Starting with my first basketball coach, Mike Moore at Irmo High School, the concept of team and the importance of teamwork has always been stressed. I was told that to achieve the common goal of winning, it would take us all working together to execute plays, play great team defense and always have each others back on the court. I was told that no one person was more important than the team and quitting WAS NEVER an option. Coach Moore passed away last month, but those life-lessons have stuck with me since. They stick with every player who has ever been positively impacted by a good coach.
Steve Spurrier is considered a GOOD coach. In fact, he’s often mentioned as one of the greats, but this week he went against all the principles of leadership and good coaching by quitting on his team.
After entering the 2014 season with high hopes and a high ranking (9th nationally), the Gamecocks finished the year a disappointing 7-6. The off-season was full of questions about Steve Spurrier. Does the “Ole Ball Coach” still have it? At 70, is he too old to lead a team? When will he retire? Everyone was asking these questions, so much so, that Spurrier called an impromptu press conference to address the concerns.
Steve’s rant about the “enemies” and definitive statement that he plans on “coaching a long time” were all lies. Don’t get me wrong, at 70, there’s no question that Spurrier was in the twilight of his career and it’s always better to leave too soon rather than too late, but quitting on your team mid-season when the road gets tough should NEVER be an option for a coach of his caliber. What message are you sending to your players? The same guys who every week you tried to encourage. The same guys you told they could win. The same guys who you instilled this “enemy” and “us against the world” mentality into. The same guys who when the going got tough you told to never quit on the team or themselves. Here’s the message you’re sending them. You Suck and I care way more about my legacy staying mainly in tact than to see what I started through to the finish.
Here’s how a good coach who cares about his program and realizes his time has passed steps away from the game. He plans it. He lets the Athletic Director know his time has come. They work together to find his successor. He coaches that team the best that he can and most importantly he FINISHES the season. Then he holds a meeting with his players to inform them of his decision and announces it to the world.
This is tacky.
It’s sad to see someone of the “Ole Ball Coach’s” caliber go out like this – punking out and quitting on his squad. The irony is, while Spurrier was more concerned about his legacy than the team, committing the cardinal sin quitting on them may hurt it more than ending his career with a losing season.