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. 2 Greatest Head Coach of All-Time:
Joe Morrison

Joe Morrison (1983-1988) only led the Gamecocks for six seasons, but he is arguably the most beloved coach to prowl the sidelines at Williams-Brice Stadium. “The Man in Black” was known for his usual all-black attire on gameday and is the only man not named Steve Spurrier to lead Carolina football to three 8-win seasons (Spurrier did so five times).

Part of his belovedness likely comes from taking over for one of the most despised coaches in program history, Richard Bell. Bell was only the Gamecocks’ head coach for one season, but the losing season in 1982 was the program’s first in a while, and his only Division-1 victories that season came against Navy and Pacific. Morrison, on the other hand, beat Southern Cal in his first season in the battle to decide which school was the “real USC.”

Morrison’s best season came in the famed “Black Magic” season of 1984. He led the Gamecocks to a then-record 10 wins, and Carolina was a mind-boggling loss to Navy away from being the potential national champions.

Joe Mo’s career almost ended in scandal, however, as many members of the Gamecock football team got caught up in a widespread steroid issue. Morrison, though, passed away of a heart attack during the offseason between the 1988 and 1989 seasons.

The tradition of the Carolina players entering the field to “2001” began under Joe Morrison. He also popularized using the school’s third color (black) more prominently, so much so that it became the school’s secondary color after garnet, surpassing the color white. His coaching tree from his Gamecock days includes future successful coaches Charlie Weiss and Al Groh.