DJ's Blog: Staff Turnovers and the Future

Some fans have understandably been troubled by the departure of five assistant football coaches from South Carolina during the offseason. publisher Doug Jolley addresses the concerns head on in his blog today.

GamecockAnthem member Furncock makes a good point about there being an excessive amount of turnover on the staff, and the amount of turnover gives him and other Gamecock fans a legitimate reason to be concerned. I wanted to address those concerns in a quick blog today.

There hasn't been just one reason for the turnover, this year or all four years under Spurrier. As my story today on Gillespie leaving points out, the overriding reason for those who left but could have stayed was economics. While the rest of the nation is in an economic slump, and many people have or are in fear of losing their jobs, college football coaches are making more money than ever before. Nix and Cooper were not fired but were encouraged to look elsewhere. They both greatly improved their situation financially by moving. Hunt, Thompson and Chatham were fired. Reaves and Smith got nice pay raises by moving on. Bottom line, they have moved on. So what do realistic South Carolina fans do now? Take a look at the new staff, compare it with the old one, and see where your team stands.

From my perspective as I stated in the Gillespie story, the changes thus far have been positive for USC. My humble evaluation is agreed upon by none other than Steve Spurrier. Joe Morrison was famous for saying around here, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Well frankly, things were broke in several places. The new hires and the new incoming recruits all seem to be moves in the right direction toward fixing things. The offensive scheme, while not needing a complete overhaul, appears in need of some adjustments, and Coach Spurrier has said that they are going to make adjustments there as well.

South Carolina fans are famous for their loyalty to their school and football program despite a lifetime record that hovers around .500. It is well documented that high profile coaches like Paul Dietzel and Lou Holtz have come and gone without taking USC to the next level. The first four years under Steve Spurrier have not gone exactly like he or USC fans would have liked. Is he still the guy? The answer in your mind at this point should be a resounding yes. The landscape of college football is constantly changing, defenses in the SEC have adapted to Spurrier's offense, and the other environmental changes have also affected USC during Spurrier's tenure. And yet, he is still here, determined to make this thing work.

Spurrier is still the offensive genius he has always been. His competitive fires still burn as hot as ever. Those character qualities and intangibles that made him a legend as a head coach at Florida remain unchanged by time. The challenges he faces, both in college football 2009 and those unique to USC, are more daunting challenges than he faced at Florida. Again, is he up to the challenge? Yes. Trust in Spurrier. He will not just leave the program better than he found it. He will take it to the next level.

Last year there was also turnover on the staff and some uncertainty among fans. If the new addition to the coaching staff do as well as Ellis Johnson and Ray Rychleski, things will improve in the Gamecock nation.

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