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Steve Spurrier chosen as namesake of FWAA First-Year Coach Award

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-Legendary former Florida Gators football coach Steve Spurrier has been selected by the Football Writers Association of America as the namesake of an award that recognizes the work of a head coach in a new position, choosing Spurrier’s name for the First-Year Coach Award.

This will be the 20th straight season in which the FWAA has recognized a First-Year Coach. The SEC has four first-year coaches this fall: Tennessee’s Josh Heupel, Auburn’s Bryan Harsin, Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer.

Spurrier built winning programs at not only Florida, but Duke and South Carolina as well. He understands the challenges that come with taking over a program, and appreciates seeing it done well.

“I’m intrigued by these guys who come in who don’t use all these excuses, about giving me three or four years, let me get my guys in here and all that,” said Spurrier. “They just come in and say we’ve got ballplayers here, and we’re going to try to train them and coach them and beat the eleven ballplayers on the other team. That’s what I always tried to do.”

“Steve Spurrier is the ideal namesake for this (coaching) award, a game-changer and program maker at each of his collegiate head coaching stops,” FWAA Past President Mike Griffith said. “Spurrier provided his players a winning edge strategically and psychologically with his creativity and confidence, a truly unique legend of the game.”

Spurrier himself was chosen as the FWAA’s First-Year Coach in 2005 following his first season at South Carolina. Spurrier compiled a 7-5 record in his initial season with the Gamecocks. His decade of dominance at Florida started upon his arrival in 1990, when the Gators had the SEC’s best record at 9-2 overall (6-1 conference).

Spurrier went on to lead the Gators to six SEC titles and the 1996 national title, and is the all-time leader in coaching wins at both Florida (122) and South Carolina (86). He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as a player, having won the Heisman Trophy in 1966.

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