Photo Gallery (photos by Allen Sharpe)
10-year Spurrier-era reunion a special evening for all involved (story by Brian Hand)
HBC, staff working hard to showcase program in social media world (story by Brian Hand)
Current Tennessee Titans kicker and former Gamecock Ryan Succop spent some time debating about what he wanted to say, but it always kept coming back to the same thing.
"When I thought about coming back and saying a few words, the thing that kept coming to mind was family and how it's always felt like family here since coach Spurrier's been here," Succop said.
Succop's thoughts pretty much summed up what the majority of the former Gamecocks were saying when talking to others at a special 10-year reunion for South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier at Seawell's on Friday, April 10, 2015.
Currently on the roster of the Indianapolis Colts, former South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles said he loved being a Gamecock so much it is hard for him to leave each and every time he has to head back.
"When I leave sometimes, I kind of try to tell the pilot to fly over the stadium so I can see it before I leave," Quarles said. "I love it. There's no better feeling than to be from South Carolina and play for South Carolina. They say it's all over with, but it's never over with. It's always in your heart."
Spurrier said to the well over 300 former Gamecocks in attendance at the reunion that he came to South Carolina for the opportunity to do things that had never been done before. And the HBC and the Gamecocks have done just that.
Former Gamecock offensive lineman and eventual Super Bowl champion, Na'Shan Goddard remembers how tough it was for Spurrier when he first took over the program.
"When coach Spurrier came in he had a job on his hands and he changed the culture and he changed it fast. The one thing about changing a culture is it's not always about changing personnel, but changing your mindset, changing the things you do, changing your behavior," Goddard stated.
Goddard said that he made the 2005 Gamecocks believe quickly that they could compete with anybody.
"The main thing I like about (Spurrier) is just changing our culture, changing the way we thought. He changed the way we looked at things," Goddard said.
Former Gamecock wide receiver Moe Brown believes that culture change in 2005 coupled with Spurrier's first full recruiting class that he was a part of laid the foundation for what was to come with the program.
"I like to think that - and maybe I give us too much credit being that we were the first full recruiting class - as kind of the foundation along with 2005 (team) obviously," Brown noted. "(The players since then) have really taken accountability for the name that's on the front of the jerseys. To see the heights that it has risen to be one of the most successful programs in the last four years is a testament to coach Spurrier's leadership."
Goddard said one of the big reasons he came to the reunion is so he could meet some of the most recent Gamecocks who were a part of the 40 wins over the course of the last four seasons.
"One of the main reasons I came is I wanted to meet some of the younger guys and tell them thank you; thank you for making me proud to wear my Carolina shirt in an airport," Goddard relayed.
Former Gamecock quarterback and current NFL quarterback Connor Shaw was quick to point out that the time before them put the Gamecocks in position to be successful.
"For the older guys, the coaches in here, I just want to say thank you for laying the foundation," Shaw said.
**Story by Brian Hand/Photo by Allen Sharpe**