COLUMBIA, S.C. — Steve Spurrier took over as football coach at South Carolina on Tuesday, signing a seven-year deal worth $1.25 million a season that could grow to more than $2 million with incentives. He pledged to turn the Gamecocks into the consistent winner he built for 12 seasons at Florida.
But Spurrier returns after a dose of humility, a 12-20 record in two seasons as coach of the Washington Redskins in 2002 and 2003.
"Maybe I was a little arrogant. Maybe I ran my mouth more than I should," Spurrier said. "Human nature comes down and causes you maybe to feel you've got more answers than you really do when you've got a real good team.
"So hopefully, I've learned some humility and great respect for all coaches."
Is this the same man who quipped that you can't spell the Citrus Bowl without UT (Tennessee)? Or called Florida State "Free Shoes University"? Or recounted how a Gator receiver told him it was nice of Gamecock fans to wear all black -- it was a "Black Out Florida" effort -- so the Gators could easily see the football in a 56-17 rout in Columbia three seasons ago?
Spurrier, who replaces Lou Holtz, led the Gators to six Southeastern Conference titles and the 1996 national championship. He seemingly could have stayed forever in Gainesville, Fla., but resigned in 2001 to coach the Redskins.
Spurrier, 59, left the NFL after last season and waited for the right college job.
There was a strong push from some Florida followers for Spurrier to return to his old position after Ron Zook was fired. But Spurrier pulled out of the running and said again Tuesday that 12 years at the same university was enough.
Spurrier was 20-13-1 in three seasons at Duke before going to Florida in 1990. He had 122 victories in 12 seasons, tormented opponents with his offensive flair and witty one-liners, and departed with the best winning percentage in league history.