Breaking: Steve Spurrier to retire
The Head Ball Coach is hanging up his visor effective immediately, FootballScoop can confirm. Sports Illustrated first reported the news Monday evening.
An interim head coach will be named Tuesday morning at 8:30 ET.
A true original in every sense of the word, Spurrier won a Heisman Trophy as a Florida quarterback in 1966, then returned to his alma mater in 1990 and turned the Gators into a juggernaut. His Fun ‘n’ Gun system was ahead of its time, plowing through SEC defenses to the tune of eight top 10 finishes in a dozen seasons, a school-record 122 wins and a national championship in 1996.
After a brief stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier returned to the college game at South Carolina in 2005 and took to the Gamecocks to heights previously unreached, peaking with an unprecedented SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13.
That peak saw a steep drop off, though. South Carolina slid to a 6-6 regular season in 2014, though Spurrier insisted an Independence Bowl victory over Miami had re-energized him. After an offseason spent picking fights with Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia (this is the Head Ball Coach we’re talking about), South Carolina sputtered to a 2-4 start with blowout losses to Georgia and LSU. Two Sundays ago, Scott wrote that this felt like this would happen now. He did not want to be right.
With possible setbacks to Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson on the horizon, it appears Spurrier decided to call it a day. And for that, we are all worse for it.
South Carolina becomes the fifth FBS program to make a head coaching change this season – and fourth this week, following Illinois (announced in August), North Texas (Saturday night), Maryland (Sunday) and USC (earlier today). As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Visors should be re-named “Spurriers”. He’s 1st Team All-Bro for sure.
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) October 13, 2015
From Dan Wetzel:
@SC_HBC Spurrier to me once after an interception: “Danny, It’s not your fault…It’s my fault for putting you in the game.” Love you Coach!
— Danny Wuerffel (@DannyWuerffel) October 13, 2015
Steve Spurrier's success at Florida is astounding. For one, he won more SEC titles in 12 seasons (six) than he had home losses (five).
— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) October 13, 2015
USC fires Steve Sarkisian
Steve Sarkisian’s indefinite leave of absence lasted less than 24 hours. On Monday afternoon, USC AD Pat Haden announced he had fired Sarkisian after posting a 12-6 mark in a season and a half in Los Angeles.
“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately.
“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation.
“Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being.”
Some #USC players are finding out via Twitter that Sarkisian is fired. Position coaches also have texted their players.
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 12, 2015
USC is the fourth FBS program to announce a coaching change in 2015, and third in the last 48 hours, following Illinois, Maryland and North Texas. Needless to say, the Trojans jump to the front of the line for any and all available coaches.
The immediate question: is Haden the right guy to make that hire? The highlights of his now five years running his alma mater include hiring Lane Kiffin, then firing him at the airport; hiring a basketball coach based off one successful NCAA Tournament weekend, only to see him go 23-41 in his first two seasons; sustaining a fine for what Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott called attempting “to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest” at Stanford last season; mismanaging Sarkisian over the past two months; and now firing him after 18 underwhelming games as head coach.
And, in a more important angle to this sad story, it’s obviously been a devastating end to a tumultuous year for Sarkisian. Here’s hoping this proves to be the catalyst that Sark uses to quickly become the best version of himself that he can be.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Update> SB Nation is reporting that Sark has checked himself into a residential treatment facility. A source told SBN, “He’s grateful for all the support that will help him get through this difficult time.”
Could 5-hour energy cause a failed NCAA drug test?
Following the news of Florida quarterback Will Grier’s failed NCAA drug test following what he asserts was taking an over the counter supplement that he did not clear with Florida’s medical staff, I wondered, what kind of supplements would cause a player to fail a test?
If a player, coach or parent wanted clear, demonstrative guidance from the NCAA on what is and is not allowed, is that information made clearly available to them by the NCAA? In light of the Grier news, that’s what I really wanted to know.
Certainly, one would think there is a website maintained by the NCAA that lists all banned substances and allowances, etc… Right? Right? Has to be, right? It’s 2015, right?
Well, the answer in this case, is…. you guessed it: Wrong.
The NCAA does not maintain a publicly available website listing banned substances.
Here’s the path I went down, follow along kids:
First, I Googled: NCAA banned substances list and I got this: http://www.ncaa.org/2015-16-ncaa-banned-drugs (sounded like the right place but alas…almost nothing there)
So, I clicked on this http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2015-16%20NCAA%20Banned%20Drugs.pdf
That’s a pdf of the “2015-2016 NCAA Banned Drugs”
@FootballScoop NCAA Banned substance list includes 5-hour energy. Would like to see the NCAA join 2015 and make punishments fit the crime.
— Charlie Skalaski IV (@CoachSkalaski) October 12, 2015
But, alas, the NCAA has a note on that pdf that “Additional examples of banned drugs can be found at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting.”
So I went there. Nope, nothing on that webpage.
So, I clicked on “Banned Drugs Poster.”
Nothing but a bunch of bullets…and a link to www.drugfreesport.com/rec
You guessed it, nothing there. Well, they do give you a generic NCAA1 password to use, which I did…and got nothing. You then have to register with your email and they will respond to you via email.
WTF people. This is 2015. Put up a webpage. THAT. IS. ALL.
Oh, so, back to the tweet above, about could drinking a 5-hour energy cause a player to fail an NCAA drug test. So, the NCAA does have this pdf available on one of those various webpages I visited.
Is that clear? “May result in a positive drug test”. Hmmm…. NO! What is wrong with you people? C’mon man, NCAA. Do something right.
So, would 5 Hour Energy really cause a failed drug test. I asked a coach, his response was, if it was taken anytime close to the test, 75% chance you fail.
What? 75% chance? What is that? NCAA, clarify your guidance. This is ridiculous.
[Note: Post was updated to remove references that Florida QB Will Grier had reportedly been suspended for testing positive for Ligandrol. Florida’s media relations staff has now told reporters that this is not what he tested positive for….but they won’t say what it was for.]
George O’Leary to step down as UCF interim AD, and “refocus” on duties as head coach
According to a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN, UCF head coach and interim athletic director George O’Leary is stepping down from his AD role to “refocus” on his duties as the program’s head football coach.
Central Florida’s George O’Leary expected to continue duties as football coach, but will resign as athletic… http://t.co/pQN4RRVvin
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) October 12, 2015
Back in June O’Leary took on the additional role as the interim athletic director, following the departure of AD Todd Stansbury (who took the same position at Oregon State).
UCF has undergone a fall from grace of sorts this season, starting the season 0-6, with a number of bad losses on the docket, including one point losses to FIU and Furman, and a double digit loss to Tulane. Just a few short seasons ago, in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, UCF knocked off Baylor in a 52-42 offensive slugfest.
Hopefully O’Leary getting the chance to refocus will get the program back on track, but it’s going to be an uphill battle with Houston this weekend, and the rest of their remaining schedule is far from a picnic.
What is Pat Haden’s role in the Sark saga?
The scene at the USC football offices yesterday and the cloud it left behind, it could have so easily been avoided. Pat Haden had every justification at his disposal to fire Steve Sarkisian for football reasons on Thursday night. The Trojans, then ranked 17th in the country and clinging to hopes of a Pac-12 championship and beyond, lost 17-12 in the L.A. Coliseum to a Washington team that hadn’t beaten a Power Five opponent with a winning record in more than a year.
But Haden didn’t, showing a level of restraint he didn’t have when he dismissed Sarkisian’s predecessor, and now it may end up costing him his own job as well.
The most perplexing question in the aftermath of Sarkisian’s abrupt yet not-that-surprising leave of absence from the USC football program is his athletics director’s role in the saga. (One would think the College Football Playoff brass, where Haden serves as a selection committee member, would like to know as well.)
Before we go any further, consider the report the Los Angeles Times was able to dig up on Sarkisian’s habits at Washington:
- During a stop at a rib joint in Nashville in January 2013, for example, Sarkisian and three assistants ordered four shots of Patron Silver, four shots of an unspecified liquor and five beers. The coach cashed out at 11:53 a.m.
- One ex-player said that in 2009, Sarkisian’s first season with the Huskies, the coach sometimes arrived at morning team meetings “smelling like booze and [with] eyes all red, like he’s been on a bender.”
- Two other former players said Sarkisian and other coaches regularly consumed alcohol in offices — one said the coach typically kept an 18-pack of Coors Light stashed near his desk — and that he appeared uncharacteristically loud and unsteady on some team flights.
Again, this was all at Washington. Haden said Sarkisian’s time in Seattle was vetted “extensively” before he returned to USC in December 2013. Did that extensive vetting extend to Pete Carroll? The former USC coach was Sarkisian’s boss for seven years and shared the Seattle football scene with him for four more. Certainly Carroll was one of the first calls Haden made when researching Sarkisian. Did he not know?
Now, fast forward to August 2015. Haden became nose-to-nose with Sarkisian’s alcohol issues when he personally removed his head coach from the stage at USC’s annual Salute to Troy event. Haden, Sarkisian and the Trojans’ brass huddled, and told the press the following Monday that Saturday night’s behavior was the result of mixing alcohol and medication, nothing more. Sarkisian would seek treatment, but he didn’t think he had a problem. He’d pay his penance with his players by running some sprints and doing some up-downs.
And then Haden sent him out to coach the biggest, most stressful season of his life.
So it should be no surprise that reports emerged of Sarkisian possibly being drunk on the sidelines of USC’s win over Arizona State, or him arriving to Heritage Hall Sunday morning under the effects of alcohol.
There are two avenues for Haden to take here: either he wasn’t fully aware of his head football coach’s pattern with alcohol, or he knew and thought it wasn’t serious enough to pull him from the sidelines back in August.
Both options are disturbing, and call into question Haden’s ability to lead USC through its current turmoil and beyond.