While the overwhelming reaction to Spurrier's sudden retirement has been an outpouring of support and recounting of fond memories, there has been a small but vocal group of people accusing the HBC of quitting on the team. The timing of Spurrier's retirement has not been ideal, but he did not quit on the team. The HBC did what was best for the program.
In Spurrier's farewell press conference on Tuesday afternoon he repeated several times that it was "best for everybody, for our team, our school, for me to step aside." He said that he was the right man for the job 11 years ago when he was hired, but that he's not the right man for the job now and that hopefully "with new leadership we can become a much better team."
Everything Spurrier said was true. He mentioned that he was a liability to recruiting, something that has been obvious for several months. It was clear to everyone, whether we liked to admit it or not, that Spurrier's time as a coach was winding down. The uncertainty over the timetable put South Carolina in limbo. Nobody knew the plan or when the Spurrier era would end, so nobody could start to move forward.
What Spurrier just did allows South Carolina to start to move forward again. He said that "when something is inevitable, you do it right then." Spurrier realized that it was time for him to leave and felt that announcing his impending retirement but finishing out the season wouldn't be best for the team or for him. Now, South Carolina has an enthusiastic interim head coach in Shawn Elliott and ample time to conduct a thorough search for Spurrier's permanent replacement.
It was obviously not easy for Spurrier to walk away from South Carolina, any more than it's easy for us to watch him walk away. He said in his press conference that he envisioned leaving after being carried out of the Georgia Dome for winning an SEC Championship. He said that didn't happen, but that he has been blessed beyond his expectations and will still be around Columbia. We can echo that sentiment as fans. We always want to accomplish a little more than we have, but Spurrier gave us the most fun years in South Carolina football history. We were blessed to have him here and we'll welcome him in Columbia forever.