Spurrier and his visor will be missed, but not too much

Published 12:16 pm Thursday, October 15, 2015

I was a 14-year-old boy in the stands of the Georgia vs. South Carolina game in 2005 at Sanford Stadium. It was the first time coach Steve Spurrier had stepped foot Between the Hedges wearing a Gamecocks visor.

The year before, the Bulldogs had somehow, someway managed to climb out of a hole at Williams-Brice Stadium and win 20-16 in a doozy of a ball game. I was at that game too, high up in the stands in unfamiliar territory. I didn’t quite understand the significance of the win. I didn’t really know who Spurrier was or why it mattered we beat his team, in his house, his first year on the job.

On that Saturday when South Carolina came to Sanford Stadium in 2005, I was well aware of the Head Ball Coach’s exploits and his infamy in Dawg Nation lore.

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Spurrier got some kind of thrill out of pummeling Georgia through most of his 12-year tenure as Florida’s coach, all because Georgia pummeled him 27-10 his senior year as the Gator’s quarterback in 1966. It’s a hate ingrained deep in the man, and it’s why Georgia loves to see him writhing after a loss.

So the HBC is back in Athens. He’s hungry for a win. He’s being his usual animated self on the sideline, stomping and yelling and waving his arms in the air.

And then it happens, the legendary act that sends the stadium into a frenzy.

In a moment of blinding rage, Spurrier grabs the bills of his visor and slings it down into the grass.

Georgia fans. Went. Nuts.

Spurrier announced his retirement Monday, five games deep into his 11th season as the Gamecocks coach. I must say, I’m going to miss seeing him prancing up and down the sideline, his hands on his hips and a smug smile spread across his face. He was a villain for Florida State and Georgia. We loved to hate him.

But even we can’t deny the incredible coaching talent he brought to the sport we love, and how he changed the game for the better. That fun ‘n gun offensive style, where passing the ball didn’t necessarily mean you had run out of all other options, has been picked up by hundreds of teams across the nation. His ruthless humor and wit, though it still makes some Dawg fans twist their faces in disgust, was a breath of fresh air in a world of increasingly rehearsed media relations.

Part of me hopes he’ll never come near a football field again. Another part chuckles at the thought of him becoming a college football commentator, cracking jokes and jabs on ESPN College Game Day.

Wherever he ends up, you better believe he won’t let it interfere with his tee time.