ORLANDO, Fla. - Head coach Steve Spurrier decided he didn’t want to wait until after the bowl game to hire a replacement for Ellis Johnson. While he’s had the defensive coordinator title, Lorenzo Ward officially became head of the defense on Tuesday.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier named Lorenzo Ward (pictured) the full-time defensive coordinator.
Spurrier announced after the team’s 45 minute conditioning session that Ward would take over as full-time defensive coordinator and he will take Johnson’s role as leader of the defense.
Spurrier and Ward will turn their attention, after the bowl game, to hiring a linebackers coach to replace Johnson.
“We don’t have an interim defensive coordinator anymore. We have a full-time,” Spurrier said. “He’s the best guy I could hire, and that’s why I’ve hired him. He knows what I want to do. We think almost exactly alike defensively. We’ve talked a lot of defense over the last three years and he knows how to coach it. We agree on how to coach it, and he’s going to be our guy, hopefully, for several years.
“He’s our full-time guy as we go through our bowl game, next year, and so forth. He’s our full-time guy.”
Spurrier said that the contract situation would be worked out after the bowl game. Whether or not Ward will become the assistant head coach, another title Johnson held, is still to be determined.
“It’s a blessing that coach Spurrier feels the way he does about me. I’m excited about it,” Ward said. “Coach Spurrier announced it to the team just a few seconds ago and they were excited. It made me feel good the players wanted me to have this particular title.”
Ward was informed of Spurrier’s decision this morning by phone call prior to the team’s departure for the Capital One Bowl. Spurrier then announced to the team once the conditioning session finished that Ward was going to be the full-time coordinator.
Ward said that he will coach the team from the box, instead of on the sidelines in the bowl game.
Ward couldn’t given any concrete information but he did say that he “felt good” about Jadeveon Clowney and C.C. Whitlock and where they are with the NCAA.