South Carolina Football: Ranking the top Gamecock head coaches of all-time

A list of the greatest head coaches in the history of the South Carolina football program

Legendary coach Lou Holtz coached several stout defenses during his time in Columbia.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Chapman-USA TODAY Sports(©) Copyright 2004 by Paul Chapman
Legendary coach Lou Holtz coached several stout defenses during his time in Columbia.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Chapman-USA TODAY Sports(©) Copyright 2004 by Paul Chapman /
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South Carolina Football’s No. 7 Greatest Head Coach of All-Time:
Warren Giese

The shortest-tenured coach on this list, Warren Giese (1956-1960) was the first head coach in Gamecock history to win seven games more than once in his tenure. Giese also led Carolina to AP top-25 rankings in three of his five seasons, including a final ranking of 15th in 1958.

At just 31, Giese became the youngest head coach in the collegiate ranks when Rex Enright hired him to be his own replacement as the headman for South Carolina football. He was known for employing a “ball-control offense” that sought to pound the other team into submission with the running game, preventing opponents from gaining a rhythm on offense. “The other team can’t score if it does not have the football” was his offensive motto.

During his time at Carolina, Giese fought for reform to substitution rules, allowing for future Gamecock coach Paul Dietzel to revolutionize the sport with his “platoons.” He also pushed for special teams specialists to kick, punt, and snap so that offensive and defensive players could concentrate on their duties in the other two phases of the game.

Despite never having a losing record in his first four seasons (a rare feat for the Fighting Gamecocks), Giese was fired after a losing season in 1960 but stayed at the school as a professor. He eventually became a state senator, serving the Palmetto State for over 20 years.