USC head coach Steve Spurrier was named SEC Coach of the Year, and tailback Marcus Lattimore was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches, the SEC office announced Wednesday.
Spurrier guided the Gamecocks to a 9-3 regular season and South Carolina’s first berth in the SEC Championship Game as champions of the Eastern Division. In a season of milestones, Carolina defeated Florida in Gainesville for the first time and has defeated Clemson in consecutive games for the first time since 1968-70. The Gamecocks (9-4) have only won nine games twice before in 117 seasons of football, going 10-2 in 1984 and 9-3 in 2001.
Spurrier earns his ninth league Coach of the Year honor. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989 while head coach at Duke, then earned SEC honors in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1996 at Florida. The 2005 season, his first at South Carolina, also garnered a nod as the league’s top coach.
This year, Spurrier became the second-winningest SEC coach in league games, running his SEC win total to 110 victories after a 5-3 league mark. He broke a tie with Georgia’s Vince Dooley at 105 wins, then passed Mississippi’s John Vaught (106 wins) to move into second place on the all-time league wins chart, behind only legendary Alabama and Kentucky head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Lattimore continues to rake in the awards, earning a consensus nod as the SEC’s top freshman. Earlier in the week, he was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by the Associated Press and the national Freshman of the Year by CBSSports.com.
Heading into the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Lattimore has carried 248 times for 1,198 yards and is third highest in single-season rushing yards at Carolina. Lattimore’s 99.8 yards rushing per game is the highest by a running back in the SEC and second highest in the league among all offensive players. He is also second in the league in scoring with his 19 touchdowns, which is a school record for a single season.
Auburn’s Cam Newton was named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year, while LSU’s Patrick Peterson earned nods as both the Defensive Player of the Year and the Special Teams Player of the Year. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and offensive lineman Lee Ziemba of Auburn was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.