Steve Spurrier left the University of Florida for the NFL in 2001.
The former Gators quarterback and coach has been trying to beat his alma mater since he became South Carolina’s head coach in 2005.
But Spurrier’s legacy and popularity live on in the Sunshine State. On Thursday, he returned to the Swamp – a place he nicknamed back in 1992 and lost just five games in 12 seasons as a coach – to accept the Great Floridian award from Gov. Rick Scott.
“Good things have happened to me ever since I came to the University of Florida way back in 1963,” said Spurrier, who hails from Johnson City , Tenn.
Spurrier would win the 1966 Heisman Trophy and meet his wife of 47 years, Jerri, in Gainesville. In 1990, he returned to coach the Gators and put the football program on the map using his Fun n’ Gun offense to win a national title in 1996 and six SEC titles at a school that had never won one.
“He’s an inspiration,” Scott said. “Here’s an individual who worked very hard his whole life, one to be a great football player and he did it, winning the Heisman Trophy, and one to be a great coach, and he brought the national championship to Florida.
“He’s done it across the country and he started right here in this great state. So you want to give it to people who have done the right thing with their lives and they are an inspiration to others.”
Spurrier, 68, is the 71st recipient of the award, established in 1971 to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the state. Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow received the award in May.
Source: Orlando Sentinel