Steve Spurrier winning at football, life

On Sunday nights during the season, the entire Spurrier clan, at least all of the kids and grandkids living in the Columbia area, gather at the Spurrier homestead for dinner. And on Wednesday nights, all of the coaches and their families eat together at the South Carolina football complex. Both of Spurrier's sons, Steve Jr. and Scottie, are on the Gamecocks' staff.

Spurrier works out religiously and has the energy of a 5-year-old. He also requires his coaches to get physicals every year and has been known to ask them during the course of a meeting if they've worked out that day.

"He colors in every square on the calendar," said Jerri, who met Spurrier when they were students at Florida in the mid-1960s. "He doesn't waste any time. We're always doing something or going somewhere. It's always something fun, and he allows his coaches to also have a life, which is a blessing to everyone."

While Spurrier might be a creature of habit, he's anything but regimented. If spring practice is supposed to start that week on a Wednesday and the weather happens to be gorgeous on Monday, Spurrier might drop it on the staff on Monday morning that they're starting practice later that day.

"Be flexible," he likes to tell young coaches.

And occasionally, practice might even get pushed back a bit during the spring while Spurrier is in Augusta taking in a round at the Masters.

South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward calls it "organized chaos," and acknowledges that some assistants are slow to adjust.

"My linebacker coach, Kirk Botkin, worked for Bobby Petrino, and my defensive line coach, Deke Adams, worked for Larry Fedora, and at some point, they both came up to me soon after getting here and said, 'We ain't going to win like this,'" Ward said. "I was like, 'Trust me. His way works, too.' They were just so used to working all these long hours and never going home.

"If I'm ever blessed to be a head coach, I'll pattern a lot of the things I do after Steve Spurrier."

One of the stories Stoops loves to tell is being at Spurrier's beach house in Crescent Beach, Florida, bodysurfing during an open date, which fell the week before Florida's annual September showdown with Tennessee -- and Peyton Manning.

Out in the surf, Spurrier looks over at Stoops.

"Bobby, you think those boys at Tennessee are bodysurfing right now?"

Stoops had just arrived as the Gators' defensive coordinator in 1996 after working under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Nobody is more regimented or works longer hours than Snyder.

"I think he was amazed," Spurrier said. "Our first year together, we won the national championship, and he and his wife were walking back to the hotel from the Superdome. He said, 'You know what? I feel refreshed. Usually, at the end of the season, we're pooped, burned out, staying there to midnight and all that, but I still feel fresh and ready to go.'

"He learned there's other ways to get the job done."

• • •

This offseason, Spurrier and Jerri took trips to Nova Scotia and Costa Rica. He even took in a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park and plays every year in the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe, California.

He gets back just in time from Lake Tahoe to hop a ride on the Florida plane with Will Muschamp for a round of ESPN interviews with the SEC coaches in Connecticut. It's an arrangement Spurrier made with his old boss, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, a few years back.

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