COLUMBIA, S.C. (TheBigSpur.com) - South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner issued a statement on Friday afternoon giving his support to head football coach Will Muschamp going forward. In that statement, Tanner said that Muschamp has the support of he and University president Robert Caslen.
Caslen’s name, however, was not on the statement as it was when the two joint-signed, along with Muschamp, its statement admonishing The State newspaper earlier this year.
While Caslen did not want to conduct an interview following Friday’s meeting with the Board of Trustees, he did confirm to TheBigSpur.com that he supports the statement made by Tanner.
“Absolutely,” Caslen said, when asked if he stood by Tanner’s statement giving Muschamp support going forward. “One hundred percent.”
Muschamp and Tanner have both come under fire this Fall as the football team has a season short of expectations. The Gamecocks currently sit 4-6 on the year with a trip to Texas A&M set for Saturday and another date in two weeks at home against No. 3 Clemson.
The Board of Trustees along with Caslen have both spoken publicly this week about the state of the football program, along with the high buyout that Muschamp has on his contract.
On Wednesday, Caslen delivered his first public comments on the football program and said, in part, that the employment status of Muschamp would be decided following the season.
"Coach Muschamp is my coach. That's the message. He will be my coach through the end of the season," Caslen told The Greenville News. “And then, just like any other coach that's out there, whether it's a soccer coach, whether it's the equestrian coach, whatever, they're going to do an end-of-year assessment, the athletic director does. Then, we'll see what’s up.”
Tanner, however, gave his support to Muschamp with two games left in the season and Caslen backed his athletics director.
"Today, I want to make it clear that Will Muschamp is our football coach and will be our coach going forward," Tanner stated via a release from South Carolina Athletics Communications and Public Relations. "President Caslen and I are fully supportive of his leadership and his development of student-athletes on and off the field. Coach Muschamp and our staff are dedicated to the success of Gamecock football. They have built a program where our team plays for each other and for our University, and they deserve our support. While we wish the outcome of some of our games would have been different, we are excited about the future of our program."
The Gamecocks (4-6, 3-4) are on the road against Texas A&M this week, a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday night. The team will be on a bye week next week before concluding the regular season against Clemson at home. Carolina has not defeated either program in Muschamp's time as the head coach.