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Cooper defends South Carolina's decision to hire Spurrier

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  • Cooper defends South Carolina's decision to hire Spurrier

    Dec 9, 2004 wire reports

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The only black football coach currently at South Carolina defended the school's decision to hire Steve Spurrier after the Black Coaches Association criticized the university for failing to conduct a full search.


    Assistant Ron Cooper, a former head coach at several Division I-A schools, said Thursday he was contacted about the position when Lou Holtz decided to retire earlier this year.

    But when athletic director Mike McGee told Cooper there was a chance to hire Spurrier, Cooper said, "if you can hire Steve Spurrier, go hire him now."

    "It doesn't take a rocket scientist," Cooper said. "There are a lot of coaches out there that would have said what I said."

    BCA director Floyd Keith told prospective football recruits and assistant coaches to stay away from South Carolina because the school ignored the group's recommendation for a more open coaching search.

    Keith said earlier this week that South Carolina never contacted the BCA.

    "There was an announcement and a hire," he said. "That was so fast that a jackrabbit couldn't have had a family between all that."

    Cooper, a former head coach at Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Alabama A&M, said he was out of town this week when the news broke.

    "I know Floyd and I understand where he's coming from," Cooper said. But "to say that it was never brought up, it was brought up and it was talked about."

    Three of the five black head coaches at major colleges - Notre Dame's Tyrone Willingham, New Mexico State's Tony Samuel and San Jose State's Fitz Hill - won't be back with their schools next season.

    McGee has said the mission of the BCA is important to college football. Bur he said administrators faced a brief time frame to land someone as prominent as Spurrier.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved