UA’s new football assistant wants to escape from his father’s shadow.
By JOHN MOREDICH
Don’t expect new University of Arizona football tight end coach Steve Spurrier Jr. to jump ship and leave if his famous father gets a head coaching job again any time soon.
The son of Steve Spurrier, the former coach at Florida and the Washington Redskins, said he is trying to make a name for himself.
He gets that opportunity with the Wildcats after officially being named a new assistant on Monday and then meeting with a large contingent of the media yesterday.
“Sometimes you get stuck with the impression that he is the only guy you can coach for,” Spurrier Jr. said. “Honestly, I would like to avoid that. The years that I have worked with him are great. I have learned a lot. I enjoyed working with him and coaching with him. Professionally it is almost better if I didn’t coach for him.”
He was with his father at Florida from 1994-98 before rejoining him with the Washington Redskins from 2002-03.
The son was not actively looking for a job. He was preparing to finish work on an MBA after his father unexpectedly quit the Redskins.
“I talked to a lot of people in the offseason. The majority of the people told me, ‘I think your father is going to coach next year and you will go with him,’ ” Spurrier Jr. said. “It was frustrating and tough for a little while. I was going to wait until December to see what happens.”
The younger Spurrier served as an offensive graduate assistant for three years, was a video assistant for another and a special teams/offensive coach his final year at Florida.
Spurrier Jr. was wide receivers coach with the Redskins.
In between his years with his father, he was wide receivers coach at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops, the older brother of UA coach Mike Stoops.
Rumors had Spurrier Jr. and Mike Stoops hooking up in December, but reports were premature until a couple of weeks ago, when the two agreed unofficially to join ranks.
“People kept telling me that,” Spurrier Jr. said of the rumors. “I was not sure really why. There were a lot of rumors swirling around. We really never talked much about that.”
After Spurrier Jr.’s name surfaced, buzz started about two of the bigger names in coaching joining ranks.
The 33-year tight end coach was the center of attention yesterday with his own press conference, something not necessary with the rest of Stoops’ hires.
“There is a lot of excitement for a tight end coach,” Spurrier Jr. said, joking. “I thought there would be one or two people asking questions.
“The name brings a lot of attention and people are curious about my name more than they are who the new tight end coach is here.”
Expect Spurrier Sr. to watch closely as UA rebuilds its program.
Spurrier Jr. was told to find a place with room because the father will come here for a few games.
“He has a little time to kill,” the son said.
Spurrier Jr., raised under a huge football emphasis, brings with him two national championships: Florida in 1996 and Oklahoma in 2000.
The former walk-on receiver at Duke, who eventually started two seasons, admits a little adjustment is needed with him working with wide receivers and now tight ends.
“There will be some things with the offensive line and protections, things in the trenches that will be different for me. I will be prepared. I feel qualified to work with those guys.”
PHOTO CAPTION: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson Citizen
UA’s tight end coach Steve Spurrier Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference yesterday.