"We got our man:" Will Muschamp is introduced as South Carolina's new coach
Will Muschamp now has a second chance to be a head coach, but this time he has to follow one of college football's idols.
South Carolina and the quip-spitting, visor-throwing Steve Spurrier parted ways halfway through the season, opening the door for his successor and the first new head coach in Columbia in 11 years. The Head Ball Coach finished atop the school's wins list for a coach with 86 while winning an SEC East title in 2010 and two SEC Coach of the Year awards in 10 full seasons.
Now the program is moving forward from the future Hall of Famer to Muschamp, whose white-board punching, death-stare intensity made headlines in his time as Florida and Auburn.
Muschamp has to shake off the stigma of following a football great and make the program his own.
"There's only one Coach Spurrier, let's be honest. So I'm going to be Will Muschamp," he said. "That's what I need to be in this situation. That's what we'll do moving forward."
The two are ideologically different: Spurrier known for his fun-and-gun offense while Muschamp for a bone-crushing defense.
But just because they are two ideologically different doesn't mean they aren't friends. The two bonded over the years and Muschamp said Spurrier called him after he got the job.
And while fans have already started offering him coaching advice, Muschamp plans to utilize that friendship with Spurrier to develop his coaching style in his second head-coaching gig.
"I got about 80,000 (fans) on Saturday that give me great advice," he said, smirking. "But [Spurrier] sat behind the chair and he understands what it's like to be there, so I'll cherish those opportunities to talk to him."
Muschamp went 28–21 as Florida's head coach. His best season came in 2012 when his team went 11–2 and played in the Sugar Bowl (the Gators lost to Louisville). He had three top-10 defenses during his four-year tenure and three top-5 recruiting classes. Both are things the Gamecocks were devoid of the last two seasons.
Now he has a second opportunity to get it right with an SEC school, and he said he's ready to tackle the challenge with his three tenants: great energy, great effort and positive attitudes.
While some fans weren't thrilled with the hire, Muschamp brings the things the Gamecocks need to vault them back to where they were during their 11-win seasons. Athletic Director Ray Tanner said it's not a perfect situation, he did say Muschamp was the best possible hire.
Muschamp and Tanner talked extensively, and while Muschamp said Spurrier's success was a motivate to become the new head coach, Tanner was ultimately the deciding factor.
"You realize this guy is willing to do the things it takes to be successful," he said.
And with the new era ready to start in Columbia, Tanner had one message for fans.
"We got our man," he said. "We got a Gamecock. Buckle up your seatbelt; get on board. Here we go. If you want to be fast and furious, that's where we're going."
Collyn Taylor is SI's campus correspondent for the University of South Carolina. Follow him on Twitter.