Will Muschamp is South Carolina’s head coach. The how’s and why’s of the previous sentence are no longer relevant, all that matters is what is.
But, in the event Muschamp’s second head coaching job goes the way of his first, many in the garnet and black will look back on the events that led Muschamp to Columbia. Then they’ll remember the Gamecocks’ loss to The Citadel on Nov. 21, 2015, and then they’ll find themselves with a violent and urgent need to stick their heads in the nearest trash can.
In his look at the Muschamp era at South Carolina, USA Today‘s Dan Wolken detailed how it nearly didn’t happen:
South Carolina, in fact, first targeted Houston’s Tom Herman and was so far down the road toward an agreement, according to two people familiar with the process, that the school’s administration had essentially shut its search process down.
Those same people, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity, said Herman’s mind changed after South Carolina lost to The Citadel on Nov. 21 and it became clear the next coach would have a massive rebuilding job on his hands. Herman decided to stay at Houston for a deal worth nearly $3 million per year and, presumably, wait for a more high-profile situation.
South Carolina, meanwhile, turned next to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who instead went to Georgia, and talked extensively with Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, who turned down an offer he did not view as legitimate, according to people familiar with the process.
Of course, it’s hardly as if that 23-22 setback to The Citadel reveled a truth that wasn’t already self-evident. The Gamecocks had already completed a 1-7 campaign within the SEC, and the Citadel loss dropped South Carolina to 3-8 on the year. A 37-32 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Clemson a year later closed South Carolina’s season at 3-9.
And now, for the reasons Wolken outlined above, Muschamp is the Gamecocks’ head coach. For better or worse, Muschamp’s self-diagnosis of what he needs to fix from his Florida tenure can be summed up simply. “What did I learn? You need to score more points. It’s real simple,” Muschamp said. “We’re not splitting the atom.”