He has reappeared in the Florida Swamp. No, it’s not the Loch Ness monster, it’s former Florida Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier and he’s officially back in Gainesville. Dan Matthews from GridIronNow has the details.
Fifty years after he won the Heisman as a Gators player, Steve Spurrier now will serve as an ambassador and consultant for Florida’s athletic department, the school announced Friday.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) July 29, 2016
In early June, Florida announced that it was renaming the football field Steve Spurrier-Florida Field in his honor, with the unveiling set for the season opener against Massachusetts on September 3.
“My wife, Jerri, and I are extremely thrilled to be returning home to our alma mater, and to Gainesville where we met on campus over 50 years ago,” Spurrier said in a statement. “I’m very appreciative to Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, Head Coach Jim McElwain and Phil Pharr of Gator Boosters for their role in making this happen.”
For his part, McElwain said, “I look forward to actually talking to him and being around him rather than just saying ‘hello’ to his statue on my way to work every day.”
Foley, who is retiring this fall, said he is ready to welcome the coach back to Gainesville.
“It’s only fitting that at this point in his career, he is back in Gainesville,” Foley said. “Being a Gator has always meant so much to Coach Spurrier, but it means just as much to us have him come home.”
Spurrier won six SEC championships and a national title as Florida’s coach from 1990-2001. He spent almost 11 full seasons as South Carolina’s coach before stepping down during the season last October.
“I will now pull for South Carolina to win every game but one, just as I did when I pulled for Florida to win every game but one as the Gamecock coach,” Spurrier said.
There will be a special ceremony on September 3 for the unveiling of “Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.” A photo of Spurrier from his playing days is featured on the ticket for that game, and the new field designation is on all the home-game tickets this season.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)