Will Muschamp has been let go as head coach of the Gamecocks, according to a release from the South Carolina athletic department. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will be elevated to interim head coach for the rest of the season. Muschamp’s final record at South Carolina is 28-30 overall, 17-22 SEC.
Athletics Director Ray Tanner said, “We will begin a search immediately to find the best head coach for Carolina football. We have great facilities, a passionate fan base, a University that is committed to excellence in football and a support system that is second to none in developing student-athletes. We will be looking for someone with the energy, commitment and organizational skills that can move our program to a championship level.”
For much of Muschamp’s tenure, he was dogged with questions about his program’s lagging offensive production, but in 2020, it has been the Gamecocks defense coming apart at the seams. South Carolina has surrendered 159 points and forced just three punts over the last three games, all double-digit losses. Before this season, Muschamp reached out to Bobo, a college teammate, to address the team’s offensive woes. Behind Bobo’s play-calling and breakout seasons from running back Kevin Harris and receiver Shi Smith, the Gamecocks offense has seen improvement statistically. But it hasn’t been anywhere near productive enough to offset the regression of the defense.
After taking over a team that had mustered just three wins in 2015, Muschamp led the Gamecocks to consecutive bowl appearances including nine wins and an Outback Bowl victory over Michigan in his second season. South Carolina rewarded Muschamp with a lucrative new contract, hopeful it had found its long-term answer at head coach. But signature wins and positive momentum have been lacking over the last three seasons in Columbia. For every high (wins over 3rd-ranked Georgia, 14th-ranked Auburn), there have been twice as many lows (shutout loss to Virginia in the Belk Bowl, home loss to Appalachian State, 1-3 against Kentucky, 1-6 against ACC).
Muschamp produced the most wins by any South Carolina coach in his first three seasons with 22, but after a 4-8 campaign in 2019, he had also racked up the most losses by any Gamecocks coach through four seasons with 25. In the end, Muschamp fell short of seriously challenging for an SEC East crown or returning the Gamecocks to national relevancy. In almost five seasons under Muschamp, the AP poll has ranked the Gamecocks just once, no. 24 in Week 2 of 2018 following a victory over Coastal Carolina.
The administration and fanbase will now turn their attention to the coaching search, which according to University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen, will be headed by Tanner, “Our search for a new head football coach begins today, and I have every confidence that Coach Tanner will find the right person to lead our program. I know how much football means to our students, faculty, alumni, and donors; I share that passion. Our priority remains winning a championship at the University of South Carolina.”