South Carolina is coming off its most successful season in school history, but that doesn’t mean the Gamecocks’ coaching staff will return intact.
In fact, it's almost the opposite.
Jeep Hunter became the fifth assistant coach to leave the staff Friday when he was informed that he wasn’t being retained. Hunter coached the safeties this past season after coaching the Gamecocks’ tight ends and helping with special teams his first two seasons on the staff.
Hunter was the first move South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier initiated. The other four left for other jobs -- Ellis Johnson to Southern Miss as head coach, Jay Graham to Tennessee as running backs coach and John Butler and Craig Fitzgerald to Penn State. Butler was the Gamecocks’ special teams coordinator, and Fitzgerald was their strength and conditioning director.
The Gamecocks have already made one hire on defense -- former Arkansas assistant Kirk Botkin, who’s slated to coach linebackers at South Carolina.
The Gamecocks could go a couple of different ways on their next defensive hire. Newly promoted defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was planning on coaching the secondary, and Brad Lawing returns as the defensive line coach.
Everette Sands was hired to replace Graham as running backs coach, while Joe Robinson is taking over for Butler as special teams coordinator.