The 71-year-old Spurrier ended his coaching career last year by stepping down in the middle of South Carolina’s season, a move he made to give an assistant the chance to prove his worth as interim head coach. Spurrier spent 11 seasons guiding the Gamecocks, following a very successful 12-year stint with Florida and three years at Duke.
“Steve Spurrier has left an indelible impression on college football in his career that has spanned the better part of six decades as a player and coach,” said the Maxwell Football Club’s Mark Wolpert, president of the NCFAA, which gave Spurrier Thursday’s award. “Coach Spurrier has touched so many during his career and he has certainly earned his place as one of the all-time greats in the game.”
Spurrier’s presenter was Danny Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy while quarterbacking the coach’s national champion 1996 Gators. “He certainly changed the course of my life, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than the ‘Head Ball Coach’,” Wuerffel said in a statement before the ceremony.
During the awards show, Spurrier’s portrait was done in real time onstage by “live” painter David Garibaldi. Alabama Coach Nick Saban was in attendance and seemed less than impressed, while Spurrier later noted that his only issue with the painting was that his ever-present visor usually wasn’t in an orange shade.