COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier has been named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the league's coaches, the SEC announced on Wednesday. SEC coaches also named tailback Marcus Lattimore the Freshman of the Year.
Spurrier led the Gamecocks to their first-ever SEC Eastern Division Championship in his sixth season at USC, and the team's second nine-win regular season in school history.
Spurrier's team also defeated then-No. 1 Alabama, as well as SEC East rivals Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, for the first time in the same season. Spurrier's team capped off one of the best regular seasons in school history with a 29-7 win at arch-rival Clemson, the first time in 40 years the Gamecocks have beaten the Tigers in back-to-back years.
Spurrier said Wednesday's honor was a surprise to him. "Obviously I have a lot of good friends who are SEC coaches," he said, thanking the voters. "The real credit, though, goes to the players, coaches, support staff and fans here at South Carolina."
Spurrier's overall record is 44-32 at South Carolina. He ranks third on the school's all-time wins list, one victory behind former coach Jim Carlen.
Lattimore's award is the latest in a series of honors for a player widely considered one of the best freshmen in college football. Lattimore was named SEC Freshman of the Year earlier this week by the Associated Press, and national Freshman of the Year by CBS Sports.
Lattimore has racked up 248 carries for 1,198 yards in his first season at Carolina, and is USC's No. 3 all-time leader in single-season rushing yards. Lattimore's average of 99.8 rushing yards per game is highest by a running back in the SEC, and second highest among all offensive players. Lattimore is also second in the league in scoring with 19 touchdowns, which is a single-season record for the Gamecocks.
This is Spurrier's ninth league coaching honor. He was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989 while at Duke, and earned SEC honors in 1990-91 and 1994-96 while at Florida. Spurrier was also named SEC Coach of the Year in 2005, during his first season at Carolina.
The timing of this year's award couldn't be better for the Head Ball Coach. Spurrier will travel to Rock Hill on Thursday to meet with the nation's No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The defensive standout has expressed interest in the Gamecocks as well as Alabama, and has also received offers from Clemson, Auburn and LSU.