Sunday, February 11, 2007


Anyone opening The State on Sunday would have been interested, maybe even surprised, to see this little item in the sports section:

CLEMSON — Defensive line coach Chris Rumph has turned down an overture to work for USC.
Through a school spokesman, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said Rumph had been called by a USC assistant to gauge his interest in serving as the Gamecocks' outside linebackers coach. Rumph declined to pursue the job.
Neither Rumph, Bowden nor USC coach Steve Spurrier could be reached for further comment.
According to sources close to the USC program, Spurrier has been interested in filling the vacant position with a former Gamecocks player. Rumph played for USC from 1991-94.

No one, apparently, was more surprised to see the item than Steve Spurrier.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on Sunday vehemently denied reports that he or anyone on his staff contacted Clemson defensive line coach Chris Rumph about a position with the Gamecocks.
"Someone in the Upstate is lying," Spurrier said Sunday.
USC defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said Rumph called him Tuesday to see if the Gamecocks would be interested in a Tigers' commitment who was denied admission to Clemson, presumably tailback Jo Jo Cox.
Later in the conversation, Nix said Rumph inquired about USC’s outside linebackers position, vacant since January when Spurrier chose not to renew Dave Wommack’s contract. Nix said he told Rumph, a former Gamecocks’ linebacker, to contact Spurrier if he was interested in the job.
"Somebody up there has got their facts all wrong, or purposefully trying to make it look like some Clemson coach is actually trying to stay there instead of getting out," Spurrier said, an apparent reference to the Tigers' assistants who have interviewed for other positions this winter.
"I didn't talk to Rumph. I didn't tell anybody to talk to Rumph."

This baffles me in a few ways.

First of all, how desperate do you have to be to find good things to say about your program to announce through a school spokesman that your defensive line coach has turned down what was at best a lateral move to an in-state rival?

Did I tell you USC tried to hire these guys for the grounds crew? Turned 'em down cold.

But mostly, I don't understand why Bowden keeps giving Spurrier fodder for preseason booster speeches. His father's been through this, and I honestly didn't think Dear Leader was an idiot. I didn't think he was a Rhodes Scholar, but stupid also wasn't the word that came to mind.

Personally, I love seeing stuff like this. I think, with Spurrier in Columbia, it will add more fuel to the rivalry (as long as Dear Leader survives). Not that a rivalry that once almost literally featured gun fire needs any extra fuel, but it can't hurt.

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