COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's official.
South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has resigned -- not retired, according to his words -- from the University of South Carolina as the winningest coach in Gamecocks history.
"It's time for me to get out of the way," Spurrier said.
Spurrier made his announcement Tuesday afternoon during a noon news conference. The Head Ball Coach said he was leaving the school now instead of leaving at the end of the season to give an opportunity to the interim coaching staff to make an impact on the players.
"It was kind of a shock," Gamecocks offensive lineman Mike Matulis said. "He told us last night, but it wasn't really clear. He gave us kind of a little bit of an indication and then we got a text later on that night, and you know me and Will were sitting down, and it was a lot to take in at that time. You know, I don't think we were expecting that to happen."
Spurrier admitted this year's 2-4 record was all on him.
"We've slipped," Spurrier said. "It's my fault. I'm the head coach."
The announcement came after reports from several media outlets said Spurrier was ready to hang it up after 11 seasons with the team.
Just before midnight on Monday, South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner spoke with the team captains before making the calling Elliot at approximately 12:02 a.m. While Tanner may feel strongly about his decision, it's still a bitter pill for some players to swallow.
"You know, it was very depressing for some of us because I've been here for five years," Gamecocks senior offensive line Brandon Shell said. "I've been with him for a long time, and just to see him leave you know is kind of hard, but we've still got to keep playing."
Spurrier announced co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott would be taking over immediately. "I'm pulling for Shawn," he said.
But why leave now? Spurrier said he had been thinking about it since week four after the win against the University of Central Florida. He'd even spoke to Tanner about it that week.
"When something is inevitable, I believe you do it right then," Spurrier said.
"I think I was the best coach for this job 11 years ago, but I'm not today."