South Carolina hires Will Muschamp; Georgia officially announces Kirby Smart as its new coach _lowres

Associated Press file photo by CHRIS O'MEARA -- Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp watches Auburn warm up before last year's Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

South Carolina officially announced Will Muschamp will be its next football coach, replacing the Gamecocks’ all-time wins leader Steve Spurrier.

The school said Sunday evening on its football Twitter feed, introducing “our new Head Coach, Will Muschamp!”

South Carolina has scheduled an introductory news conference for Muschamp on Monday morning. University trustees will vote on Muschamp’s contract before he meets the media.

The 44-year-old Muschamp spent this past season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator after being fired after four seasons as coach of the Gators. He is the second straight Florida coach to hold South Carolina’s permanent job, following Spurrier, who left in mid-October after 10-plus seasons in Columbia.

Spurrier won 86 games at South Carolina.

Muschamp spent four seasons with the Gators, leading them to an 11-3 season in 2012. But he was just 10-13 the next two seasons and was let go by Florida. Muschamp said then that Florida’s next coach would inherit a big-time roster and was proven correct as Jim McElwain led the Gators to the SEC Eastern Division crown in his first season.

Spurrier believed South Carolina’s players needed a change from his style. They’ll have one in the fiery Muschamp.


SMART APPROVED AS COACH: Georgia hired Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as its new head coach Sunday, hoping he can accomplish what been routine for the Crimson Tide but eluded Mark Richt during his 15 years between the hedges:

Win a national championship.

Smart was formally approved as Richt’s successor during a meeting by the Georgia athletic association executive committee. Several media outlets reported that Smart would be the choice just days after Georgia announced it was parting ways with Richt, who won two Southeastern Conference titles and nearly 75 percent of his games in Athens but fell out of favor with many top boosters because of a perception that his team’s underachieved.

Richt has since taken a job as Miami’s coach — like Smart, returning to his alma mater.

Smart played at Georgia in the 1990s and has been Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama since 2008. The new coach turns 40 on Dec. 23 and was widely regarded as one of the top assistants in the country, with Alabama perennially ranking among the top defensive teams in the country.