Old Ball Couch Needs a Hug

So the University of South Carolina’s football coach gets criticized in a column and instead of shrugging it off, gets mad at all media and then get this, is now trying to get the columnist fired.  As Yahoo! Sports sees it.

Morris and Spurrier are enemies, we get that, but why penalize the entire media contingent? And why over this? Yes, Morris questions whether Shaw should have played in that game, but I think a lot of people were doing the same. Shaw looked pretty miserable during the bulk of the Vanderbilt game. He sat out the East Carolina game and many thought he should sit out UAB to be ready for the grueling SEC season.

In the end, Shaw’s shoulder proved not to be a big deal against Missouri as he completed 20 consecutive passes in a dominating 31-10 win.

So, I guess it’s kind of a “See, I was right all along” kinda thing to Morris, but still just another example of childish behavior by a coach toward the media, which seems to be happening far more often this year than in the past.

This is where it gets really stupid.

Apparently the contents of the article can not be tolerated by Spurrier in the future.

“I told my wife after the last article, ‘I’ve had it. I’ve had enough,’” Spurrier said. “‘I’m not going to take it anymore. I’ve had enough.’ Almost all of the Gamecocks say, ‘Coach, don’t pay any attention to him, he’s insignificant,’ which he is. He is not an important person. But they’re not having their name and reputation slandered. So, I’m the one. It’s not my mode of operation to not say anything about it. So, this is my voice here. He gets his voice in the newspaper, which he uses.”

The highlight of the segment comes in what Spurrier says next, where he eludes to the idea that he is going to get Morris fired from his job.

“I think we need to make some changes. I think some positive changes are going to happen,” Spurrier said. “They have a little problem over there that we know about, but they’re working on it. Our president and our athletic director, they’re all backing me in this.”

It’s hard to imagine someone saying they’d have taken a job somewhere else while in their current position, but that’s exactly what Spurrier goes on to say.

“When I came here, I didn’t know we had some enemies within our own city,” Spurrier said. “If Mike McGee, when he hired me, had said, ‘Steve, we’re going to give you a chance to run the football program at South Carolina. You hire your coaches, you do your thing, but you have to put up with the local media trying to trash you and try to ruin your reputation and they’ll try to portray you as a mean, evil, self-serving person.’ I would have said, ‘You give that job to somebody else. I’ll wait for the North Carolina [Tarheels] job to open,’ which opened the next year.”

Spurrier closes with reiteration of the idea that getting rid or Morris will bring the community closer together.

“I believe our city is going to be better off because we’re all going to get along better. That’s what it’s all about,” Spurrier said. “We’ve had some serious discussions about things. Basically, I said I’m not taking any more of this stuff that’s coming out of our local paper anymore. If that’s part of the job, I’ll head to the beach. That’s not part of the job. So, we’re going to get it straightened out.”

Like the calm before a storm, there’s a feeling that something major is about to happen in South Carolina. What does this mean for the future of the media that covers Gamecocks football? Will anyone who is critical of the team or Spurrier be subject to discipline? Who will the fans ultimately side with? Whether you like Steve Spurrier or not, it’s almost impossible to not look at what happens next.

I don’t know what the South Carolina media is like but I do follow the Notre Dame Fighting Irish media really closely and they criticize Brian Kelly, Charlie Weis, and even Lou Holtz when they are winning or losing.  It’s part of the job.  Ask Ken Miller how hard the media criticism can be and was one of the most successful Saskatchewan Roughrider coaches ever.  Only in the United States is the “football coach” a title and not a job.  

What’s sad is that this reverence for the “coach” is what leads to scandal like what happened at Penn State and like it or not, columnists like Ron Morris who question these guys are the counterbalance because the Athletic Director and university Presidents can or will not (notable exception was Arkansas in tossing Bobby Petrino).  Steve Spurrier makes $2.88 million a year and has one of the highest profile positions in the state.  With that comes criticism, not coddling.