When you accomplish as many firsts as Steve Spurrier has at South Carolina, the financial rewards are sure to follow.
Sure enough, the Head Ball Coach is sporting a new contract approved Friday by the Board of Trustees that will pay him $3.3 million per year through the 2015 season, yet another indicator that the 66-year-old Spurrier plans to coach for a while longer.
It's the second raise Spurrier has received in less than a year. The Gamecocks won 11 games for the first time in school history this season and went to the SEC championship game for the first time in school history in 2010. They've also won nine or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever.
Under Spurrier's old deal, which went into effect 10 months ago, he was scheduled to earn $2.88 million in 2012 and then $2.95 million in 2013, 2014 and 2015. When Spurrier was hired at South Carolina in 2005, he came in making $1.25 million and was still at $1.75 million through the 2010 season, which placed him near the bottom of the league.
But with his new $3.3 million salary, he now becomes the sixth member of the SEC's $3 million club. According to figures compiled by USA Today, the others are Alabama's Nick Saban ($4.83 million), LSU's Les Miles ($3.85 million), Arkansas' Bobby Petrino ($3.63 million), Auburn's Gene Chizik ($3.5 million) and Florida's Will Muschamp ($3.22 million). The club will increase to seven members when the new deal for Georgia's Mark Richt is finalized. Richt was already at $2.93 million.
Something that should be noted about Spurrier is that he's never been consumed with how much money he was making. In fact, a few years ago when I reminded him that he was about ninth in the league in salary, he shot back, "That's about where I ought to be."
But with the program taking off the way it has in the last few seasons, it's wise of the South Carolina administration to reward Spurrier accordingly.
Equally important is the fact that South Carolina is also taking care of Spurrier's assistants, something the Head Ball Coach has been pushing for. For the first time ever, the Gamecocks' assistant coaches will receive two-year contracts.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward received the largest raise. He took over for Ellis Johnson and saw his salary jump from $280,000 to $550,000 per year.
Among the other assistants, offensive line coach/running game coordinator Shawn Elliott received the largest raise, going from $185,000 to $300,000. He's brought a different dimension to the Gamecocks' offense with his zone read package, and it's a perfect fit for quarterback Connor Shaw.