Steve Spurrier lost only 89 games over his 26-year coaching career, but one in particular sticks out.
Following the Atlanta Falcons devastating loss in last Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Orlando Sentinel caught up with former coaches to ask about the most difficult losses of their careers.
Spurrier’s choice was Florida’s 2001 loss to No. 4 Tennessee in his final home game with The Swamp. The Gators entered the contest as 17-point favorites over the Vols after the game was moved to the end of the season because of 9/11.
Florida was ranked No. 2 at the time and on a four-game winning streak after knocking off Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida State. Running back Earnest Graham was out for the contest after suffering a knee injury two weeks prior against the Seminoles.
The Vols upset Florida 34-32.
Here’s what Spurrier had to say to the Orlando Sentinel:
“We had such a super, super team that year,” Spurrier said. “That’s why the loss was so hard to take. Tennessee ran it right down our throats.”
“We finished third in the nation that year and didn’t win anything,” Spurrier said. “That Tennessee loss was so crucial, because I really thought we had a team that could go all the way. Losing that game hurt a lot. I don’t know if you ever completely get over a loss like that.”
“The year we won the national title against FSU in ’96, we were very fortunate because a bunch of things had to happen for us to even get the rematch with FSU in New Orleans [at the Sugar Bowl],” Spurrier said. “Hey, you’re never going to hear me complain.”