ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt today wished Steve Spurrier “a wonderful retirement” and fondly recalled two-plus decades of competing against him.
First as a Florida State assistant and later as Georgia’s head coach, Richt competed annually against Spurrier throughout the Head Ball Coach’s tenures at Florida and South Carolina.
“He was fun to compete against because you just never knew what was going to happen or you never knew what he was going to say,” Richt said. “Some people got a little bent out of shape with a lot of things he said. I never really did. The thing I liked most about Coach Spurrier, as far as a relationship as a fellow head coach, is that he was always just honest about everything.
“What he was saying is what he was thinking, and he wasn’t going to pull any punches one way or another, and I appreciated that about him. I didn’t always agree with everything he said, but I never really took anything too personally when he was trying to have a little fun here and there.
“I do wish him – I texted him this morning, as a matter of fact – and his family a wonderful retirement. Coach deserves it. He blessed college football for many years.”
Richt was surprised — to a degree — by the news Monday night that Spurrier was stepping down immediately at South Carolina.
“I didn’t expect it to happen,” Richt said. “But, you know, I can understand it. It’s quite a job, quite a business, and to be doing it as many years as he’s been doing it, I’m not necessarily surprised. I mean, it surprised me that I didn’t know it was coming when it came. But everybody ends their career somewhere along the way.”
Richt recalled learning from Spurrier’s fun-and-gun Florida offense while competing against it at Florida State in the 1990s.
“You steal ideas,” Richt said. “I can’t tell you how many times that we watched things … they were doing and then decided to put it in there at Florida State over the years.”
Please check back for more UGA reaction to Spurrier’s resignation.
MARK RICHT ON STEVE SPURRIER’S RESIGNATION