Tales From The Cockpit: Thank You HBC

The Spurrier Era of South Carolina football has officially come to an end.

The HBC has taken an ambassador and consultant position at his Alma Mater, the University of Florida.  He will no longer dress in garnet and black.  He will no longer be seen around campus.

He’s gone.

What isn’t gone is the impact he made on this program…regardless of how quickly some fans have forgotten it.

Spurrier always liked to point out all of the firsts that he accomplished while leading the Gamecocks, so I’ll go ahead and remind you all of a few of the things not one single Carolina fan had ever experienced before the Visor came to town.

  • A 11 win season.
    •  The closest Carolina came to this benchmark was in 1984 when the Joe Morrison led Gamecocks finished the season 10-2.  Spurrier reached 11-wins three years in a row. All three of these 11-win seasons resulted in Top-10 rankings in the final AP Poll, including the program’s only Top-5 finishes in 2013 when the post-season poll had the Gamecocks at #4.
  • 5-straight wins over Clemson.
    • Between 1946 and 1954 the Gamecocks won 7 of 9 meetings with Clemson including a tie and winning 4-straight from 1951-1954 with some old school style wins (e.g. 6-0, 14-7, 13-8).  So some fairly old Carolina fans got to see something close, but under Spurrier we witnessed 5-straight years of domination of the dreaded Tigers.  Never in the 100+ years of this rivalry has USC so clearly been the better program for such a stretch of time.  Without Spurrier, they never would have been.
  • An SEC East Division Title.
    •  Tragically this was the ceiling for Spurrier’s Gamecocks…but again, it had never happened before Steven Orr Spurrier came to Columbia.
  • 7-straight bowl births and 4-straight bowl victories.
    •  This included 2 Capitol One bowls that I was lucky enough to attend.  Again, tragic that those 11-win squads couldn’t sneak a BCS berth, but this fan was pretty happy the Gamecocks came to Orlando a couple of times.

Now obviously in the grand scheme of college football accomplishments none of this is really that impressive.  I mean overall when compared to the entirety of college football, Spurrier was in the end just slightly above average at South Carolina (to which I’m sure many a Clemson fan will point out upon reading this).

The thing is, his slightly above average record is the best coaching record in school history.  Spurrier holds the record for most wins at South Carolina, even if the banner is gone from outside Williams-Brice Stadium. For this, the HBC is in fact a Gamecock coaching legend and always will be.

Beyond his coaching accolades, Spurrier did a lot more for the University of South Carolina.

He put the school and program on the map. Year in and year out he brought in bunches and bunches which in turn brought us the Beast Board, the refurbishment of the fairgrounds and stadium and the brand new indoor training facility.

Oh and since we’re on the subject of the new facility that dons Spurrier’s name, I want to take a minute to send a message to the Johnny-come-lately fans who thought it wise to start a petition suggesting Steve and Jerri’s names should come off the building…

Grow up.

If you really believe that Steve and Jerri Spurrier didn’t do enough for this university to deserve this honor, then you obviously have no clue what you’re talking about.  I’d also venture to say that before the 5-straight wins over Clemson and 3-straight 11-win seasons that you weren’t wearing Garnet and Black…but that’s another story for another day.

Okay, I’m done…back to the HBC.

I remember being in the midst of the student section back in 2005 when Spurrier first graced the sidelines of Willy B.  The Gamecocks were coming off a 6-6 season that ended in an embarrassing all-out brawl with Clemson in Death Valley…Lou Holtz’s last game.

That night, all of that felt like a distant memory, a forgotten nightmare.

That night there was hope.  The Visor was here and things were going to change and boy did they change.  I for one will always be thankful that Spurrier chose South Carolina over so many other options upon his return to the college ranks.

It was one heck of a ride Coach.  Thank you for taking us to new heights.

Goodbye HBC.

Forever to thee.

-Ditti

P.S.

To all of the rival fans that will inevitably attempt to diminish our pride by bringing up the past or the 3-9 or poking fun at the accomplishments that we hold so dear….I don’t care.  You can’t erase the excitement and happiness that the past decade of Gamecocks football brought me and hundreds of thousands of others. Nothing you say can ever take away the fact that I was a part of Gamecock Nation for the very best era of South Carolina football….so far.

 

Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33)

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