The greatest coach in South Carolina football history is Steve Spurrier. The greatest coach in Florida football history is also probably Steve Spurrier. He is also the most entertaining coach in college football history (shout out to Lane Kiffin for trying to be next on the list). So, when he speaks on matters in the SEC, people listen.
On the Paul Finebaum Show on Thursday, Spurrier was asked about his thoughts on Nick Saban's retirement and the Crimson Tide's pursuit of a new coach. The visor-clad Head Ball Coach didn't mince words.
"Paul, I don't know. I would hate to recommend that a guy go take it. You can't do as well as the coach before you. You're not going to do that well."
Spurrier knows a thing or two about "following the guy" as his successors at both Florida and South Carolina eventually were run out of town for not measuring up to the increased expectations created by Spurrier's success.
After winning at least 9 games in every season (and winning at least 10 games 9 out of 12 years), Spurrier left Florida, and Ron Zook only last 3 seasons in which he never made it to that 9-win mark. After the HBC led South Carolina football to its best stretch in program history, Will Muschamp followed Spurrier and was fired after winning just 6 combined games in his final two seasons.
Being the coach that follows a legend is never easy. In his 25 years at Alabama, Paul "Bear" Bryant never had a losing season and had won 4 of the last 6 SEC titles and had double-digit wins in 4 of his last 6 years. It took Ray Perkins just two years to have a losing campaign, and he never won a conference championship. After Bill Curry and Gene Stallings returned the Crimson Tide to prominence, Mike Dubose was just 1 game over .500 in Tuscaloosa.
Following Nick Saban, especially in the era of the transfer portal and NIL (meaning Alabama could be in a "hole" after losing a lot of talent off its current roster), could be the hardest challenge of them all. Under the GOAT, the Crimson Tide won 6 National Championships, 9 SEC titles,10 SEC West trophies, and at least one postseason game (SEC Championship Game, Bowl Game, or College Football Playoff Game) every year since 2014.
Alabama is the greatest college football program in the history of the sport, but like Coach Spurrier said, being the next coach in Tuscaloosa will be a daunting task because "you can't do as well as the coach before you."