It was one of the most news-filled days in recent SEC history on Monday. Here’s a quick recap of all the top headlines…
Steve Spurrier retires: While many have predicted that the coaching end was nearing for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, The Ol’ Ball Coach decided to call it a career on Monday, according to multiple reports.
Spurrier reportedly told his players on Monday evening that he will be retiring, effective immediately, after the Gamecocks struggled to a 2-4 start this season. The 70-year old Spurrier departs coaching with a 228-89-2 record at collegiate stops at Duke, Florida and South Carolina. He also compiled a 12-20 record during two seasons as the head coach of the Washington Redskins and a 35-19 record as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits (USFL).
Spurrier is South Carolina’s all-time winningest coach with 86 career victories.
Spurrier will best be remembered by Tennessee fans for his dominant stint at Florida from 1990-2001, a period where he was 8-4 coaching against some of the best Tennessee teams in program history. The Gators won five straight over the Vols in the middle of that stretch (1993-97), winning by an average of 16.4 points in those contests. Spurrier famously regularly jabbed at Tennessee (among other programs), saying that you couldn’t spell “Citrus Bowl” without “UT” when the Gators were the primary reason the Vols were failing to win the SEC East with regularity.
The Gators claimed six SEC titles and a national championship during his tenure in Gainesville.
In his second SEC stint at South Carolina, Spurrier helped the Gamecocks reach new heights as a program, transforming them into a perennial bowl team and SEC East competitor. The Gamecocks claimed their first and only SEC East title in 2010 under Spurrier.
More recently, Spurrier, who grew up in Johnson City, Tenn., was 0-2 against Butch Jones, falling in a 23-21 upset in 2013, giving Jones his first win over a ranked team, and then blowing a large lead in 2014 en route to Tennessee pulling off a 45-42 overtime come-from-behind win in Columbia in what proved to be the final matchup between the Vols and Spurrier.
Co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Shawn Elliott has reportedly been named the interim head coach at South Carolina and is expected to lead the Gamecocks against Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on Nov. 7.
Will Grier suspended: Florida announced that starting quarterback Will Grier, a breakout star in the SEC this season who led the Gators to a come-from-behind victory over the Vols in the Swamp just a few weeks ago, has been suspended for a year for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug banned by the NCAA.
The suspension will last an entire calendar year, will cost Grier 25% of his eligibility and could keep him out for next year’s matchup with the Vols, pending an appeal by Florida.
The redshirt freshman had been thriving under new coach Jim McElwain’s guidance, completing 106-of-161 passes for 1,204 yards, 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions, while adding 116 yards and two scores on the ground. Backup Treon Harris, who was suspended for the UT game, but has since been reinstated, will take over starting duties for the Gators (6-0, 4-0 SEC), who are currently in first place in the SEC East.
Tunsil to return Oct. 24: Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, one of the best overall players in the league, has been held out all season for the Rebels as they waited for a complete investigation of him allegedly receiving improper benefits.
The NCAA ruled on Monday that Tunsil did receive improper benefits, but will be eligible to return on Oct. 24 against Texas A&M – meaning Tunsil will have served the equivalent of a seven-game suspension. Tunsil was required to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the down payment on a vehicle that he received a loan on that was deemed improper by the NCAA.
“We have been supportive of Laremy throughout this process, and we are thankful he can return to competition starting with the Texas A&M game,” head coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “More important than his football ability is his character, and I am confident that Laremy will grow from this experience and continue to be a positive member of the University and our football team.”
Tunsil, a junior, is expected to a be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft if he chooses to leave school early.
Chubb to undergo surgery: After head coach Mark Richt initially said he was “optimistic” that running back Nick Chubb may not have to undergo surgery following a gruesome-looking knee injury suffered on the first play from scrimmage against Tennessee, further evaluation showed that he will need to undergo a procedure in the next two weeks to repair damage to multiple knee ligaments.
Richt said it was “safe to say” that Chubb will miss the rest of the 2015 season, and it’s unclear exactly how long the sophomore will need to rehab, though he is expected to make a full recovery.