South Carolina to give Spurrier bonus if he stays 4 more seasons

Updated: February 2, 2008, 2:50 AM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Steve Spurrier has another reason to stick around South Carolina.

The university's Board of Trustees approved a tax-deferred retirement package Friday for Spurrier's contract that would pay the football coach $1 million if he remained with the Gamecocks the next four seasons.

The money would accrue in installments of $250,000 the next four years and would be given to Spurrier if he's still at South Carolina by Dec. 31, 2011. Spurrier would forfeit the package if he left the school before then.

Spurrier makes about $1.75 million a year. He was given a one-year contract extension and a raise of about $500,000 after the 2006 season when the Gamecocks finished with three straight victories, including wins over rival Clemson and Houston in the Liberty Bowl.

South Carolina appeared ready to take another step forward this season, opening 6-1 and reaching No. 6 in the country. However, the Gamecocks finished with five straight defeats -- the longest such streak of Spurrier's coaching career.

Still, Spurrier's name has come up in connection with several coaching vacancies during his time with the Gamecocks.

South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman said the retirement package was a thank you for Spurrier's work so far.

"He's an MVP. He's a champion," Hyman said. "And this the way for us to show how much we appreciate the job he's done."

The annuity was similar to one awarded South Carolina baseball coach Ray Tanner in November. Tanner would receive $240,000 in tax-deferred income should he stay with the program through June 2012.

In other action, trustees approved deals for Spurrier's two newest coaches.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will have a three-year contract that pays him a total of $350,000. Special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski got a two-year contract that pays him $160,000 this coming season and $170,000 the next.

Johnson was hired last week after Spurrier's first pick to take over the defense, Brian VanGorder, left to return to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, where he'll coordinate the defense for his friend and new Falcons' head coach, Mike Smith.

Johnson was called by Spurrier hours after VanGorder's decision. Johnson had just been hired weeks earlier as defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

Rychleski came over from Maryland, where he coordinated special teams for the previous seven seasons.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press