Muschamp: "We're about winning championships here" (story by Brian Hand)
Tanner: 'We got our man' (story by Brian Hand)
Gamecock Club Board of Directors enthusiastic about Muschamp hire (story by Brian Hand)
Hiring of Muschamp very intriguing for Gamecock fans(story by Kyle Heck)
South Carolina coaching family welcomes Muschamp(story by Brian Hand)
Coaches from around country have confidence in Muschamp (story by Kyle Heck)
National media chimes in on Will Muschamp hire (story by Kyle Heck)
Muschamp intangibles should excite Gamecock fans (column by Brian Hand)
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New South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is well-known throughout the country in various coaching circles. He's widely regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the country as well as a top-notch recruiter.
On Monday, Dec. 7, Muschamp was officially introduced as the 34th head coach of the University of South Carolina. Many former players were in attendance at his introductory press conference and they all had good things to say about the Rome, Georgia native.
"I'm very excited. I think he was a great fit for us," Board of Trustees member and former Gamecock Chuck Allen said. "I think he's one heck of a football coach. He was my favorite from the very beginning."
Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at Auburn last season before taking over the reins at South Carolina. Before that, he was the head coach at Florida for four seasons, compiling a 28-21 record with the Gators from 2011-14. Muschamp's best season at Florida came in 2012, when the Gators went 11-2 and finished the year ranked in the top-10.
Muschamp was eventually let go after the 2014 season, but he took Florida to three bowl games in his four years in Gainesville. While his time there is viewed as a disappointment by many, that doesn't mean that he will always be an unsuccessful head coach.
"I don't think you throw away what he did at Florida, you just have to know it's there, know it happened, but at the same time don't hold that against him," former South Carolina quarterback Tommy Suggs said. "The guy deserves another chance. I applaud Ray Tanner and the board for having the confidence to say, 'look, we're going against the norm, we're going to give the guy another chance.' I like that."
Before taking over at Florida, Muschamp was the head coach in waiting at Texas under Mack Brown. That gives an idea of how respected he is in the coaching community and still is. Muschamp had the opportunity to go to a lot of places, but he chose the University of South Carolina.
"I'm fired up just knowing what he can bring with the emotion and the passion," another former Gamecock quarterback, Ryan Brewer, said. "I'm a huge Shawn Elliott fan and I think he's kind of got the same thing. He's a younger guy and can bring the passion to a program that needs it right now."
Muschamp is well known for his fiery personality on the sidelines during games and has always been like that. That passion is something that former players like as well because it shows that he cares about what is happening with his team.
"Being a defensive guy, the passion and attention to detail (is great) and the reason a lot of times you see those outbursts is because he wants perfection," former Gamecock defensive lineman Langston Moore said. "Obviously his record dictates that because whether it's at Texas or Florida, he continues to put up the stats. Even though he says he's not a stat guy, it speaks for itself. A lot of times you don't have to brag about that. It's not a one shot deal with him, it's who he is and I think right now with where we're at with the program, it's going to be very refreshing."
In his six seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator, Muschamp's units ranked among the nation's top-10 in total defense and scoring defense five times.
While some people weren't happy with the hire because of what happened at Florida, many think that Muschamp is the right hire at South Carolina at the right time.
"Frankly, he's tough and he's gritty," Allen said. "He's also very capable in other respects as you just saw him demonstrate in his press conference. I think he's what we need at this time. We grew under Steve Spurrier, we grew and got better and the expectations got better and I think this is a great transition. Also the fact that he's motivated to be here. He really, really wanted to be the coach here."
**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Jenny Dilworth**