The way I felt when South Carolina lost to the Citadel was a feeling I haven’t felt in 7 years since 15 year old me was doing some shit I had absolutely no business doing. That loss was actually only the second time I’ve ever been pissed off and hurt by my Gamecocks, with the first being when I traveled to Kentucky to just watch them choke away a lead to them in 2014.
The Gamecocks are currently staring down the barrel of their worst season since Lou Holtz took over the program in 1999, a year in which he went 0-11. And this leads me to my next few points.
Steve Spurrier did not leave the program in better condition than he found it talent wise, but that’s fine. What’s done is done and we can move past this. But this program has some great facilities and the school is actually behind the football program now.
Whoever athletic director Ray Tanner decides to hire, he must keep in mind that his next choice can either make or break the direction of this program. South Carolina Gamecock Athletics are on the rise, and this includes the other sports such as soccer and equestrian. We know what Dawn Staley is doing for the Women’s Basketball program and we get the feeling the Men’s Basketball team can break through under Frank Martin soon. These other sports have bright future’s in place because they have their longterm coach there. Clearly Shawn Elliot isn’t the man for this job and that’s fine. He’s not quite ready to be a head coach but I’m hoping he catches on somewhere at another FBS program (not here cause we need to see new faces on the sideline).
As you can tell by our last two head coaches, South Carolina has been on a trend hiring head coaches who found major success at other programs. Lou Holtz found success reviving the NC State football program, he won 60 games at Arkansas and a National Championship at Notre Dame. Steve Spurrier revived the Duke football program been turning the Florida Gators into a national powerhouse and winning a National Championship there.
Outside of 1969 and 1984, South Carolina Gamecocks’ football hasn’t been much of anything. But Holtz and Spurrier basically laid the foundation for this program to be great. That is why Ray Tanner can’t afford to hire someone who made his name elsewhere. We don’t need anymore used goods like we had already gotten. Some coaches you feel like they’ve hit their ceiling already.
Has a guy like Les Miles already reached his peak? While at Oklahoma State he became their first head coach since Pat Jones (1886-1988) to have 3 consecutive winning seasons (2002-2004). He won a BCS National Championship at LSU in his 3rd season, has 2 SEC championships to his name and he’s averaging 10 wins a season. Things are beginning to sour down there in Baton Rouge because despite the talent he’s bringing in (except at quarterback) he can’t beat Alabama. And it’s not like LSU has the tradition of Alabama, but Nick Saban made LSU relevant again only to leave them for the NFL only to leave the NFL for Alabama. Now at Alabama he’s winning national titles and kicking LSU’s ass annually.
Although I think Miles is a good coach, I don’t think he’s the right fit this program. I also feel the program needs a younger coach.
Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman seems to be the ideal candidate and one high up on the list for the Gamecocks. Houston is doing everything in their power to try and keep Herman, but the chances of that are slim to none. And following Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State, star running back Ezekiel Elliott calling out OSU’s play calling did nothing but raise Tom Herman’s stock. Their offense has been a complete disappointment this year and you can point to the loss of Herman as the main reason why.
Herman is the my favorite candidate and after what he’s done with Houston this season, I’m sure that could be said for a lot of people.
Kirby Smart, Alabama Defensive Coordinator – Can you believe he is only 39? With the exception of a year as the running back coach at Georgia under Mark Richt in 2005, Smart has been coaching under Nick Saban since 2004. It’s pretty amazing that Smart has stayed at Alabama as long as he has. With his defense playing at a high level again this year, he seems like a smart hire. We see the success Jim McElwain, a former Nick Saban offensive coordinator, is having in history year at Florida. I also look at the fact that Pat Narduzzi is having a good year at the University of Pittsburgh in his first season. Narduzzi was the longtime defensive coordinator of Mark Dantonio at the Michigan State (Dantonio played football South Carolina. But I HIGHLY doubt he would come here) and had many opportunities as head coaching gigs before finally leaving for the Panthers.
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt Head Coach – You have to make Mason tell you no. James Franklin left Vanderbilt after two 9-4 seasons and landed at Penn State. Despite it not showing via win-loss record, his young Commodores team has made great strides from last season, most notably his defense. Could Ray Tanner have some say in the offensive coordinator? I also think you have to make Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze say no. Open the checkbook for him. He has to compete with a bunch of tough teams every year in the SEC West. It’s less cannibalizing in the SEC East. Chad Morris from SMU as well. Imagine the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry?