After a trio of departures, South Carolina has filled all of the coaching voids on its staff. Here’s a quick look at the entire Gamecocks coaching staff and their duties for the 2012 season.
Linebackers coach Kirk Botkin
Steve Spurrier: Entering his eighth year as head coach at South Carolina, Spurrier has the second-most wins in school history (Rex Enright, 64) with a 55-35 record. He has a college-only coaching record of 197-75-2, which includes stops at Duke and Florida prior to becoming head coach of the Gamecocks.
Spurrier will continue to be the primary play-caller for the Gamecocks. He takes cues from his offensive coaches - Steve Spurrier Jr., Shawn Elliott, and G.A. Mangus - but he has the final say, and that will continue to be the case.
Kirk Botkin: A former All-Southeastern Conference tight end at Arkansas, Botkin joins the South Carolina staff after spending a couple of years at Texas High School. Botkin will coach the linebackers at South Carolina, a position that opened up when former assistant head coach Ellis Johnson took the head coaching job at Southern Miss.
Botkin served as defensive ends coach at Arkansas, his alma mater, for two seasons before head coach Bobby Petrino opted to go in a different direction. He coached defensive end Jake Bequette, who started 17 games under Botkin and developed into an All-American, his first two seasons at Arkansas.
Shawn Elliott: Entering his third season at South Carolina, the offensive line has improved quite a bit under Elliott. He is beginning to stockpile some talent on the offensive line and, even with the departure of three senior starters, the group is set up for success in 2012.
In addition to offensive line coach responsibilities, Elliott is also the run game coordinator. He is the man largely responsible for bringing the zone-read scheme to South Carolina from his days at Appalachian State. Spurrier has credited Elliott on multiple occasions for dialing up the proper run play at just the right time.
Jeep Hunter: Entering his fourth season at South Carolina, Hunter will coach his third different position in three years. He came to Columbia as the tight ends coach where he served for two seasons. In 2011, he moved to the defensive side of the football and took over the safeties. From this point forward he’ll coach the Spurs.
Hunter has proven to be a valuable recruiter in this time of transition. He’s taken on a lot of the prospects in North Carolina after the departure of former running backs coach Jay Graham and will travel to the Northeast at times this month since quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus can’t be on the road.
Special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Joe Robinson
Brad Lawing: In two stints with the Gamecocks, Lawing is entering his 17th season in Columbia. This will be his seventh season this go-around and he’s completely changed the DNA on the defensive line. What was once a position that South Carolina struggled to put four quality players on the field at once has completely changed. The defensive line rolls at least two deep, some would say three, of quality SEC players.
Lawing has shown the ability to develop players, whether they’re two-star projects or five-star, one-in-a-lifetime athletes. He can take middle linebackers and make them All-American ends or raw sleepers who spurn the NFL and stay for their entire career.
G.A. Mangus: A key part of the offensive game-plan designing, Mangus enters his fourth year on the staff as the quarterbacks coach. Under his watch, former quarterback Stephen Garcia developed into one of the top three passers in school history. Now, he’s tutoring rising junior Connor Shaw, who improved dramatically over the stretch run of the 2011 season.
Mangus is also an ace recruiter, landing high-profile players this recruiting cycle such as Jordan Diggs, Kaiwan Lewis, and Brendan Nosovitch. The Georgia native who spent a lot of time in the cold coaching at places like Delaware Valley and Urinus has blazed a trail into the northeast for the Gamecocks on the recruiting trail
Joe Robinson: After spending one season at North Carolina, Robinson comes to South Carolina as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Robinson made his name, in large part, at LSU during the 2008 and 2009 seasons where he tutored players like kicker Colt David and returner Trindon Holliday. He consistently put out some of the best units - both coverage and return-wise - in college football.
He’ll also take over a tight ends position that has a lot of young talent. Rising sophomore Rory Anderson was second on the team with three touchdown catches, rising senior Justice Cunningham is a blue-collar player, and redshirt freshman Drew Owens and incoming prospect Jerell Adams have a tremendous upside.
Everette Sands: A Conway native, Sands comes to South Carolina from North Carolina State as the running backs coach. He spent one year with the Wolfpack but has seven seasons coaching in the college ranks in the Palmetto State after serving in two stints at The Citadel, his alma mater.
Sands was an All-American performer on the field at The Citadel and will also assist in coaching special teams. Sands, who also spent one season at Ohio University coaching defensive backs, is just getting his feet wet in major college football. Sands has two commitments at NCSU this cycle - running back Shadrach Thornton and defensive end Tyler Knox.
Running backs coach Everette Sands
Steve Spurrier Jr.: Entering his eighth season at South Carolina, Spurrier Jr. is a man wearing many hats for the Gamecocks. He is the wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator, and recruiting coordinator. Under his tutelage, the Gamecocks have put three of the school’s all-time leading receivers - Kenny McKinley, Sidney Rice, and Alshon Jeffery - on the field.
The Head Ball Coach is the offensive coordinator, but Spurrier Jr. helps his dad draw some of the pass plays up in the dirt as the passing game coordinator. The aerial attack improved late in the season and finished as the No. 7 pass offense in the Southeastern Conference.
Spurrier Jr. assumed the recruiting coordinator title last spring after the departure of Shane Beamer to Virginia Tech. Spurrier Jr. got the football staff more active in social media and has had the chore of balancing the numbers in a tight 2012 class in which a lot of players want to come to South Carolina.
Lorenzo Ward: It was former defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson that brought Ward to South Carolina in January 2009. Now, with Johnson’s departure, Ward is the new defensive coordinator. He will also coach the entire secondary in what will be his fourth season with the Gamecocks.
Ward will employ the same nickel-base scheme that Johnson did and the same scheme he learned while an assistant coach at Virginia Tech. He’s gone on the record and told the recruits in the 2012 class that he will play a little bit more aggressively on the defensive side of the football.
Ward has also become a key player on the recruiting trail at South Carolina. He landed a handful of top players from Georgia - including four-star offensive lineman Joe Harris and four-star running back Mike Davis - and also played a late, key role in securing Jadeveon Clowney last recruiting cycle.
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