South Carolina ended Will Muschamp’s tenure on Sunday. The move came on the heels of a third consecutive loss, a stretch in which the Gamecocks gave up 159 points. He was 28-30 in four-and-a-half seasons as the head man in Columbia. His firing came as South Carolina was 6-13 since the start of the 2019 season. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the year.
South Carolina Ends Will Muschamp’s Tenure As Head Coach
The Gamecocks started this season 2-2 after getting the program’s first win over Auburn since 1933. Even in their two losses to Tennessee and Florida you could see improvement from how the team ended 2019. The offense was trending up under Bobo, and the defense was playing decent and forcing turnovers. All that momentum was squandered in a blowout loss at defending champion LSU. Things got worse over the next two games. South Carolina was pummeled at home by Texas A&M. Muschamp’s tenure was brought to an end after a third straight embarrassing defensive performance in Oxford. They allowed 700 yards and 59 points to Ole Miss. They now have three games remaining to try and salvage some positives from the 2020 season.
Six Days Out Of Seven
College football is a results oriented business. In the end, Muschamp’s tenure fell short in being consistent in performance and results on game days. Aside from wins and losses, he proved to be a great leader of men and ambassador of the program. South Carolina has set school records for team GPA in consecutive semesters. The facilities and investment, both of which Muschamp was integral in shaping, have taken a huge step forward in the last few years. Unfortunately, the on field success expected with those improvements was not manifesting.
His success in the win column was not good enough, despite how much he did in other areas of running a program. South Carolina has not had any off the field issues to speak of during Muschamp’s tenure. He has recruited high character kids, and helped mold them into fine young men. One look at twitter after the announcement and it’s easy to see how his current and former players feel about him. There was an out pouring of support and thanks from players, staff members, and multiple other people associated with the program.
The Good Times Of Muschamp’s Tenure
The shortcomings of coach Muschamp’s tenure have been well documented. Failures on Saturdays ultimately led to his dismissal. However, there were also some positives to remember during his time in Columbia. Last season’s upset of Georgia in Athens is one of the biggest SEC victories in program history. The win over Tennessee in his first year and the Outback Bowl comeback against Michigan will go down as two of his best wins in garnet and black.
There were countless big plays from Hayden Hurst , Bryan Edwards, and Deebo Samuel. A story like Javon Kinlaw’s rise from lost soul to NFL first round pick would not have been possible without Muschamp’s efforts to get him to South Carolina through the JUCO route. Current tail back Kevin Harris is an emerging star in the SEC. The Gamecocks were his only major offer. This staff saw something no one else did, and it is paying off with his development into a big time player. Muschamp also had some of the bigger recruiting wins in program history, with instate guys like Luke Doty, Zacch Pickens, and Jordan Burch choosing to stay home and play in garnet and black.
It is difficult to speculate on the direction this coaching search mind might go. A young offensive minded coach could come in and make some noise with the backfield talent currently on the roster. Billy Napier from Louisiana and Hugh Freeze from Liberty have been the two most common names to surface on the rumor mill so far. Each of them has SEC experience and they both have their current teams performing at a high level. Former Gamecock assistant Shane Beamer and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott have also been mentioned as possible candidates.
The right hire could propel this program back to the top half of the SEC. The recruiting area of South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina is loaded with talent. The facilities are now on par with any school in the country. If the Gamecocks can find the right fit, they have a chance to improve in a hurry. It certainly isn’t an easy job, with the SEC schedule and Clemson to fight through each season. However, with the facilities upgraded to an elite level and the fruitful recruiting grounds, this is a program that should expect to win.
Will Muschamp’s tenure has come to an end at South Carolina, but the 2020 season is not over yet. The Gamecocks still have three games remaining, with the next two being under the lights at Williams-Brice Stadium. Teams often receive a boost from a coaching change, even if they were not at odds with the exiting party. A renewed focus and positive energy could help this team down the stretch. Missouri comes to town this weekend. The Gamecocks end the season hosting Georgia before a trip to Kentucky.