Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
A bad Monday just got worse when I learned (perhaps belatedly) that Coach Spurrier had given USC O Line Coach Shawn Elliot permission to interview for the head coach opening at Appalachian State University.
The Mountaineer job came open when the powers-that-be in Boone (Yes - there are powers that be even in the hamlet of Boone, NC) decided not renew the contract of FCS legend Jerry Moore - winner of three straight national FCS titles at App State from '05 to '07 - not to mention 10 Southern Conference championships, 18 post-seasons and a record of 215-87.
Maybe the 73 year old Moore - with a 51 year coaching career - wore out his welcome with back-to-back 8-3 seasons and top 10 finishes the last two seasons? Sheesh - you'd think Appalachian State would let Moore retire on his own.
Nevertheless, Moore is out in Boone, and Elliot is definitely on ASU's short list. The news report via Phil Kornblut's Sports Talk Radio is here.
K-Mac says that current App offensive coordinator, former assistant head coach and current interim Scott Sattefield is the frontrunner. Here's hoping the Charlotte Observer finally knows what it's talking about. (Yes - I know that would shock most of you, but it does happen from time to time).
From my viewpoint, losing Elliot would be a huge blow - much bigger than the defections of Ellis Johnson and Jay Graham last year. When Coach Elliot joined the Cocks three seasons ago in replacement of Eric Woolford, it felt like a dream come true. The offensive line had been so wobbly under John Hunt during the HBC's first four seasons that it was an out-and-out liability in the SEC. Woolford had the tools to right the ship, but he bailed after one season to take the head job at his alma mater Youngstown State. So it fell to Elliot, a career App State guy but Camden, S.C. native, to turn the unit around. And turn it around he did. Not only did he recruit some real OL talent to Carolina, but he stabilized a unit that had been a big liability.
True, the line play slipped a lot this year as we lost some talented upperclassmen to graduation, but even the biggest grumblers spared their ire at Elliot - who is also the co-offensive coordinator and run-game coordinator. To him we owe the extremely effective zone-read offense that has catapulted us into SEC contention. Under Elliot, we've also been stockpiling top O Line talent (read 4 or 5 legit SEC-caliber big guys a year).
Will he go? I don't enough to say. It's hard for a guy to turn down a top gig at his alma mater. But I hope he stays. Along with Whammy Ward, I could see Elliot one day being our headcoach right here at USC. Maybe that will be through internal promotion ... or maybe it will by hiring him back out of Boone.
You know you're doing something right when other schools go after your program's assistants. But for my money, I want Elliot on the USC sidelines in 2013. Hopefully, Ray Tanner and the HBC can dig into their pockets a bit to keep him.
In other news,the HBC got a contract extension through 2017. He'll probably get a salary bump too, though the numbers weren't released. Tanner- a better people guy than former USC A.D. Eric Hyman (Ed - talk about under-statement!) knows you have to have these extensions to keep rival programs at bay. At 67, Spurrier looks like a man in his 50s, I think he'll stay to chase that SEC Championship he craves. And when he goes out, whether it's at 72 or 75, no doubt he'll go out on his own terms.