This will be the first season in more than a decade that Steve Spurrier won’t be walking the sidelines in the SEC, and the people who cover the sport are already feeling the impact of that loss.
CBS Sports analyst Gary Danielson said the SEC will be very different without Spurrier because of how the former Florida and South Carolina coach influenced the league’s style of play. He went as far as to compare him to one of the most respected coaches in the history of the game.
“I think he’s been as important to the SEC’s historic story as Bear Bryant,” Danielson said. “The way Bear changed the game, Steve changed the game. The SEC was a downhill, I-formation league, and Steve came in and put the passing game in it.”
Spurrier won a national title in 1996 with the Gators running his trademark Fun ‘n’ Gun offense. The offense Florida ran when it won national championships under Urban Meyer was influenced by the spread concepts Spurrier introduced to the league.
Danielson’s broadcast partner, Verne Lundquist, emphasized how Spurrier’s personality will be missed once again.
“When he went to the NFL, we all missed him,” Lundquist said. “And when he came back into college football and specifically at South Carolina, we all welcomed him back. I think that he’s one of the great charismatic characters that we’ve ever had in college football. It was great to have him at South Carolina.”
Spurrier rejoined Florida as a consultant to the athletic department this offseason after resigning from South Carolina in October 2015. Though he’s out of coaching, Lundquist said his impact will continue to be felt for years to come.
“He will always be a huge part of college football,” Lundquist said, “and he leaves an enormous legacy as a coach and as a player.”