Jacksonville Sports Day

AAF: Spurrier to Coach Orlando Team in Alliance of American Football

Steve Spurrier, the College Football Hall of Fame coach who was decidedly less successful in the NFL, is giving pro football another go.

Spurrier announced this morning that he has accepted a job as head coach of the new Orlando franchise in the Alliance of American Football, a rival league that will begin play in February of 2019.

The announcement was carried live on CBS, which will televise AAF games starting the week after next year’s Super Bowl.

The 72-year-old Spurrier brings instant credibility in Florida, where he was first a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and later a national championship-winning coach for the Florida Gators.

Although Spurrier had a disappointing 12-20 record in two seasons in Washington in the NFL, he said he’s eager to help develop young players in a minor league.

“If a player is in our Alliance and he gets to go to the NFL, we’re going to shake his hand and say good going because he can make a lot more money in the NFL,” Spurrier said.

As a first round NFL draft pick, Spurrier played for nine years with the San Francisco 49ers and one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Spurrier was an assistant coach at the Florida, Georgia Tech and Duke before becoming the head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL in 1983. The Bandits were 35-19 the three years the league existed.

In 1987, Spurrier became the head coach at Duke where his 20-12 record was highlighted by winning the ACC Football Championship in 1989. This is the only one Duke has won in 55 years.

In 1990, Spurrier became the head coach at his alma mater, the University of Florida, which had no SEC Football Championships in 57 years prior to his arrival. His teams won six in his first seven years at Florida, as well as a National Championship in 1996. Spurrier finished his 12-year coaching career at Florida as the winningest coach in school history with a record of 122-27.

In 2005, Spurrier became the head coach at South Carolina where he set school records for wins in a season, Top 10 finishes (three), bowl wins (four in a row), consecutive home wins (18) and consecutive wins over in-state rival, Clemson (five). He is also the winningest coach in school history at South Carolina with an 86-49 record and completed his coaching career with a 53-0 record versus non Power 5 conference teams.

In 2017, Coach Spurrier was recognized for his accomplishments in the coaching world by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. He is one of only four men to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and a coach, joining Alonzo Suggs, Bobby Dodd and Bowden Wyatt.

Spurrier has been married to his college girlfriend, Jerri Starr, for over 50 years. They have four children and 14 grandchildren. He is currently the Ambassador, Consultant at the University of Florida, where his name was placed on the football stadium in September 2016. He and Jerri reside in Gainesville and Crescent Beach, Florida.

Also promoting the league on CBS this morning were Charlie Ebersol, the founder of the league, and former FSU QB Hines Ward, who is serving as a consultant.

“We brought in the best players and the best coaches to be at the top of the organization. We wanted to give fans not just an opportunity to see great football but to see what would happen if you brought the players and the league together,” Ebersol said.

The games will be available to stream on a free app, on CBS and CBS Sports Network. Teams in eight different cities will play a 10-game season.

“Player safety, that’s top priority. I mean, that’s something we want to bring to our league,” Ward said. “Not only just help them while they’re playing but also helping them when their careers are over. I mean we’re — off the field we’re setting up scholarships for players and also having some financial internships and really get them financial counseling.

Other AAF executives include former NFL players like Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck and Jared Allen as well as ESPN’s Bill Polian.

 

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