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What they're saying

By BRIAN LANDMAN, KEITH NIEBUHR, LUCY MORGAN and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 5, 2002


"I'm a little bit shocked about it. They hadn't won before that. He elevated that program to a championship level ... a national championship level. I know a lot of people that don't want to go play in the Swamp."

-- Miami coach Larry Coker

* * *

"It came as a total surprise to me; a total surprise. There was no warning. I just had no idea. The only thought I had had about him was about playing them up here next year. I waited to get absolute confirmation of it before I agreed to comment, because I just didn't believe it. ... He's got one of the best jobs in the country. He's paid about as well as anybody in the country and probably better than some pro coaches. It's where he went to school and won the Heisman Trophy. I just didn't think he would leave."

-- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden

* * *

"(Spurrier) has done an outstanding job for them, and the Florida fans certainly have appreciated that. Everyone makes decisions for their own reasons, and I'm sure Steve has his. I personally wish him the best of luck."

-- Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer

* * *

"It seems that what he wants to do is coach pro football and I can't imagine any other reason for him leaving other than that. Although I don't always agree with what he says, I am in agreement with many of his philosophies, especially some related to discipline."

-- Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley

* * *

"I was stunned, completely caught off-guard and surprised. My gut feeling is he's probably going to an NFL team right now. The rise of their program and the things that they've done have certainly been a positive enhancement of the SEC."

-- Alabama coach Dennis Franchione

* * *

"I think he changed Southeastern Conference football. He changed the way people played football in that conference. It went from a run-oriented conference to one that became much more wide open. It's become this way all over the country, that now you've got to go find ways to score points. Then you look at the championships he brought there. The six official championships; they had never won one officially until he went there. They had never won a national championship until he went there. He leaves a tremendous legacy for the University of Florida. He was great for their school, great for their fans and more so, great for their football players."

-- Carl Franks, Duke coach and former Spurrier assistant

* * *

"(Spurrier) will have a number of opportunities if he wants to get in the NFL. He's a proven coach. He's done a great job at the collegiate level, and I wish him well."

-- Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos coach

* * *

"He's one of the premier coaches no matter the level. He must feel like it's his time to move on to the NFL. He's trying to be fair to Florida by resigning instead of holding on. Some coaches hang on, probably to the detriment of the team. It looks like he wanted to make a quick break. ... His record speaks for itself. He took a program that was upper-middle class to elite status."

-- Brad Culpepper, ex-Buc and ex-UF defensive tackle

* * *

"This is a day of reflection. First of all, this is shocking news. All I can do is say, thank you, thank you Steve Spurrier for all you've done. He's taken the program to new levels, not just on the field, but in the quality of student-athletes he brought to Gainesville."

-- Carter McCain, former president of Tampa Gator Club and incoming chairman of the Outback Bowl

* * *

"During the last game at Florida Field he walked around and waved at all the stands. He normally doesn't do that. Wherever he goes, you'll find a team that will light up the NFL."

-- Wilbur Brewton, a Tallahassee lawyer and Florida alumnus

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