The son of an SEC coaching legend is taking the next step in his coaching journey, even though his new destination could hardly be more distant from the conference where his father attained football fame.
Steve Spurrier Jr. is leaving Western Kentucky to assume a role as receivers coach at Washington State, as reported by Brad Stephens of the Bowling Green (Ky.) Daily News.
For the son of former Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Fame coach Steve Spurrier, who built his alma mater Florida into a 1990s powerhouse and later enjoyed success in charge of South Carolina, it’s a major step as he continues building his coaching career.
At 46, he has spent most of his career on his father’s staff at Florida, South Carolina and Washington in the NFL dating back to the mid-1990s. But he also spent three years as receivers coach under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, winning the national title in 2000, and a single year at Arizona in 2004. After the elder Spurrier’s abrupt retirement from the Gamecocks in 2015, Spurrier Jr. spent 2016 in an off-field role at Oklahoma.
By comparison, Steve Spurrier Sr. was already in his second year with the Gators at age 46. But he had his own unusual course to the Swamp (which wasn’t yet called the Swamp until he named it 26 years ago).
Spurrier spent one year each as an assistant at Florida and Georgia Tech, three years as offensive coordinator at Duke, and then three years as head coach of the short-lived Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League. Only then did he finally get his first head coaching job with the Blue Devils, his final stepping stone on the path back to Gainesville.
Also significant for Spurrier Jr. in his Washington State move: For the first time in his career, he will be coaching in a Power Five conference under a coach other than his father or one of the Stoops brothers. In Pullman, he will work under Mike Leach, who brings his own brand of unpredictability to the game.
It’s far from clear whether Spurrier Jr. will someday get a head coaching job of his own, in the SEC or elsewhere, but returning to a Power Five job can’t be a bad sign.
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