By Pat Jordan

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is based on original interviews and the author's research, including past stories and two books, The Steve Spurrier Story, by Bill Chastain, and Quotable Spurrier, by Gene Frenette. The author acknowledges a debt of thanks to those authors. Steve Spurrier declined to be interviewed for this story.

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People complained to her. He was insufferable, boorish, rude, insulting. She'd shrug, like any long-suffering mother. She was used to it. The tantrums, the self-pity, the selfishness. What could she do? That's the way he is, she'd say, and then add, "Steve's a brat."

Webster's dictionary defines "brat" as "an annoying, spoiled or impolite child." He demands the biggest scoop of ice cream, and his eyes dart to his siblings' scoops to make sure he got it. He has to be the first in line for the roller coaster, pushing and shoving his way to the front if necessary. He always has to win in kickball, and if he doesn't get what he wants, he takes his ball and goes home. He can never be denied anything.

If his mother refuses to buy him a toy, he flings himself on the floor, wailing and kicking, mortifying his mother among the other mothers at the store. (He himself is never mortified, since he has no shame.) If his screeching doesn't work, he goes silent, holding his breath until he turns blue and his mother, frantic now, gives in to his tantrum before he faints. His secret. Threats elicit fear, which gets him what he wants. Fear keeps his mother in line, and when he grows up, he expects the same behavior will keep everyone else in line, too.

So, his wife would say, "Steve's a brat," which is an odd word for a wife to use to describe her husband. Unless you know the husband.

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Steven Orr Spurrier, aka Steve Superior, aka Steve Scurrilous, is a 68-year-old football coach at the University of South Carolina. His father was an itinerant preacher from Tennessee who named his son after St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who was stoned to death for blasphemy. St. Stephen is always pictured in paintings as a blond, boyishly handsome man wearing a golden crown. His namesake was blond and boyishly handsome, too, but unlike the preacher or the saint, Steve Spurrier was never inclined to turn the other cheek. "I'm more of an Old Testament guy," he once said. "You know, an eye for an eye." He knew something about martyrdom, too, since he always acted as if the world was persecuting him when he didn't get what he wanted. And when he did get what he wanted, it still wasn't enough. He wasn't satisfied until those he vanquished were humiliated.

Steve Spurrier has spent almost his entire life as either a football player or a football coach. Before he became the head coach of South Carolina in 2005, Spurrier was the head coach of the Washington Redskins in the NFL (2002-2003), and before that for the University of Florida (1990-2001), Duke University (1987-1989) and the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League (1983-1985). Before he was a head coach, Spurrier was an assistant coach at Duke (1980-1982), Georgia Tech (1979) and Florida (1978). He was a player before that, a quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976) and San Francisco 49ers (1967-1975) in the NFL, and before that with the University of Florida (1963-1966).

Spurrier was discovered as a football talent almost by accident, sort of like Lana Turner's talents were discovered at a Hollywood drugstore while she was wearing a tight sweater. At the age of 11, Spurrier was at a Christian camp in North Carolina when a high school coach noticed his athleticism. That coach convinced Spurrier's father to move from a small Tennessee town to the larger Johnson City, where the coach lived, by promising him a preacher's job, and sports greatness for his son.

Spurrier became a three-sport all-star at Science Hill High School and was an All-America quarterback in his senior year. He was recruited by every major college, including the most storied programs in college football, Alabama and Tennessee. Alabama had Bear Bryant, one of the greatest college coaches ever, and quarterback Joe Namath, later to become "Broadway Joe." But Spurrier wanted nothing to do with such a high-powered program. He felt he'd be pressured to repeat Alabama's successes, and even if he did, his achievements would be lost in that long history of success. Spurrier wanted to be a big fish in a small pond, at a school that had never won anything, where he could make his own success that would be remembered. So he picked Florida, which had a reputation as a dysfunctional football team of underachieving talent and laziness. During Spurrier's tenure there from 1963 through '66, Florida did not win an SEC championship, but he was a two-time, first-team All-American and the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner.

Twenty-four years later, when Spurrier returned to Florida as its head coach, the team still had not won an officially recognized SEC title, but Spurrier changed all that. By the time he left the school to coach in the NFL in 2002, he had made Florida a national powerhouse, a six-time SEC champion and national champion in 1996. Spurrier was voted the SEC coach of the year six times at Florida. He was universally acknowledged as one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football. He was called a "genius," although years later he would tire of that appellation and suggest to a reporter that he use the word "mastermind" instead. It is an interesting distinction. Freud was a genius. Don Corleone was a mastermind.

Spurrier is credited with popularizing a more wide-open passing game. He would send three, four, even five small, speedy receivers all over the field, crisscrossing the field like water bugs, scurrying down the sidelines, so many receivers streaking everywhere that most defenses couldn't keep track of them, appearing to be swiping at them helplessly with nets. Quarterback Danny Wuerffel, himself a Heisman Trophy winner under Spurrier, said, "We got more plays than Florida has sand. But it was simple, too. Someone was always open. You just got them the ball." Spurrier called his offense "Fun 'n' Gun." It also featured a lot of hurry-up, no-huddle plays, designed to exhaust the opposition's defense. And just to further keep defenses on their toes, Spurrier sometimes used a two-quarterback system, alternating passers after each play, or each series of downs. Once, he startled an opponent by beginning the game with an on-side kick. He was a master at the unexpected, at a time when most college coaches were predictable, especially in the Southeastern Conference, noted for its strong defenses and plodding offenses. Three running plays off tackle, then a punt or a first down. Before Spurrier, SEC game scores read like baseball scores, 10-3, 12-6. After Spurrier, whose teams regularly racked up more than 50 points a game, the SEC was never the same again.

Having taken Florida's football program as far as he could, Spurrier left for the NFL in 2002. He wanted to test his theories in a league where coaches were even more conservative than in college, and he wanted to redeem himself from his failure as a player in the NFL. So he signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Washington Redskins, the most money ever given an NFL coach at the time. The Redskins were a perfect fit for Spurrier, an underachieving team whose past glories were only a distant memory. Those memories became even more distant during Spurrier's two-year tenure. He won 12 games and lost 20, then quit and took his ball and went home. It had dawned on him, finally, that he'd never be a Football Hero in the NFL as a coach, just as he'd never been a Football Hero as a player there for 11 years. He'd been a second- and third-string quarterback for the 49ers, with only rare moments of success that he couldn't sustain over a season, much less a career. In fact, he quarterbacked the worst team in NFL history, when he guided the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an 0-14 record, which still stands as the NFL hallmark of futility.

In 2004, the head coach's job opened up at Florida, and there was mutual interest in Spurrier's return. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley told Spurrier to send in a résumé, and Spurrier reportedly told Foley to go look in the Gators' trophy case. Spurrier withdrew his name and instead accepted the South Carolina job. The Gamecocks had been even less successful than Florida before Spurrier. The Gators at least had talented players who had underperformed. The Gamecocks never even had such talent.

Over his first five years at South Carolina, Spurrier steadily and patiently turned the Gamecocks into a decent football team, with records of 7-5, 8-5, 6-6, 7-6 and 7-6. Then he led a very good 9-5 team in his sixth season there, followed by identical 11-2 records in the last two years, a team on the brink of greatness. And he did this by undergoing a startling metamorphosis in reverse, from a vividly colored butterfly (Fun 'n' Gun) to a drab and plodding caterpillar, drenched with purpose. The great, offensive genius (sorry, "mastermind") adjusted to the talents of his players -- quarterbacks who were merely adequate, solid running backs and defensive stalwarts. In fact, this season's preseason ESPN highlight reel for college football featured none of Spurrier's modestly talented quarterbacks throwing a touchdown pass, but rather his All-America defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, hitting a Michigan running back with such force that his helmet flew off, landing five yards away (thankfully without his head still in it).

This year, the Gamecocks are the 12th-ranked team in the nation at 3-1, according to the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll, still with a legitimate shot to win the SEC championship, something the school has never done before. Gamecocks fans are now clamoring for nothing less than an SEC title, or else, as one fan put it, "The team would be underachieving."

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Florida went 23-9 in three seasons with Steve Spurrier at quarterback, and he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy. (Getty Images)

In many ways, Spurrier had an idyllic, Tom Sawyer childhood, despite the fact that "we never had anything extra much," he once said. His father Graham always took his three children to Myrtle Beach for summer vacations, and for Spurrier there were always sports. Steve would tag along with his older brother, Graham Jr., for pick-up football games. He was too small to play in those games, so he learned how to kick and punt. When he played football with kids his age, he quarterbacked for both teams, "because he threw it better than everybody else," his brother said. School was just a necessary evil that Spurrier had to endure in order to play football on the school team, just as he had to endure church every Sunday because of his father.

"He was always a pain in the ass," Spurrier's teenage friend Joe Biddle says, 50 years later. The kind of kid "who was always preoccupied with what's on his mind."

His mother, Marjorie, once said she and her husband "never tried to correct [Steve] on things he'd said or done." They never taught him that his words or actions might hurt people, which may be why he seems to lack even the rudiments of empathy. His older brother said that Spurrier also never learned to control his temper, inherited from his father. The Reverend Spurrier was a righteous Christian who "always walked the walk," according to a friend. The Reverend had the habit of greeting men with a question: "How's your relationship with Jesus?" (It is not known whether any of them responded, "None of your damned business, Reverend.") The Reverend was without doubt in his life, which certitude he passed on to his son, Steve. He ingrained in his son that the only purpose in anything he did in life that involved keeping score was to win.

"The Reverend hated to lose," says Biddle. And if he did lose, "he always had an excuse, always wanted to blame somebody else. Steve gets a lot of that."

The Reverend also raised Steve to root for the underdog. "Alabama with Bear Bryant was the big school," Spurrier told ESPN last summer, "and I didn't want to go there. Of course, they had Steve Sloan and Joe Namath. I wanted to go to a school that hadn't done much, which was Florida, and I wanted an opportunity to play as a sophomore." He liked the idea that the Gators were party animals; he always had a little bit of "Animal House" in him. His wife, Jerri, his girlfriend at the time, said of him then, if he wasn't playing sports, he was "playing around." He took nothing seriously, sometimes not even football. It was all a game to him -- "fun."

He had practical reasons for choosing Florida, too. The Gators' coach, Ray Graves, liked to "toss it around a little," as Spurrier put it, and he let his quarterback "be the show." Then there was golf, one of Spurrier's only non-football passions in high school. There were a lot of golf courses around Gainesville, and it was through golf that Spurrier honed his talent for unraveling his opponent with mind games, such as jiggling his keys when another golfer was putting. It didn't hurt that Graves, too, was the son of a preacher, although when Graves took the Spurrier clan out to dinner during recruiting, he made a Christian faux pas that almost cost him his prize recruit. When the shrimp cocktail came, Graves picked one up and popped it in his mouth. The Reverend Spurrier glared at him and intoned, "Coach, did you know we haven't blessed the food yet?"

Steve Spurrier and his wife, Jerri, have been together since his days as Florida's quarterback. (Getty Images)

Spurrier enrolled at Florida in 1963 and became the team's starting quarterback as a sophomore in 1964. (In those days, freshmen couldn't play varsity sports.) For three seasons, Spurrier produced decent records -- 7-3, 7-4, 9-2 -- but no SEC titles. They were records that might have gotten an Alabama quarterback benched and booed out of Tuscaloosa, yet they were notable accomplishments at Florida. One year, Florida students expressed their displeasure at still another hapless season by throwing their coach in a lake. In 1948, a candidate for governor ran on a platform with just two planks: Get cows off Florida highways, and produce a winning team in Gainesville. But Spurrier did not become a Football Hero in Gainesville because of his merely decent 23-9 career record, or even his Heisman Trophy.

The myth of "Steve Superior" began with the way he approached the game. Often, in the huddle during a close contest, Spurrier could see the fear in his teammates' eyes. He'd calm them down by showing how calm he was in a pressure situation, acting as if they were just in a sandlot game of no big import. He'd say, in that folksy drawl of his, Aw, whattaya say, les jes toss it around a little, see what happens. Then he'd invent a new play on the spot. He'd dig the point of his toe in the ground and diagram that new play with his cleats in the dirt. Once, in the huddle, over the screams of 60,000 fans, he said to his receiver, "Hey DT, if I throw it to you, you going to do something with it, or ya gonna fall down?" Spurrier was so cool, so removed from pressure, that early in his senior season, he thought nothing of missing a few practices before a game to elope to Georgia with his girlfriend.

Spurrier's legend at Florida was defined by two significant games. In the final game of his junior season, against Missouri in the Sugar Bowl, Spurrier's Gators were getting pummeled 20-0 in the fourth quarter, when suddenly Spurrier seemed electrified. He couldn't miss a receiver in that final quarter. He threw three touchdown passes, which would have won the game for the Gators if Graves hadn't elected to go for a two-point conversion each time instead of an extra-point kick. The Gators failed on all three conversions and lost 20-18. Still, it was another moment of personal glory for Spurrier. He was the first player on a losing team ever to be voted the MVP of the Sugar Bowl.

The second defining game was against Auburn in 1966. With the score tied 27-27 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Florida had the ball in Auburn territory. Graves sent out his field goal kicker, but Spurrier waved him off the field -- and then set up to kick the field goal himself. Graves was "flabbergasted" but figured his inventive quarterback had probably "thought of something. You could never question him." Spurrier had thought of something: kicking it himself. He had learned to punt and kick as a child, when his most cherished possession was a little plastic kicking tee. Shoot, this was no different. Maybe a few more people watching, screaming a bit louder, but it was still just a sandlot in Spurrier's mind. So he kicked the 40-yard field goal to win the game, and he went on to win the Heisman Trophy.

Before the 1967 draft, NFL scouts compared Spurrier to Purdue's quarterback, Bob Griese, and Spurrier came up wanting. They didn't like his attitude, cocky and aloof. He didn't seem to take the game seriously, a misconception with Spurrier. He took it seriously, but in his own laid-back way, which no one was ever going to change. The scouts also thought he had bad throwing mechanics, a slow release, poor footwork and no real running speed. At best, those scouts predicted, he'd be an adequate NFL quarterback. Griese, on the other hand, "was quicker afoot and threw the ball quicker and better [than Spurrier]," said Purdue coach Jack Mollenkoff, according to Chastain's book. Most importantly, Griese had an NFL mindset. He was serious, boring -- precise in his passes, a technician, methodical -- while Spurrier was a flamboyant and temperamental artist. He could produce greatness one moment and dreck the next. In a lot of ways, Spurrier was like Namath, whose great games overshadowed his less-than-stellar NFL career.

In March 1967, Spurrier was selected third in the first round of the draft, by the San Francisco 49ers. Griese was picked fourth by the Miami Dolphins, whom he would lead to three Super Bowls and the greatest single-season record ever, 17-0, in 1972.

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Steve Spurrier's first head coaching job came with the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits, who went 35-19 in three seasons. (Getty Images)

Spurrier knew very little about San Francisco, but it didn't matter, "as long as I get to play," he said. He should have wondered more about who the 49ers' starting quarterback was. John Brodie was a veteran, classic, dropback NFL quarterback with a big arm, who had been signed for just under a million dollars. Spurrier was immediately relegated to third-string, and occasional punter. During his nine years with the 49ers, Spurrier rarely would be more than a backup quarterback, playing mostly when Brodie was hurt. He had his moments over those years, at one point leading the 49ers to a 6-2-1 record. But his career passing records were less than mediocre. He barely completed 50 percent of his passes, and he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes in all but two of his 11 seasons.

Spurrier's entire NFL career was marked by criticism. He couldn't throw the long ball. He had poor throwing mechanics. Bad footwork. A slow release. He was too slow dropping back to pass. But, being his father's son, Spurrier always had an excuse for his deficiencies. The NFL ball was bigger than the college ball. His hands were too small to grip it. He had to get used to the snaps of a new center, after having had the same center at Florida for three years. It apparently never dawned on Spurrier that every college quarterback had to make the same adjustments that he did in the NFL. He wrote a newspaper column in which he claimed he was going to ask the 49ers to trade him. His constant complaints did not sit well with San Francisco coach Dick Nolan, who saw his quarterback as an immature whiner, and worse, a player with a lackadaisical work ethic. Spurrier had been the Golden Boy in college, like Robert Redford's character Hubbell in The Way We Were. Everything came easy to Hubbell, as it did for Spurrier, but unlike Hubbell, Spurrier didn't realize it until it was too late. "I didn't have the best ambition," he admitted. "At times I could get excited about playing, and at other times I settled into being a backup quarterback."

In 1976, Spurrier got his wish when he was traded to the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was back in Florida again, a fresh start, but he clashed almost immediately with Bucs coach John McKay, a hardnosed guy who believed in a strong defense and a ponderous running game. Spurrier, being Spurrier, was still a good ol' boy, even at 31, who believed in jes tossin' the ole ball around a little. "Having some fun," he called it, but McKay was not a "having some fun" kind of guy. He wasn't amused when Spurrier showed up at practice without a shirt or shoes, like Tom Sawyer going fishing. McKay was even less amused when Spurrier showed up late for the Bucs' first game. On those rare occasions when both men agreed on Spurrier's need to throw more passes, they still clashed. McKay told Spurrier to pass the ball more to his son, John McKay, Jr., a wide receiver. Why should he do that, Spurrier said, when "he's the worst receiver on the team?"

McKay had had enough. He waited for a chance to humiliate Spurrier, and when he found it, he yanked him from a game in the middle of an offensive series, announcing in front of the team, "the f---ing honeymoon is over, Spurrier." By the end of the Bucs' disastrous 0-14 season, even Spurrier's 9-year-old daughter Lisa was booing him. When her mother asked why she was booing her father, Lisa said, "Because everyone else is."

At the end of the season, when a sportswriter asked him what he thought of his players' execution, McKay said, in a rare burst of humor, "I'm all for it." Spurrier was one of the first players McKay executed. The following summer, Spurrier latched on briefly with Denver and Miami, both of whom let him go before the season began. No other team was interested in Spurrier, who ended his 10-year NFL career with 40 TD passes and 60 interceptions.

Spurrier has admitted that he's never really "had a job," and that football "beats working for a living [because it's] fun." So he retired at 32 and returned to Gainesville, seemingly without a care in the world. He jogged every morning, then went to his country club to play golf and gin rummy with his old college buddies. On weekends, he went to Florida Field to watch his Gators play. He waited for a job offer to drop in his lap. The only one that did was an offer to sell used cars in Ocala, but that was "a real job," so he did not even deign to respond. Instead, he just waited for good things to happen to him, as they always did, without much effort on his part. He was living the life of an old English Lord, watching his manor house crumble around him but too proud to pursue an avenue for making money, which he considered unseemly for a gentleman -- or, in Spurrier's case, for a Football Hero.

In 1978, his old Gators threw him a bone: a job as quarterbacks coach. Spurrier had said he might like to give coaching a try, because he'd seen an awful lot of "sorry" coaches and was sure he could do better than them. But after a year, when Florida made a coaching change, Spurrier was let go. Georgia Tech then hired him as a quarterbacks coach in 1979, but he was let go again at the end of that year, when Georgia Tech also made a coaching change. Both new coaches, Charley Pell and Bill Curry, claimed that Spurrier didn't like to work too hard, which had been the consensus in the NFL, too. He was a lackadaisical recruiter at best. He often visited prospects for his head coaches, watched them play a game and went home. When the coaches asked how he'd gotten along with the boys' parents, Spurrier said he hadn't bothered to meet them.

By 1980, Spurrier had been let go by four NFL teams (as a player) and two college teams (as a coach) in just five years. Then, out of the blue, a job dropped in Spurrier's lap that would allow him to make his bones as a football coach. Red Wilson, coach at Duke, hired him to be his offensive coordinator, which may sound like a big deal, but it wasn't. Duke had always been one of the worst football teams in the ACC, a conference in which football was just an afterthought to basketball. Duke had not been to a bowl game since the 1960 season. So Wilson turned over his team's offense to Spurrier to do whatever he wanted with it.

It was at Duke that Spurrier began experimenting with his Fun 'n' Gun offense. He took a little-known quarterback, Ben Bennett, and turned him into an ACC record-setting passer. This would become Spurrier's modus operandi with quarterbacks. He became a master at turning quarterbacks with mediocre talent into top-rated passers, but only if they were intelligent. Spurrier said one of the reasons he loved coaching at Duke was because his players were so smart. Ironically, when Spurrier had supremely talented passers, he never seemed to get the best out of them. Maybe it was because, as Spurrier's first quarterback as head coach, Steve Slayden, later put it, "His quarterback is him on the field." Another Duke quarterback, Billy Ray, said, "The way Spurrier sees it, if we don't gain 400 yards, it looks bad on him." With Spurrier as the team's offensive coordinator, Duke went 2-7 in 1980, then improved to 6-5 each of the next two seasons. In 1982, his offense finished fourth nationally in total yards per game, garnering personal recognition for Spurrier, who was now being talked about as an offensive "genius."

Spurrier even changed his attitude toward recruiting, while still giving it his own spin (naturally). Now, when he went to scout a recruit, he didn't waste time watching him lift weights, but instead spent time with the boy's father. One time, Spurrier spent an entire afternoon drinking beer with a recruit's father in his living room, both of them shirtless.

Spurrier and his Fun 'n' Gun offense caught the attention of John Bassett, owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits in the newly formed United States Football League. One of Bassett's assistants told him he should go check out Steve Spurrier, the former Heisman Trophy winner, as a possible head coach. He'd done some great things with the Duke offense, and "he's young, kind of a charismatic guy."

Bassett liked what he saw and hired Spurrier, making him the youngest professional head coach ever at 37 years old. Spurrier took his fledgling Fun 'n' Gun to new heights with the Bandits. He started his first game with a no-huddle offense, and then he did what he did best. He took a 30-year-old NFL reject, John Reaves, and turned him into one of the USFL's most prolific quarterbacks -- which was not that hard to do. Bassett and the USFL wanted wide-open, high-scoring, explosive offenses, to entice new fans who might be bored with the NFL's stingy defenses and lower-scoring games. "The Bandits were fun," said Bill Chastain, a Florida sportswriter. They were the kind of Fun 'n' Gun that Spurrier loved. His wife, Jerri, said, "When he took the Bandits job I thought, 'Ahhh, this is like the World Football League.' But it turned out to be the most fun we ever had."

Yet by the time the USFL folded before the 1986 season, Spurrier had guided the Bandits to a merely decent 35-19 record, much less impressive than his personal reputation as an "offensive genius," which he was positive would now land him the job of his dreams. He applied for head coaching posts at Florida, Mississippi State, LSU and California, but there were no offers. "My reputation for playin' golf and not workin' hard, I guess, was not what they were lookin' for," he said, in a rare moment of self-awareness. Finally, in 1987, someone did call: his and Jerri's old friend, Tom Butters, the Duke athletic director, and Spurrier had his first head coaching job.

Spurrier turned the doormats of the ACC into, first, a respectable team, 5-6 and 7-3-1, and then in 1989 into a very good team at 8-4, tying for the ACC championship at 6-1. Spurrier was voted ACC Coach of the Year for a second time, and by then, his soon-to-be archrival, Bobby Bowden at Florida State, was calling him for plays, Bowden said, "because I'm infatuated with him." "Steve Spurrier is a god," said Dave Brown, one of his quarterbacks. His players loved playing for him, because his games and especially his practices were "fun." But not everyone thought Spurrier made football fun. Rival coaches were beginning to dislike him, largely because he seemed to be looking for ways to embarrass them, including running up the score. When Duke demolished North Carolina on its home field, 41-0, Spurrier posed himself and his players underneath the Tar Heels' scoreboard for a photograph. When UNC coach Mack Brown expressed his displeasure, Spurrier, who liked to needle Brown by calling him "Mr. Football," said, "I don't know why [he's mad]. I've won more games on that field than he has."

After the season, while the Blue Devils waited for a bowl invitation, Spurrier said, "Team championships are much more important to me than individual awards, because you got so many people to share it with." Shortly afterward, he informed Duke and his players that he was leaving the team to become the head coach of his alma mater, Florida. His players felt abandoned and betrayed, by a coach who once had said he owed Duke a great debt of gratitude for hiring him when no one else would. "This place means a great deal to Steve Spurrier and his family," Spurrier said, referring to himself in the third person.

Butters was furious, too, because Spurrier had humiliated Brown, whose team "Spurrier didn't have to face again, but Duke did." Spurrier coached a dispirited Duke squad for one final game in the All-American Bowl. The Blue Devils' opponent, Texas Tech, handed them a 49-21 thrashing. When Spurrier screamed at one of his players to hustle down the field, the player looked back at him and said, "You're not my coach anymore, don't yell at me."

On Thursday, Part II: "Steve is always at his worst as a human being when things are going good for him." Spurrier has his triumphs and defeats, while antagonizing rivals both real and imagined.

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Pat Jordan is a freelance writer living in Abbeville, S.C. He is the author of A False Spring and 10 other books, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper's, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, GQ, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal and many others.