I feel extremely comfortable saying that South Carolina doesn't have to worry about offensive line coach/run game coordinator Shawn Elliott leaving for another position this offseason. Why am I so confident? Because within the past two and a half months alone, Elliott has turned down gigs with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Alabama Crimson Tide and the head job at his alma mater, Appalachian State, to remain with South Carolina.
Barring an offer to be a coordinator at a BCS school, I think we can safely say that Shawn Elliott has already received the most tempting offers to leave Columbia that he will receive until the wheels start turning on next year's coaching carousel.
Between the time that Shawn Elliott started interviewing with Alabama earlier this morning and the time that Steve Spurrier revealed that Elliott would be staying, it seemed like the most likely scenario was that the HBC would be looking for a new offensive line coach. But it turns out that one of the unknowns that I wrote about yesterday - the strength of Elliott's loyalty to the program - is even stronger than most anticipated. And I doubt most Gamecock fans will soon forget that.
Here’s what Shawn Elliott told me re: Bama: "I think we can build what they have here. Sky is the limit for us.(1/4)— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 15, 2013
It would take a special opportunity to lure me away from this place. The University of Alabama was very, very intriguing. (2/4)— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 15, 2013
I wanted to go see how they did it, what they did, what their staff looked like. It was a very interesting proposition for me (3/4)— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 15, 2013
so I went to investigate. I am going to work to make this place as good as it can become." (4/4)— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 15, 2013
In the span of about 16 hours, South Carolina went from probably losing one of its most important assistant coaches and most skilled recruiters to maintaining continuity on the offensive line while obtaining the tacit seal of approval implied by Nick Saban's interest in Elliott, one of our football program's most valuable assets.
That's the football equivalent of having the opponent driving inside your ten yard line only to pick off a gently thrown swing route and run it back for six and then get penalized fifteen yards on the kickoff for chucking the ball into the 35th row of the South End Zone bleachers and yeah maybe it wasn't the best idea but goddammit it was worth it.
Anyway, that's where I'm at right now.
How will you be celebrating the retention of Shawn Elliott?