GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Upon taking his new job last week, Steve Spurrier emphasized he’s not returning to Florida as a coach.
He’ll serve as a university ambassador and consultant for the program. However, that doesn’t mean he’s off limits for UF coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
“I’m not coaching anything, I want everybody to be clear,” Spurrier told GatorVision. “But if (McElwain) and coach Nuss want to ask some questions or what’s my opinion, I’m free to do that. That’s perfectly within the rules. So if I can help do that, that’ll be good.”
McElwain and Nussmeier plan on doing just that. During Florida’s football media day Wednesday, McElwain was asked about Spurrier and if he’ll pick his brain.
“No doubt about it,” he said with a smile.
McElwain was instrumental in bringing Spurrier to Florida and began pursuing him after his retirement last year.
“I understand history a little bit and I understand what this guy’s done for this university from an historical standpoint,” McElwain said. “This is where he belongs. He’s a Gator and always will be a Gator.
“Our opportunity to tap him and his knowledge on a lot of things — not just the football piece. I’m talking about the traditions, I’m talking about what it was that made (Florida) great. I’m not talking about X’s and O’s. I’m talking about a lot of the things that go into being successful.”
Some coaches may have been against bringing someone of Spurrier’s caliber into their program, but McElwain wasn’t threatened and jumped on the opportunity.
“What are egos? Those are things that get you fired,” McElwain said. “I just like the ability to have good people around you and that’s what it’s all about.
“He’s a guy I got to know a couple years ago … and I genuinely just enjoyed being around the guy. Being able to have that relationship is something that’s pretty special.”
Nussmeier, who is also the quarterbacks coach, wants to use Spurrier as a resource.
“How would you not?” Nussmeier said. “You got the statue every day you see as you come into work. Having watched coach from a distance over time and what he’s been able to accomplish offensively, you’re talking about a great resource within the building.
“To not use it to me would be foolish with his success, especially at the quarterback position. If you’re trying to grow as a coach, you’re always reaching out to other people within your profession or people that you respect and ask their opinions.”
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.