Earlier this week I promised that, as I've done with the head coaches of our previous opponents, I'd be helping you get to know Stephen Orr Spurrier. This poses a bit of a challenge, not least of all because you already know a lot about Stevey now just mediocre in SEC play Superior. That's why this week I had to do some real detective work. I went beyond my usual routine. I think I finished the drill. But I'll let you be the judge.
Delmer, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, but the great Satan hisself is leathery, wears a visor, and employs a bifurcated quarterback rotation . . .
Steve Spurrier was born in Miami and raised in Johnson City, Tennessee, the precocious 4th child of Ebenezer and Maude Spurrier. Little is known of his childhood because most sensible people (even sensible Florida fans) have had the good sense to leave that state on the first thing with wheels. This included all the folks what got the readin' and writin' except for David Cutcliffe Trooper Taylor Kenny Chesney Arian Foster. And he'll be leaving soon too if people don't get off his case. Therefore, all we know about Steve Spurrier's upbringing are the songs and legends, many of which still live among the mountain folk who he first recruited to run the fun and gun.
I've already called Steve Spurrier a crackhead and admitted that it would really tickle my fancy if he developed the kind of below the equator dermatological condition that causes Pete Carroll to juggle his roster. This might give the impression that I have it in for the guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have immense respect for the Ole Ball Coach's many accomplishments, on the gridiron and off, including:
- Playing nine seasons with the San Fransisco 49ers. By finally relinquishing his spectacularly mediocre grasp on the 49ers quarterback job, Spurrier cleared the way for Joe Montana to lead them to NFL dominance. In other words, following a perverse logic, Steve Spurrier is the Quincy Carter of San Fran football. Think about that one for a moment.
- Being the original vocalist for Pure Praire League. A lot of people don't know that. Until of course he was yanked in the middle of a gig in Cedar Rapids by, as he still puts it, "that rat bastard Vince Gill." Thus began a lifelong displacement syndrome in which Spurrier gives the old heave ho' to those he really loves. This may explain why Shane Matthews remains the only quarterback Spurrier's never pulled from a game. Just don't tell Shane Matthews, assuming you can find him. It would probably crush the little guy.
- Supporting his family. Speaking of little guys, a lot of people don't know that Spurrier's son is actually the backup holder on extra points for Dad's Gamecocks. The younger Spurrier toils in obscurity mainly because a) South Carolina's offense scores enough to bring in the backup holder about as often as Mark Mangino orders the tofuburger, and b) the kid's shorter than Bobby Petrino's tenure in Louisville, Atlanta, aw hell, just pick a city and you'll be right eventually Fayetteville. He also has his other son calling plays for the Gamecocks. Nepotism: skewing the job market since 500 B.C.!
- Winning the Heisman Trophy. Many think that Spurrier's Heisman is on display in his office. In fact, that's a replacement for the one that Spurrier dropped when he turned around at the ceremony to see Bill Stanfill approaching to congratulate him. I'm not sure where he keeps the replacement pants he donned after that same incident.
- Coaching the Washington Redskins. Steve Spurrier sucked as coach of the Washington Redskins at least as badly as the other stiffs not named Joe Gibbs. Doug Gillett may or may not have lifted the fatwah against him for that.
- Backgammon. Spurrier's a cutthroat backgammon addict. He gives no quarter, man. Only plays in the big money games down by the docks in Charleston. I once heard that he stabbed a guy in an argument over a backgammon game. Later I learned that it was actually Terry Bowden and Spurrier did it because "the little joker just gives me the squiggly jigglies."
- The Redskins weren't Spurrier's first pro gig, by the way. Many forget that Spurrier coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL until the league dissolved. This was a big surprise to Spurrier, who had been so busy diagraming pass plays in his office that he hadn't noticed the 3 missed paychecks leading up to having his chalkboard repossessed by a guy named Luigi. But then, Spurrier was also surprised when he learned that he had not in fact been coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, too. The guy's from Tennessee and went to college in Gainesville, after all. So you just have to make some allowances.
- I've heard he won a National Championship at Florida in the mid-90's. Like the 2005 Sugar Bowl and the 1999 Auburn game, I remember none of that, sir. Moving on . . .
- Perhaps more impressive, Spurrier won the ACC championship while coaching at Duke in 1989. That's right, Duke. This accomplishment was most surprising to the administration at Duke, which had apparently forgotten that they had a football team. And after Spurrier left, they discontinued it again. I'll be back this afternoon with this week's Five Things. Until then . . .