Spurrier has fun with Gamecocks’ state championship

The (Spartanburg) Herald-JournalDecember 16, 2011 

Steve Spurrier

FILE PHOTO

SPARTANBURG - You knew Steve Spurrier couldn’t stay quiet forever.

The South Carolina coach, speaking at the Spartanburg Touchdown Club’s seventh annual Shrine Bowl luncheon, took a shot at Clemson coach Dabo Swinney during his turn at the podium Friday afternoon at the Spartanburg Marriott at Renaissance Park.

“It’s been a good year for college football. I congratulate coach Dabo for winning the conference championship. Both of our schools had 10 wins. The only thing we ended up with our 10 wins was the state championship this year,” Spurrier said, drawing laughs from the large crowd in the ballroom.

The war of words began a few weeks ago when Swinney said, among other things, that, “Carolina is in Chapel Hill, USC is in California and the University of South Carolina always has been and always will be in Clemson.” The comment came after a reporter asked Swinney about a quote — “We may not be LSU or Alabama, but we ain’t Clemson folks,” — erroneously attributed to Spurrier after USC’s 34-13 win over Clemson Nov. 26.

Swinney didn’t respond to Spurrier’s jab Friday.

Spurrier and Swinney joined Duke coach David Cutcliffe as speakers to an audience that included the South Carolina and North Carolina Shrine Bowl teams. Cutcliffe spoke first, offering advice to players from each team.

“We’re born with two things the good Lord gives you, existence and opportunity. What you do with both has a whole lot to do with the kind of success you’re going to have long term,” the former Ole Miss coach said.

“I’m not a big believer in luck because that’s pretty random, but I am a big believer in working and being fortunate. When you’re put in situations where opportunity exists, make sure you become a fortunate one by taking advantage of it.”

Spurrier followed and, after his quip at Swinney, offered advice to players on how to pick a college. He also said that once you make your decision, it’s important to stay the entire four years at the same school even if times get tough.

“When you go to college pick a school that you like, that you can achieve your college dreams, and then give it your best shot there,” Spurrier said.

“So often I see guys that want to transfer. They transfer to one high school and then the next one. Sometimes we sign some of those guys, and they very seldom last. They’re used to, ‘Well the coach don’t like me, it’s going a little tough right now, I’ll just go somewhere else.’ Don’t be one of those guys. Wherever you decide to go, stick there for four years and get your degree and make a habit of overcoming some adversity because it’s going to happen.”

Swinney was the final speaker and talked about being the best at everything you do in life. Swinney explained that at Clemson there’s an acronym for “BEST” that the coaches expect their players to live by.

“The letter B is for believe. You have to believe in yourself to be the best. … E is for effort. There is no substitute for great effort. If you’re going to do something, put great effort into it. … The S is for sense of urgency. When you wake up every day you have to have a sense of urgency in everything that you do. … T is for toughness. It’s a tough life, it’s not easy. You have to have mental toughness. You have to have physical toughness day in and day out.”

In addition to the guest speakers, South Carolina offensive lineman Oliver Jones of Ninety-Six and North Carolina quarterback Michael Helms of Freedom were presented the Steve Cunningham Spirit Awards.

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe and N.C State coach Tom O’Brien were scheduled to attend but were unable to make the event because of bowl practices.

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