S’up, Coach? Why so serious?
Steve Spurrier should be a happy man. His Gamecocks dominated Missouri to win the inaugural battle of the Columbias on Saturday. Then his team jumped all the way to #6 in the polls on Sunday. But for the second day in a row, the Ol’ Ball Coach refused to take questions from the media.
After the game on Saturday, Spurrier made an opening statement and then abruptly left the room (which means his comments were really just a “statement” and not an “opening” to anything). On Sunday’s teleconference he did the same — he gave a statement and then hung up the phone before answering any questions. “I believe that cover’s it all,” he said before disconnecting. “I don’t need to take questions.”
The Charleston Post & Courier asked USC spokesperson Steve Fink for an explanation and received the following by way of email:
“He’s not interested in taking questions right now. I’m sure he has his reasons.”
The first reason is that the 67-year-old Spurrier’s ego inflates whenever his team’s rankings do the same. A legendary coach? Absolutely. A mature adult who’s grown past teenager-like fits of pouting or chest-pounding after each win or loss? Absolutely not.
Now, some Carolina fans will defend their coach — did we mention he has the Gamecocks ranked #6 in both polls — and they’ll praise the fact that he’s cold-shouldering the mean ol’ media. Those who do will fail to realize that Spurrier is dissing them, not the media. Trust me, the folks who cover South Carolina’s football program wouldn’t be sticking a mic in Spurrier’s face if it weren’t for fans who want to know what their coach has to say after a loss or a big victory. These guys wouldn’t tape him and then run home and listen to the coach’s words over and over again. So when Spurrier cuts the reporters off, he’s really cutting off the USC fans. Any man making millions of dollars a year from a public university should probably answer questions after each week whether he wants to or not and most rational folks realize that.
Another reason Spurrier might not be talking is his ongoing feud with Columbia columnist Ron Morris who suggested in The State last week that playing quarterback Connor Shaw against UAB a week ago was not a good move by Spurrier. You might remember Spurrier trying to “disassociate” himself from Morris last October, saying that he wouldn’t talk to the media so long as Morris was in Carolina’s press room. The USC administration wasn’t pleased with the coach’s behavior and Morris was allowed to keep doing his thing.
Whether the reason for the silent treatment is Morris or the fact that Spurrier simply wants to show he’s the Cock of the walk right now is up for debate. Either way, between the lines the coach continues to be just as masterful as ever. And off it, he can be just as childish. As long as the former holds true, many Carolina fans will forgive the latter.