Prior to the 1990 season, the University of Florida's Gators had never won a conference title in 56 years as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Then came the dawning of the Steve Spurrier era. During the 1990 season, the first with Spurrier as the head coach, the Gators finished the season with a league-best record of 6-1, and the school's gridiron fortunes were about to make a huge turn for the better. In the next seven seasons with Spurrier at the helm, the team won an unprecedented five SEC championships, as well as the school's first national championship in 1996. For Gator fans those years of mediocrity have become a mere memory, as Spurrier crafted the program into one of the most elite in all of college football.
He began coaching following the completion of a 10-year career as an NFL quarterback. In college he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy, earned as a stellar field leader while at Florida. He was the Gators starting quarterback for three years and was voted first team All-American in both 1965 and 1966. He was named to the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame in 1986. As the first-round pick of the 49ers in the 1967 NFL draft, he played quarterback for San Francisco from 1967-75 and for the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1976. He returned to Florida in 1978 as quarterbacks coach, before moving to Georgia Tech as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 1979 season. He joined the Duke Blue Devils in the same capacity from 1980-82, and then moved on to the USFL as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits.
At the Bandits from 1983-85, Spurrier compiled a 35-19 record with two straight playoff appearances. His 1984 team was the first in pro football history to produce a 4,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. He returned to Duke as head coach in 1987 and turned around a moribund program to produce winning seasons after his initial 5-6 year. During his three-year tenure, he compiled a 20-13-1 record and led the team to its first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship in 24 years in 1989. In each of his three seasons, the Blue Devils averaged more than 300 yards per game passing, the only team in ACC history to reach the mark.
In 2002 Steve Spurrier was named head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins. He immediately began molding the team into his vision of a winner.
- The Steve Spurrier Story