Spurrier: 'Team needs to hear new message, new voice'

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - University of South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier confirmed reports he was stepping down at a noon press conference Tuesday.

"First of all, I'm resigning, not retiring," he said. "Let's get that part straight. I doubt if I'll ever be a head coach again, but you know, maybe coaching a high school team or something. So don't say I've retired completely from coaching. Who knows what will come in the future."

The 70-year-old Spurrier said he was often asked over the past several years while traveling across the country how much longer he would coach.

"And my answer is always the same: as long as we keep winning, keep winning these bowl games, everybody's happy, we're ranked, life's pretty good, I guess I can go several more years," he said. "But if it starts going south, starts going bad, then I need to get out."

Spurrier said a program can't keep a head coach that has been coaching as long as he has when things are going in the wrong direction. Spurrier said it was only two years ago the Gamecocks were fourth in the nation.

"And somehow or another, we've slid. And it's my fault, I'm responsible, I'm the head coach," Spurrier said. "And it's time for me to sort of get out of the way,and let somebody else have a go at it."

South Carolina co-offensive coordinator Shawn Elliott has been named as interim coach.

"I really believe Shawn will bring some enthusiasm, energy, passion and that our team will excel," Spurrier said. "And I think we'll all be proud of the way our guys play out there Saturday."

Spurrier also addressed a remark made by USC President Harris Pastides, who said he asked Spurrier to remain in place through the end of the season.

"I find that that doesn't work a lot," Spurrier said. "If the players know you're not going to be their coach after such-and-such a time, you just don't have the accountability, I think. And also, it gives us a chance to hire an interim head coach."

Spurrier said it would also give Elliott a chance to make his mark over the next six games.

"I think the team needs to hear a new message, a new voice, from another coach," Spurrier said. "And Shawn's going to do that, and I think he'll do an outstanding job."

Spurrier called himself a recruiting liability, explaining it's hard to recruit when the coach reaches a certain age because players want to know the coach will still be there in five or ten years.

Pastides said it was hard to imagine that the end of the Spurrier era at the university had arrived and listed Spurrier's professional accomplishments.

"He gave us our swagger, our pride, and our sandstorm enthusiasm, and that will be Coach Spurrier's legacy for his lifetime," Pastides said. "Along with Coach Tanner, of course, we broke through that glass ceiling of success, that looked to be, you could see it, but you couldn't really touch it or have it, and now Carolina fans worldwide want to have it, and that's something we're never going to lose, either."

Spurrier took the team to unseen success in his 11 years in Columbia including three 11-2 seasons, a trip to the SEC title game and five bowl wins including each of the last four seasons.Reports are that the school will name an interim head coach at its regularly-scheduled weekly presser on Tuesday.

The Gamecocks are 2-4 and 0-4 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in Spurrier's 23 seasons coaching in the league at Florida and South Carolina.

Spurrier was in the middle of his 11th season at South Carolina.

USC Athletic Director Ray Tanner said an advisory committee was being established and a search firm would be involved in the search for a new head coach. Tanner said he has not contacted any coaches, yet, and said there is no timetable on hiring one.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.