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
Legendary coach Lou Holtz coached South Carolina football from 1999-2004.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Chapman-USA TODAY Sports (©) Copyright 2004 by Paul Chapman /

South Carolina Football’s No. 4 Greatest Head Coach of All-Time:
Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz (1999-2004) was only the head coach of the Gamecocks for six seasons, but he took over a program that had been run into the ground for a decade by a steroid scandal at the end of the Joe Morrison era and the misguided leadership of athletic director King Dixon and head coaches Sparky Woods and Brad Scott.

After a tough first season in which Carolina didn’t win a game, Holtz led the Gamecocks to (at the time) the biggest single-season turnaround in college football history. South Carolina football won 8 games in the 2000 season and drastically changed the national perception and expectations that surrounded the program, setting the stage for the heights reached during Steve Spurrier’s time in garnet and black.

The 2000 turnaround and 2001 follow-up marked the best two-year stretch in South Carolina football history at the time as the Gamecocks won 17 games. The 9 victories in 2001 were the second-best total for the program behind only 1984’s 10 games.

After an ugly brawl prematurely ended the 2004 season, Holtz resigned, a move that had been in the works for months. Something else that was in the works for months was the Holtz-led recruitment of Steve Spurrier to take over the head coaching gig for the Gamecocks. Holtz changed the program so that Spurrier could elevate it.