South Carolina Football: A former Gamecock coach is joining the Clemson Tigers

Former South Carolina football assistant coach and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is joining the Clemson Tigers' staff as an off-field analyst.
Former South Carolina football assistant Lorenzo Ward
Former South Carolina football assistant Lorenzo Ward / Matt Stone/Louisville Courier Journal

South Carolina football fans remember many things fondly from the Steve Spurrier era in Columbia. Prior to the less-than-ideal way that things ended for the Head Ball Coach in garnet and black, most of the memories from the early 2010s are great ones.

From 2010-2013, the Gamecocks won the SEC East and then had three 11-win seasons in a row that included a top-4 overall finish to the 2013 season. Given the history of the South Carolina football program, this stretch certainly qualifies as a great example of "the good ole days" in Columbia.

One of the not-so-great memories during that time, though, came when Spurrier replaced outgoing defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson with Lorenzo Ward. Ward had shared the title with Johnson for a few years, but Johnson handled all play-calling duties and most of the game-planning work. After an unsuccessful stint leading the Gamecock defense and stops with Fresno State, Louisville, and Chattanooga, Ward has landed a new job.

In a rarely seen move, the former Gamecock assistant coach is now on staff with the rival Clemson Tigers. According to a report from David Hood of, Lorenzo Ward will be a special assistant to the head coach on Dabo Swinney's off-field staff. The move had been rumored for the past several weeks but is now official.

Ward took over full-time DC duties in Columbia when Ellis Johnson became the head coach at Southern Miss ahead of the 2012 season. Many didn't notice much of a difference immediately as the Gamecocks had so much talent on the defense in 2012 and 2013 (led by players like Jadeveon Clowney) that they were still one of the country's top units.

After that NFL talent graduated or went off to the NFL, the Gamecock defense really struggled, dropping from a top-15 national scoring defense from 2011-2013 to outside the top-90 in 2014. The Carolina D was almost as bad in 2015 when Ward had help from NFL veteran Jon Hoke.

Now with the Tigers, Lorenzo Ward will be on the other side of the Palmetto State's fierce rivalry.

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