Photo Gallery (photos by Allen Sharpe)
Former Gamecocks happy to be a part of Spurrier's family (story by Brian Hand)
HBC, staff working hard to showcase program in social media world (story by Brian Hand)
Current South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner remembers the moment he found out that Steve Spurrier had decided to become the head coach of Gamecock football vividly.
"In the fall of 2004, I was sitting with my coaches one day and we got word that coach Spurrier was coming to Columbia and I looked at the coaches and I said, 'gentleman, we just got better today.' And they said, 'what do you mean?' And I said, 'we just got better. We've got a coach that's coming here to win games. He's not coming here to retire. He's coming here to win and our credibility is instant and it helps all of us: the University and our entire athletics department,'" Tanner, who was then the head baseball coach at South Carolina, said.
Tanner fondly spoke these words to the well over 300 former Gamecocks who were in attendance as part of a special 10-year Spurrier-era reunion at Seawell's on Friday, April 10, 2015.
"The last 10 years have been very, very special. The whole culture is different. The mindset is different. We're relevant," Tanner said.
According to South Carolina Special Assistant for Development Clyde Wrenn a total of 453 players have suited up for Spurrier over the last 10 years, meaning the outpouring of support was overwhelming to the Head Ball Coach and his wife, Jerri.
The reception featured the former Gamecocks hanging out and talking with one another with videos of their heroics on the gridiron playing in the background. Showcased around the room were team photos of all of the 10 teams and on some of the tables were newspaper clippings and more from over the course of the past 10 years.
Former South Carolina quarterback great and current "Voice of the Gamecocks" Todd Ellis was the emcee for the evening once the formal program began that featured Ellis and Tanner each talking before giving way to the HBC. In addition, former Gamecocks and current/former NFL players Na'Shan Goddard, Ryan Succop and Connor Shaw talked about what coach Spurrier meant to them and the program.
Before Spurrier took the stage, he took the time to recognize the family - which included his son, Keon - of former Gamecock wide receiver Kenny McKinley. They also presented the McKinley family with a framed portrait.
At a podium behind all the numerous trophies the Gamecocks have won over the last 10 years, Spurrier closed out his time talking to his former players and even a few of his current players that were in attendance by saying "I just want to thank all you guys that have played the last 10 years … all of you players here are members of the winningest decade in South Carolina football history."
In turn, the winningest quarterback in Gamecock history during his time talking thanked the HBC for everything he has done to make the last 10 years the winningest decade.
"I want to say thank you for not only doing what you did with my career, but everybody in here. And what you did for this University that will last forever," Shaw said.
Spurrier and Ellis also thanked Jerri, Libby Anne Inabinet (mother of former Gamecock long snapper Walker Inabinet), Tammy Thompson (mother of former Gamecock quarterback Dylan Thompson) and Wrenn for their efforts to make the evening possible.
The efforts of Jerri in particular were a constant on the evening from all the players in attendance.
"Being from a coach's family, I know who exactly holds everything together in the family and (she is) like a mother to me and everybody else in here. I just want to thank you as well," Shaw said during the event.
Former Gamecock wide receiver Moe Brown said even before the event commenced that Jerri meant the world to all of the former and current players.
"How great is Mrs. Spurrier? She is everyone's mom. She gives us cookies on our birthday and she's not only going to hug you, she's going to give you a kiss on the cheek. Mrs. Spurrier - or Jerri as she tells us to call her - she's an amazing woman and she is definitely the backbone that keeps coach Spurrier upright," Brown said.
**Story by Brian Hand/Photo by Allen Sharpe**