The fall of Steve Spurrier

“We find that princes who have thought more of their pleasures than of arms have lost their states.” —Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli penned the most useful book ever; The Prince provides wonderful details for management that still apply today. Reading through it gives us the chance to understand what we should do to be successful, and to diagnose why leaders fail. One part points out why Tommy Tuberville was fired and why Steve Spurrier has declined—they became enamored with their own pleasure. They became lazy, or at least complacent. For Tuberville it was the duck hunting. For Spurrier it is golf and now the Preakness.

Steve Spurrier was playing golf in Birmingham at the Regions Charity event earlier this week, and on Friday when Paul Finebaum called him about Spurrier’s Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer comments, the South Carolina coach was in Baltimore to attend the Preakness.

The Preakness? We all know his obsessive golfing, but now his indulgence includes horse racing?

Even Nick Saban’s indulgence in a movie appearance furthers a goal—the promotion of the coach’s public stature. Does any of Spurrier’s indulgences further anything but the coach’s own pleasure? And that is the root of Spurrier’s decline. Spurrier was too lazy in Washington to do the work to win. Now that the SEC is filled with coaches of the quality of Urban Meyer, Mark Richt and Nick Saban, the South Carolina coach cannot squeak by on talent alone. It requires hard work.

Compare Meyer’s and Saban’s work ethic with Spurrier. Then consider this analysis from Machiavelli.

“Philopoemen, the leader of the Achaeans, has been praised by the historians for, among other things, having never in peacetime thought of anything else except military strategy.”

Substitute the war talk with football. Does Saban think of anything but football? What about Meyer? Focus on the goal, and you might attain it. Focus on pleasure, and you become lazy like Spurrier and Tuberville.

We can say that South Carolina has inferior talent to Florida, but for right now, it has inferior coaching too.

12 Comments

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  1. 2
    capstonereport

    We all have our vices. I’m going to spend 12 hours watching NCIS Saturday. However, those are 12 hours I should be spending working on the blog for the devoted readers—alas, I’m going to wallow in my own mediocrity!

  2. 3
    finebammer

    there is no doubt spurrier’s greatness. he shook up the sec.

    but many forget the situation he inherited when he took the job at florida.

    thanks to galen hall, the cupboard was anything but bare.

    spurrier was head coach at the state school in a state chok full of talent.

    it was easy.

  3. 4
    CrimsonBlood81

    Let’s face it — Urban Meyer has made a laughing stock out of Spurrier’s legacy at the University of Florida.

    All those SEC titles in the 12 years that he was there — and Meyer gets 2 crystal footballs out of 3 years?!?!

    That’s Spurrier’s real problem — Florida itself.

  4. 5
    Fondel Mahjunk

    crimsonblood81 – if spurrier didn’t put UF on the map such as he did, meyer wouldn’t be having the success he’s having. spurrier took a mediocre sec team and made them into a powerhouse that recruits aimed to go to.

  5. 6
    Jason

    This is probably the most absurd thing I’ve ever read. Sure, Saban and Meyer are good coaches, but much of their work was already done for them before they arrived. Thanks to the work of Spurrier, much of Meyer’s recruiting is already done for him. The same can be said for Saban at Alabama because of Alabama’s legendary status in college football. No matter who the coach is at Florida or Alabama, they’ll get into the living rooms of most any recruit they want. The only advantage that Spurrier has at USC is, well, Spurrier. If anything, Spurrier works harder than Meyer and Saban b/c he has a harder job to do.

  6. 7
    capstonereport

    I agree that Spurrier has a tougher job.

    However, I don’t think he works harder. He was lazy in the NFL; I think he is still lazy at South Carolina.

    Saban and Meyer are legendary for the amount of effort they put into their work. Spurrier is legendary for all the golf he plays. Spurrier’s success in football was largely due to his innovation. Saban’s excellence because he works all the time.

  7. 8
    BamaBrando

    Spurrier has already reached his peak as a college coach a long time ago. I don’t see him sticking around much longer.

  8. 9
    Daddio

    I’ve got a few cases of Houndstooth Visors wich I intended to sell when he was ‘coming’ to Bama. I’ll let ’em go cheap. Any takers?

  9. 10
    David

    you have to be kidding????? You are ridiculing Spurrier for doing something in the offseason that he enjoys??? Truly you can’t suggest that a coach has to promote his university and program 365 days a year? So your point here is that Saban is a better coach and ambassador of his school because he goes to the movies and that is a way to be seen in public and promote his program and Spurrier is not promoting his school by playing in a charity golf event that ends up raising $100,000 in scholarships for his university because he won the event?
    Give me a freaking break!!!!!!!!!

  10. 11
    capstonereport

    Saban didn’t go to a movie—he was acting in a movie. Even that bit of self-indulgence furthers his agenda. If it didn’t further his agenda, he wouldn’t do it. He talks about that all the time, and in his book he explains time management is important part of being a winner.

    The charity golf event at the Chick-Fil-A thing is much different than all the golf Spurrier plays at Augusta, or even the Regions charity event here. It isn’t wrong to let off steam and have a hobby. However, do you think Spurrier works enough when compared with Meyer and Saban? How many hours does Spurrier waste at the golf course or at the Preakness that could be better spent breaking down film or recruiting or speaking to clubs to promote the Gamecocks?

    I think Spurrier was lazy in the NFL (based on the talk at the time) and is lazy now. I think Tuberville got to be lazy at Auburn. We all saw how that turned out.

  11. 12
    E.G White

    Well I don’t know what ya’ll think. But from the stand point of what CNS must be thinking since the NZAA passed the Saban rule – what a fantastic way to get back into the student athletes home relatively face to face. And not just the ones he’s actively recruiting, but all of em – everywhere! Who wouldn’t want to play for Alabama and Nick Saban, the great coach and star up there on the Silver Screen! What a recruiting tool! He just trumped the UcheaT strip show and the Barner Pimpmobile 1000 times over, and he did it his way – with class! RTR!

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