published Friday, June 6th, 2014

SEC to have four football coaches with decade at their schools

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, left, and Georgia counterpart Mark Richt shake hands before one of their past meetings. As Richt begins his 14th season with the Bulldogs, Spurrier will start his 10th with the Gamecocks.
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, left, and Georgia counterpart Mark Richt shake hands before one of their past meetings. As Richt begins his 14th season with the Bulldogs, Spurrier will start his 10th with the Gamecocks.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Missouri coach Gary Pinkel claps during the Black and Gold spring football scrimmage on April 19.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    LSU head coach Les Miles reacts to Alabama fans booing before playing Alabama on Nov. 9, 2013, in Tuscaloosa.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LES MILES

Age: 60

School: LSU

Record: 95-24 through nine seasons

Achievement: Miles led the Tigers to the SEC and national championships in 2007 and to another SEC title in 2011.

GARY PINKEL

Age: 62

School: Missouri

Record: 102-62 through 13 seasons

Achievement: Pinkel guided the Tigers to a 12-2 record in 2007 and again last season, when they won the SEC East.

MARK RICHT

Age: 54

School: Georgia

Record: 126-45 through 13 seasons

Achievement: Richt has guided the Bulldogs to five SEC title-game trips, winning the league championship twice.

STEVE SPURRIER

Age: 69

School: South Carolina

Record: 77-39 through nine seasons

Achievement: Spurrier has 12 10-win seasons as an SEC coach, second only to Paul "Bear" Bryant's 13 at Alabama.

Who says longevity no longer exists in college football coaching?

When the 2014 season kicks off in late August, the Southeastern Conference will have four coaches who have been at their respective schools for at least 10 seasons.

Bucking the trend of faster turnover than a generation ago, Georgia's Mark Richt and Missouri's Gary Pinkel are entering their 14th seasons at their locales. Joining the league's decade club are South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and LSU's Les Miles.

Spurrier is about to become the first in SEC football history to coach a decade each at two institutions, with the 69-year-old having won six league championships and one national title in his 12 years at Florida from 1990 to 2001.

"Age isn't that big a deal," Spurrier told The Associated Press last month. "It's more about your health. I read something that said Hillary [Clinton] would be 69 if she won the election, so it's about how you feel, and I feel pretty good."

The last time the SEC had four head football coaches with a decade of experience at their schools was in 1975 with Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant, Auburn's Ralph "Shug" Jordan, Georgia's Vince Dooley and LSU's Charlie McClendon. Jordan was in his 25th and final season with the Tigers, while Dooley was in his 12th season with the Bulldogs and easily was the youngest of that bunch.

Spurrier has accumulated more wins than any coach in Florida history and more wins also than any coach in South Carolina history. The Gamecocks had experienced one 10-win season when he arrived in 2005, and he has led them to three consecutive 11-2 finishes and an unprecedented five straight triumphs over rival Clemson.

It's a similar situation at Missouri, where Pinkel has delivered four 10-win seasons to a program that previously had just one.

"Obviously, you have to win enough to stay," Richt said earlier this spring when he visited a Bulldog Club gathering in Dalton. "I wouldn't have predicted this, but I desired it. My goal when I took this job was to make this my home for good."

Richt has coached Georgia to eight seasons of 10 or more wins, topping the seven that Dooley produced in his 25 seasons (1964-88). That teams are playing more games in this era certainly helps Richt in that category, but the Bulldogs have been to the SEC championship game in five of his 13 seasons, winning titles in 2002 and 2005.

Miles has seven 10-win seasons in his nine years in Baton Rouge, which matches the number compiled by his LSU predecessors. He is the only member of the quartet to win a national title at his current school, having led the Tigers to the 2007 crown.

LSU was No. 1 for most of the 2011 season and played for the national championship but lost to Alabama.

"We're proud of what we've accomplished," Miles said. "Six of nine bowl games have been victories, and we've beaten 37 Top 25 teams and put ourselves in position to be conference champions twice, BCS champions once and playing in the BCS championship game twice.

"One that we're really proud of is that we've won 31 of the last 32 games in Tiger Stadium."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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