COLUMBIA — On National Signing Day, South Carolina’s biggest addition wasn’t a player at all.
Head coach Steve Spurrier is on the brink of augmenting his staff with another assistant coach, which according to ESPN will be his former defensive coordinator at Florida, Jon Hoke. The USC Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday via conference call to discuss a contractual matter regarding an athletic employment agreement.
In the weeks since the 2014 season ended, Spurrier has left open the possibility of adding another coach to his defensive staff. Asked about that likelihood Wednesday during his annual National Signing Day media conference, Spurrier hinted that such an announcement was imminent.
“Tomorrow we’ll talk about the additional coach,” he said. “I’ve not made it any secret that I’ve hoped to add a coach next year. Today we’ll talk about these (signees), and tomorrow we’ll talk about a coach potentially coming in and helping us.”
Hoke was Spurrier’s defensive coordinator at Florida from 1999-2001, a span during which the Gators allowed 18.9 points per game. The 2001 Florida team allowed 14.8 points and 290 yards per game on its way to a 10-2 record and No. 3 final national ranking. He took over for Bob Stoops, who left to become head coach at Oklahoma.
Hoke, 58, has spent the past decade in the NFL, where he was most recently defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears. His task at South Carolina would be to improve a Gamecocks defense which finished 13th last season in the SEC, and suffered a series of fourth-quarter collapses which contributed to a 7-6 record, the Gamecocks’ worst since 2009.
Hoke’s potential title is unclear, as is the fate of current defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “We won’t be getting rid of any coaches,” Spurrier said Jan. 24, leaving open the possibility of a reassignment to accommodate the addition.