Florida adds Spurrier as surprise fourth in ring of honor

Updated: September 30, 2006, 9:59 AM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was named one of the first four inductees into Florida's Ring of Honor on Friday night.

Spurrier, running back Emmitt Smith, quarterback Danny Wuerffel and defensive end Jack Youngblood were to be inducted into the Ring on Saturday, before the fifth-ranked Gators host Alabama. Their names will be displayed in the North end zone at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The surprise announcement came at Friday's "Gator Gala," a fundraiser that was part of the school's 100 years of Florida football celebration. The event raised more than $6 million for endowed scholarships.

Spurrier said his second trip to Gainesville this month -- this one came less than 24 hours after his Gamecocks nearly upset No. 2 Auburn -- shouldn't raise any questions about his loyalty to South Carolina. Spurrier and his 1996 national championship team held a 10-year reunion and were recognized on the field before Florida's season opener against Southern Mississippi.

"I spent about half my life in Gainesville, Florida," Spurrier said. "I went to the University of Florida, and my wife and three children have degrees from the University of Florida, and some of my most fun times ever in my life -- championships, national championships -- we celebrated down here in Gainesville, Florida."

"I don't think I'm supposed to forget about all those good times. The University of Florida has meant so much to me and my family. Certainly Jerri and I are excited to be here. And when the weekend's over, we're back being South Carolina Gamecocks."

Spurrier won Florida's first Heisman Trophy in 1966, returned as coach in 1990 and won 122 games in 12 seasons. He received widespread credit for revolutionizing college football with his innovative and wide-open passing attack -- the one that led the Gators to their lone national title with a 52-20 victory against rival Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press