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Spurrier gets raise to $4M per year

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's Steve Spurrier has received a one-year contract extension and a raise that will pay the coach $4 million annually.

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The university board of trustees approved a $700,000 raise and the extension Thursday. The deal ties Spurrier to the school through 2018. If the 68-year-old coach decides to retire, the trustees voted for a contract clause that would make Spurrier a special assistant to university President Harris Pastides and athletic director Ray Tanner.

With the raise, Spurrier becomes one of the top 10 highest-paid college football coaches in the country.

Spurrier's nine assistant coaches also received raises that put their combined compensation at $3.3 million, up from the $2.7 the group earned this past season.

All assistants were given new two-year contract agreements except for defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who received a three-year deal. Also earning a raise was quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus, whose salary was frozen for a year after his arrest for urinating in public. Mangus' salary increased $100,000 to $275,000.

Ward will be the highest-paid assistant at $750,000, a $100,000 raise. The biggest boost came for offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, who saw his compensation rise from $305,000 to $430,000 next fall.

Spurrier thanked Pastides, Tanner and the board for the new contracts and raises.

''We all hope to coach here many more years and we still have some goals that have not been accomplished yet,'' he said.

Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a third-straight 11-2 season. Before he arrived in 2004, South Carolina had only one 10-win season in history.

''It was a fun year. I tell you what, our players found a way to win all these games,'' Spurrier said. ''We didn't clobber a lot of people. These guys know how to play in the fourth quarter.''

Tanner said he talked with Spurrier about the new deals shortly after South Carolina's 31-17 victory over Clemson on Nov. 30 - the Gamecocks' record-setting fifth straight over their rivals.

Spurrier was most concerned about making sure his assistants were adequately compensated, Tanner said.

The coach talked about raises on his call-in show Wednesday night, saying Tanner ''has done a super job of (saying), `Hey, what's right and how can we aligned in the SEC competitive wise with coaches salaries?' The president and from what I am hearing the Board of Trustees think that keeps us where we should be.''

It would also mean be the first time in Spurrier's nine seasons the assistants he finished one season with all returned for the next one.

Tanner, the two-time national championship baseball coach turned head administrator, said it was his thought to add the clause about Spurrier remaining with the school after he leaves as football coach. Spurrier told Tanner he has enjoyed living in Columbia and planned to stay when his time on the field was finished.

The post-football position is based on Spurrier maintaining a residence in town and either Pastides or Tanner remaining in their current positions.

Tanner stressed the special assistant spot was not an exit strategy for Spurrier, who'll be 73 should he stay for the length of the deal.

''Age is just a number,'' Tanner said.

Right now, leaving the field seems as far from Spurrier's mind as possible. Spurrier has said he didn't plan on coaching into his 80s like Florida State's Bobby Bowden and the late Joe Paterno at Penn State, and the Capital One Bowl victory over Wisconsin was his 300th game as a college coach. Still, the school's all-time wins leader said he's excited about the success the team has had the past few years and anxious to see what else they can achieve.

''If you continue doing what you did in your 50s, then the age factor doesn't kick in,'' Spurrier said on his radio show. ''It doesn't kick in until you don't know what you are doing. Hopefully, I still know what is happening out there.''

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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