Steve Spurrier was the first Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida. As a coach, he led the Gators to their first national title in 1996. Even now, in his ninth season at South Carolina, the Head Ball Coach is still seen in an extremely positive light by Florida fans young and old.
So of course he’s not going to want anything to do with Georgia – nor would he recommend anyone he knows associate themselves with the Bulldogs. Mark Richt has been the Dawgs’ coach since 2000. However, had Spurrier had his way, Richt would have never taken the position.
“[Spurrier] told me, ‘Do not under any circumstances take the Georgia job,'” Richt said Monday while speaking to the Touchdown Club of Athens, according to the Athens Banner-Herald, via ESPN. “That was the one bit of coaching advice he gave me.”
That little nugget of wisdom was shared from one to the other at the 1991 Heisman Trophy ceremony. Richt, a Florida State assistant at the time, was there supporting quarterback Casey Weldon, who finished second in the voting that year. Spurrier was there for Shane Matthews, also a finalist.
Of course, Richt would not take the advice. He has since gone on to compile a 119-41 record overall while winning two SEC Coach of the Year awards, two conference titles and three BCS bowl games.
Even more importantly, he managed to out-coach the HBC and kept his team out of an 0-2 hole to open the 2013 season. After opening with a devastating, 38-35 loss at Clemson, the Bulldogs handled South Carolina at home, 41-30, to move back into the top 10 in the AP Poll.
When pressed on the matter, Richt basically said that he didn’t mind Spurrier’s words, but instead respects him for never backing down from the truth.
“I like him because he’s a straight shooter,” Richt said, again according to the Banner-Herald. “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.”