Spurrier walks out of press conference

jkendall@thestate.comOctober 11, 2011 

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier declined to hold his normal Tuesday news conference while Ron Morris, sports columnist for The State, was in the media meeting room at Williams-Brice Stadium.

“I am not going to talk while he’s in here,” Spurrier said. “That’s my right as a head coach. I don’t have to talk to him.”

Spurrier then called TV and internet media members with video cameras out of the room, telling print reporters he would come back and talk to them after he spoke to the TV media. When Spurrier re-entered the room, Morris still was in his seat and Spurrier walked out again.

Spurrier is upset, he said, about a column Morris wrote in March regarding sophomore Bruce Ellington’s decision to play football as well as basketball at South Carolina. Ellington, who started at point guard for the Gamecocks last season, will miss nearly half of the basketball season because of his football obligations.

“Last spring, he wrote a story about me recruiting Bruce Ellington and luring him away from the basketball program,” Spurrier said. “Completely fabricated story. I didn’t talk with Bruce until he had met with Coach (Darrin) Horn.”

Spurrier later talked to several members of the print media, including a State sports writer, in a conference room in the nearby football team’s office complex.

“Coach Spurrier has every right to express his opinion about a newspaper column published last March,” said Henry B. Haitz III, president and publisher of The State. “We know of no inaccuracies, and we invite readers to review the March 27 article for themselves on www.thestate.com.”

Spurrier later said he “probably” will do the same thing at the team’s next scheduled news conference, set for Oct. 25.

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