Steve Spurrier on a rampage: Rips a columnist, dumps Garcia

Here's Steve Spurrier, hard at work. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Here's Steve Spurrier, working hard on his public image. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Having once received a handwritten letter from Steve Spurrier in which I, humble scribe, was described using a term most often reserved for the barnyard, I know full well that the man with the massive ego isn’t above taking umbrage over the slightest of slights. So it was with some amusement that I learned of the fit he threw in the direction of the State’s Ron Morris today.

Short version: The Evil Genius walked into his weekly press conference and ripped into Morris, who was sitting in the room. (Information is provided by WISTV.com, which also offers a helpful video of Spurrier’s bizarre spiel.) The E.G. informed the assembled media that he needed to “get something off my chest.” He then took Morris to task for a column he’d written this spring on Spurrier’s “borrowing” of Bruce Ellington from the South Carolina basketball program. Morris’ description of the E.G.’s “courting” of Ellington, was, quoth Spurrier, “a fabrication.”

So Spurrier offered the rest of the media this one-time-0nly deal: He’d go off elsewhere and do one-on-ones with the TV stations, and when he returned he’d brief the print/Internet folks. Only trouble was, Morris was there when the E.G. made his reappearance. So Spurrier left, his rationale being that he wasn’t going to help Morris write negative things about his program.

I’ve seen this Spurrier in action, and it’s at odds with the usual plainspoken and entertaining E.G. Before the SEC title game in 1994 here, he refused to answer — or even take — a question from Larry Guest, then the columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Guest and Spurrier had had a running contretemps, and it was my use of a printed Guest nugget that prompted the handwritten note mentioned by Mark Bowden in his New Yorker profile of Spurrier. (The nugget: Guest wrote that Spurrier sought to have a Gainesville Sun beat writer reassigned after the writer gave Auburn’s Terry Bowden the edge over the E.G. in one of those matchup-box things.)

For the record, I enjoy watching Spurrier in interview mode. (Who doesn’t?) I don’t enjoy it when a big-time coach tries to bigfoot a local writer. Mr. Morris is a fully accredited member of the media. He has every right to be sitting where he was. It’s part of the job. For the E.G. to decide, apparently after months of stewing, that he’d make a big deal of an old column was the height of unprofessionalism, not to mention immaturity.

Let’s also note the timing: Spurrier didn’t make his strange little stand after his Gamecocks had gotten whipped by Auburn. He did it a week later, after South Carolina had beaten Kentucky 54-3. Funny how that worked.

And for those who are saying: “Bradley, you just hate Spurrier because he called you a bad name?” … for the record, I don’t hate him. But I get called bad names on this little blog on a daily basis and I have, via necessity, developed a thick skin. The E.G. would be well served to do the same.

Oh, and that wasn’t the only strange news emanating from Columbia today: In a statement, South Carolina announced┬áthat the oft-suspended and recently deposed quarterback Stephen Garcia is no longer a Gamecock. We can only assume Garcia’s final offense was in saying, “You know, Ron Morris is a really fine writer.”

By Mark Bradley

316 comments Add your comment

Michael

October 11th, 2011
2:08 pm

That’s not even the biggest story in Columbia today anymore.

Michael

October 11th, 2011
2:09 pm

Oh, and first, I guess.

scott

October 11th, 2011
2:10 pm

MagnaCarterGT

October 11th, 2011
2:12 pm

Yep, biggest story is RIP ANDIAMBRO.

memphisdawg

October 11th, 2011
2:16 pm

timing is very suspect. Just now deciding to take action on a story written from the spring. Maybe the sportwriter unearthed or had something to do with Garcia’s removal from the team. just specualation, but the timing is certainly strange.

memphisdawg

October 11th, 2011
2:18 pm

by the way, the State was the first to report Garcia had been dismissed from the team.

You are who we think you are

October 11th, 2011
2:18 pm

Turns out he was not dodging a columnist, it now looks like he was avoiding questions about his departed QB. Not very manly of him.

KJ

October 11th, 2011
2:20 pm

” the height of unprofessionalism, not to mention immaturity.”

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that a person like Spurrier could be described as such.

the murf

October 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

failed alcohol test per Stewart Mandel/Twitter

SCBOY

October 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

Morris is a complete hack. Yeah, he had a right to write what he did but he has been far too harsh on all of USC’s programs than is necessary to make a point. Trust me Mark, the USC fans have been wanting to see Morris put in his place for a long time. Can’t wait for Morris’ (we call him Moron) rebuttal in tomorrow’s paper.

Reid Adair

October 11th, 2011
2:27 pm

Let’s see, in the video, Spurrier also says …

“We’ve got a negative guy over here, who tries to hurt our football program, WHICH HE’S GOT A RIGHT TO DO THAT. THE CRITICISM HE SHOWS ME IS OK.”

I’d be curious to know if the Bruce Ellington story was indeed inaccurate, as Spurrier claims. If reporters write inaccurate information, I would have no problem with a coach refusing to speak with that specific reporter.

I tried to go to The State’s website to read some of Morris’ work – but you have to PAY to access it.

cattledawg

October 11th, 2011
2:28 pm

Mark, sounds like my cousin Franco needs to give Spurrier a little talkin to.

GT Letterman

October 11th, 2011
2:29 pm

In addition to shame regarding the final dismissal of Garcia, is Spurrier also vented his frustration that the quality games found within the SEC East has sunken to new lows? You could run the table in the East and not have a quality win to show for it.

cb

October 11th, 2011
2:31 pm

Actually every Gamecock is applauding Spurrier today. See, Bradley is not telling anybody the whole story. Ron Morris has been writing degrading articles about the Gamecocks for years. He works for The State, the Columbia newspaper! No hometown team has ever put up with the abuse that the Gamecocks have from Morris. Spurrier has been the subject of lie after lie and has had enough. Dawg fans would put up with his crap from a paper in ATHENS. Tide fans wouldn’t dream of seeing the local Tuscaloosa rag crap on the Crimson week after week, yet Gamecocks get it all the time from Ron Morris and the State.

Bradley paints it as Spurrier just throwing a hissy fit and picking on a poor, undeserving, newspaper man from Columbia. Bullcrap. Ron Morris got called out by the OBC and people in Columbia are in jubilation over it.

You are who we think you are

October 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

SCBOY .. you think this put Morris in his place? The State will sell a million papers tomorrow and Morris will be on interviews from coast to coast.

KJ

October 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

Well, if anyone knows about quality wins, it’s a NATS fan.

Spike

October 11th, 2011
2:34 pm

Can we get a rematch?

KJ

October 11th, 2011
2:36 pm

“is Spurrier also vented his frustration that the quality games found within the SEC East has sunken”

Let me guess; Management major?

Robinwood

October 11th, 2011
2:36 pm

This whole soap opera couldn’t have happened to a finer bunch of folks… :|

St. Simon's Daddy

October 11th, 2011
2:37 pm

GT Letterman

October 11th, 2011
2:29 pm
In addition to shame regarding the final dismissal of Garcia, is Spurrier also vented his frustration that the quality games found within the SEC East has sunken to new lows? You could run the table in the East and not have a quality win to show for it.

Three teams in the East could run the ACC.
What quality win does Tech have?

beast of the east

October 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Nice diversion, Head Ball Coach. Look over there! Garcia, you’re gone Son.

KJ

October 11th, 2011
2:39 pm

Also, it’s pretty hilarious that Garcia gets umpteen chances to remain on the team as long as they have no other QB option…. then Shaw has a career game, and suddenly they’ve “had enough of Garcia”.

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
2:41 pm

Spurrier will never change

Do you know he scored with 8 seconds left Saturday to up the score from 47-3 to 54-3?

Basically he said to Joker Phillips, “I will never worry about you getting me back one day.” Even though UK beat SC last year, Spurrier knows Joker’s days are numbered in Lexington. Next time UK comes to Columbia, he will probably be facing Mike Leach, not Joker.

BreakingNews

October 11th, 2011
2:43 pm

@KJ – my thoughts exactly! Take Shaw out of the picture, and Garcia would still be there starting. Funny how many chances he was given….Spurrier is a joke

St. Simon's Daddy

October 11th, 2011
2:43 pm

Nice point KJ, I was thinking the same thing. Garcia was not kicked off earlier because they did not have anyone to take his place. Look at last years’ bowl game and what he did. Spurrier is a great coach but he has no scruples.

GA Sandlapper

October 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

Kinda reminds me of when Governor Perdue got upset with the AJC on its coverage of UGA!

beast of the east

October 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

Urban Legend should have taken a page from Head Ball Coach’s book when he reinstated Chris Rainey after a 3 game losing streak. Maybe lit up Mike Bianchi that day or something to that effect.

ormewood

October 11th, 2011
2:46 pm

So if Connor Shaw had stunk up the joint versus UK, would Spurrier have made this move? Hmm.

Larry

October 11th, 2011
2:46 pm

Jeff,

I agree with you.

Spurrior is a legend in his own mind.

dap01

October 11th, 2011
2:46 pm

It is amazing how football coaches gets big headed and feels good at press conferences. They make the mistake of thinking that they are actually news worthy. People love football teams, they don’t love the coaches.

Spurrier needs to get over himself.

GA Sandlapper

October 11th, 2011
2:47 pm

Ron Morris is terrible. He is the exact opposite of Bradley. Bradley always pumps sunshine for the Leg Humpers whereas Morris never says anything good about the Gamecocks!

Fan of the Game

October 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Garcia will probably end up quarterbacking the Bengals.

UGA Insider

October 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

USCe is a train-wreck in the making. I predict losses to UF and Arky and Clemson.

GA Sandlapper

October 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

Garia being dismissed is a good thing! Okay, back to work!

Fan of the Game

October 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

Garcia and Spurrier deserved each other. They are so much alike that they couldn’t get along.

GT Dude

October 11th, 2011
2:51 pm

Mark, you are more like Steve than you would like to think…
you sure come to defense of a fellow reporter when the offender is someone you have an axe to grind

Take a chill pill dude and write about something worthwhile

evil empire

October 11th, 2011
2:51 pm

spurrier is about winning, not feelings…richt could take some lessons from the ole ball coach…

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
2:52 pm

I don’t know if UF can beat SC but Ark sure will.

Indian Dawg

October 11th, 2011
2:52 pm

Stay classy, Darth Visor. I’d say Garcia and Spurrier were meant for each other. But now that the alcoholic is gone, the question is does SC still has a legitimate chance of staying atop of the SEC East? Assuming Georgia wins out, of course.

JB

October 11th, 2011
2:55 pm

Dawgs will be in the Dome. Who would of thunk it……

Contractor

October 11th, 2011
2:56 pm

I can’t stand Spurrier due to what he did to us when he was at Florida, but I would take him over you any day Bradley. Not saying I hate you, but you are pretty pathetic calling Steve Spurrier unprofessional and immature, especially considering the barbs you media types throw coaches all the time. I just cant stand you media tool bags trying to get last word in and acting all big and bad full well knowing his professionalism and intelligence is levels above yours.

Evil Genius

October 11th, 2011
2:56 pm

Been wanting to do this for awhile, just had to make sure Shaw was worth a crap. Discipline is dished out evenly across the board, unless I think it will affect our record.

AltamahaDawg

October 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

Happy retirement next year coach.

JB

October 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

Richt vs Miles. Hope our OL gets better.

Indian Dawg

October 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

On a side note, is it just me, or is the QB situation in the SEC East really bizarre this year? Brantley, injured. Bray, injured. Garcia, gone. That one QB from Vandy, whose name escapes me, also injured.
Jeez that’s more than half the division!

GT Dude

October 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

also wanted to mention that you must have really dug through the thesaurus to come up with “contretemps”
you have a lot UGA fans reading this blog so going forward you might just refer to is as an ongoing squabble, quarrel, argument, or for really backwoods dawg fans a “ongoing spat”

Kb

October 11th, 2011
2:58 pm

GT Letterman, Tech would only beat Kentucky in the SEC east. Tech has neither the talent nor depth to compete in the SEC.

Bark Madley

October 11th, 2011
2:59 pm

You mutts would take Surrier in a minute. If he can put together a team in Columbia, imagine what he could do in Athens.

Andy

October 11th, 2011
3:00 pm

I only wish they had dismissed Garcia earlier, like right before Georgia played them.

The Truth

October 11th, 2011
3:01 pm

A GTLetterman calling out the SEC East!!!! Now that’s some funny stuff coming from a GT supporter I don’t care who you are. Especially coming from a supporter of a program whose signature win this season is Maryland, the same Maryland that W Virginia beat the snot out of, the same Maryland that Towson had on the ropes. There are at least three teams in the SEC East that would win GT’s divison, whichever one it is in that idiotic ACC setup, those teams being Georgia, S Carolina and Florida. If Tyler Bray is well TEnn might win it. Quality wins and the ACC….is that an oxymoron?