Now here’s an odd one. Not because Steve Spurrier gave Georgia a negative review. Because of the timing.
Way back in 1991, both Spurrier (then Florida’s head coach) and Mark Richt (than a Florida State assistant) were at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York. Their quarterbacks — Gator Shane Matthews and Seminole Casey Weldon — were runners-up to Michigan’s Desmond Howard.
It was at that point that Spurrier gave Richt a tip on his coaching future. According to Georgia’s head coach:
“He told me: ‘Do not under any circumstance take the Georgia job.’ That was the one big of coaching advice he gave me.”
Richt was speaking to a Georgia booster club yesterday when he revealed that tidbit. Ten years after that advice was given, Richt did indeed become the Bulldogs’ coach. From 2001 on he’s gone 119-41, won two SEC titles and reached five SEC title games. While not all UGA fans are glad he took the job, that’s a darned impressive run. The Dawgs have had just one losing season during Richt’s tenure, and that was a 6-7 mark with the final loss coming in a bowl game. So it’s been a consistent run as well.
The fact that Spurrier would tell a Florida State assistant and Miami grad not to take the Georgia job 10 years before he would get the chance to take it tells us that either a) Spurrier would make a good fortune-teller or b) the Ol’ Ball Coach knew he’d torture Georgia for years. We’ll go with option b because that’s exactly what Spurrier went on to do during the 1990s.
So does Richt like the coach who so often needles his program with barbs and zingers?
“I like him because he’s a straight-shooter,” Richt told the fan club. “I think he wants to win fair and square; he wants to play by the rules. I never had any thoughts that he would try to cheat in a game or cheat in recruiting or anything like that. Also, when my wife Katherine had that cancer scare, he was the first guy that picked up the phone and gave me a call.”
Kudos to Spurrier for reaching out to Richt in a time of stress. A classy, kind move. As for his warning not to take the UGA job, well, you can’t get ‘em all right.
Spurrier was a topic of conversation in the Peach State, obviously, because Georgia outdueled his South Carolina squad 41-30 on Saturday to snap a three-game losing skid to the Gamecocks.