COLUMBIA, SC — The Carolina-Clemson rivalry takes no breaks -- especially in the State House.
Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier's appearance in the state Senate chamber Thursday gave USC-educated lawmakers another chance to needle their Clemson counterparts about the five straight victories over the Tigers.
Asked for his opinion on the proceedings by a gaggle of USC grads, Sen. Harvey Peeler, a Cherokee Country Republican who graduated from Clemson, lifted his head and waved his smartphone: "I'm doing something more important."
The Senate gave Spurrier a resolution honoring his achievements at USC, including those five victories over a team in orange.
"Whereas, much of their success is due to the celebrated leadership, skill in coaching, personal athletic skill, imagination, and ability to inspire his players that characterize Coach Steve Spurrier, whose arrival in Columbia ushered in the golden age of Carolina football," the resolution reads.
After the Spurrier's resolution was read aloud, Peeler playfully objected: "I suggest this resolution is tedious and superfluous" and then he claimed it took five years to get through.
Later Peeler, whose brother sits on the Clemson board of trustees, admitted to fellow senators: "We used to say, 'We'll wait until next year. Now we say, 'We'll wait until Coach Spurrier retires.' "
Spurrier, who came to the State House with USC president Harris Pastides and athletics director Ray Tanner, stopped to have photos taken with legislators.
"It's nice to be recognized for our football program for winning a bunch," the coach said.
Asked if he had any interest in running for office, Spurrier shook his head hard: "Naaaaah."
Text of the S.C. Senate's resolution for USC coach Steve Spurrier
Whereas, the South Carolina General Assembly is pleased to learn that the University of South Carolina's Coach Steve Spurrier and his Carolina Gamecocks continue to break school football records every time they take the field these days; and
Whereas, much of their success is due to the celebrated leadership, skill in coaching, personal athletic skill, imagination, and ability to inspire his players that characterize Coach Steve Spurrier, whose arrival in Columbia ushered in the golden age of Carolina football; and
Whereas, since 2005, the year Coach Spurrier came to USC and began to transform the Carolina football program with his winning style, the Gamecocks have compiled an increasingly impressive record. In 2010, Coach Spurrier scored with the first SEC Eastern Division Championship in school history, becoming the first coach to win the SEC East with two different teams. Earlier in the season, the Gamecocks posted the first win over a No. 1 team in program history with a 35-21 victory over top-ranked defending national champion Alabama; and
Whereas, the Gamecocks continued to make history in 2011, winning a school-record 11 games and finishing in the Top 10 in the final A.P. poll for the first time. The squad also won a school-record six SEC games and defeated each of its Eastern Division rivals in the same season for the first time. Carolina capped the regular season with a win over Clemson, its third straight win over its Palmetto State rival (the first time that feat had been accomplished since 1968-1970), then defeated Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl by a convincing 30-13 margin; and
Whereas, in 2012, Steve Spurrier once again led his USC football team to double-digit wins during the course of the regular-season campaign. The 2012 regular season culminated with the annual regular-season-ending game against arch-rival Clemson at Clemson's Memorial Stadium, where the Gamecocks emerged with a fourth consecutive double-digit victory over the Tigers--a triumph marked by Coach Spurrier's 65th win at Carolina. With that November 24, 2012, victory over Clemson, Coach Spurrier surpassed Rex Enright to become the winningest coach in Gamecock football history; and
Whereas, Coach Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a thrilling 33-28 victory in the 2012 Outback Bowl against the winningest program in college football, the Michigan Wolverines. The victory elevated the Gamecocks to an 11-2 record for the second consecutive season. Additionally, by finishing 8th in the Associated Press poll and 7th in the Coaches poll, South Carolina finished in the Top 10 of both polls for a second consecutive campaign; and
Whereas, in a 2013 season full of firsts for South Carolina football, perhaps the most significant one came when Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks beat Clemson 31-17 for their fifth consecutive win over their arch-rival. The Tigers (10-2) had never lost five consecutive games to Carolina in a series that began in 1896; and
Whereas, finally, the Gamecocks' exciting 34-24 New Year's Day win over Wisconsin at the 2014 Capital One Bowl puts another first on Coach Steve Spurrier's record-breaking winning ledger at USC: three identical records for three years running, the winningest years in school history. In each of these years, South Carolina has finished 6-2 in the SEC and 11-2 overall and has won a bowl game and triumphed over Clemson. To crown all, the Gamecocks achieved their best postseason ranking in history, checking in at No. 4 in the final A.P. Top 25 and final USA Today Top 25 ; and
Whereas, the General Assembly, grateful for the consistent commitment and excellence Steve Spurrier has bestowed on this great State, takes great pleasure in wishing him well as he continues to lead the Carolina Gamecocks to even higher achievements in USC football history. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:
That the members of the South Carolina General Assembly, by this resolution, honor Coach Steve Spurrier of the University of South Carolina as the "winningest coach" in the history of Carolina football, congratulate him on coaching his outstanding team all the way to the 2014 Capital One Bowl winner's crown, and wish him much continued success in the days to come.