Steve Spurrier, master play-caller and king of the press conference quip, will be noticeably absent from this year’s SEC Media Days event in Birmingham.
The Head Ball Coach hung up his visor in the middle of last season, leaving behind a legacy of (among several other things) great quotes and one-liners. As we approach the start of “talking season,” there are plenty of memorable lines from the former South Carolina head coach worthy of a re-read.
Here are just a few of them:
Last Time Out
Tennessee and Arkansas were on the receiving end of Spurrier’s jabs, as he held court during his final Media Days appearance in Hoover, Ala.
“We were 7-6 — same as Tennessee and the same as Arkansas — and I think they’re sort of celebrating big seasons last year. So we were celebrating also. We were doing some cartwheels and high-fiving after that Independence Bowl game because it was a year that could have gone real south, and guys hung in there and somehow or another found a way to win the game.”
It was vintage Spurrier that afternoon. He still had his fastball.
Steve Spurrier: "People ask, 'Why are you still coaching?' I forgot to get fired and I'm not going to cheat."
— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) July 14, 2015
Spurrier asked how he’s kept his sanity for 26 years as head coach. “Same way you sportswriters do it, I think."
— Zac Ellis (@ZacEllis) July 14, 2015
A year earlier, Spurrier took fire at Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. With the Aggies on the schedule in that season’s opener, Sumlin was a natural target.
“Kevin Sumlin has an excellent record as a head coach. He’s a good negotiator, we know that also. He got a good deal.”
Rocky Top ‘Love’
Over the course of his career in front of a microphone, Spurrier discussed a number of subjects, but Tennessee was always one of his favorites. An All-American quarterback at Science Hill High School in nearby Johnson City, Spurrier wasn’t recruited to play for Vols . Perhaps that had something to do with the number of jobs he takes at them.
Spurrier: "Will be the 14th time I've coached in Neyland Stadium. … I've coached there more than some of their head coaches."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 17, 2013
1 of the best Spurrier quotes ever: "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl."
— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) October 13, 2015
And maybe Spurrier's most famous quip, fired at rival Tennessee: 'You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.”
— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) October 13, 2015
Then, of course, there was SEC East foe Georgia, a program that just couldn’t seem to keep its players’ noses clean during the offseason.
“I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended,” he once said.
For Spurrier, that zinger was a personal favorite.
Of course, Spurrier didn’t hesitate to point out Florida State’s off-field issues, either.
“You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.”
Even Auburn took one on the chin.
Spurrier when a fire at Auburn destroyed 20 books: "The real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet."
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) October 13, 2015
Some of Spurrier’s best work came at the end of his career, when he was regularly beating in-state rival Clemson.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney once said about Spurrier: “He’s from Pluto, and I’m from Mars.”
Spurrier responded: “Dabo probably thinks there’s only, what, nine planets out there? I think I read where Pluto may not be considered one now.”
Spurrier also had this to say about Swinney, who once ranted about South Carolina and Southern Cal: “The only thing I remind Dabo of is his comments three years ago of the real Carolina being in Chapel Hill and the real USC being in California,” said Spurrier, whose Gamecocks have won five in a row over the Tigers. “Sometimes he forgets he throws some stuff out there also. He wants to make people believe that I’m the only one that throws a little stuff out there.”
Then there was this quip: “Most of our guys have never been to Death Valley. (LSU’s stadium) is the Death Valley, isn’t it? Or is there another one? There’s two of them. That’s right. There’s two Death Valleys.”
Apparently, retirement hasn’t slowed him down at all. Spurrier recently producedan all-timer when he talking about his father, who was a Presbyterian minister.
Spurrier on, well, being born: "Thank the lord that preachers get horny, too. That was my first divine appointment."
— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) January 11, 2016