Swamp renamed to honor the legendary Steve Spurrier
Published on Friday, 6/10/16, at 5:56 p.m. Eastern.
The University of Florida announced Thursday that it is changing the name of its football field to honor Steve Spurrier, the greatest head football coach and one of the greatest players in school history.
Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy as UF’s quarterback (and occasional kicker) in 1966. Then in 1990, he was hired as the new head coach when the Gators had never won an SEC title (other than in 1984 and ’85 when it finished first in the standings but didn’t qualify to win the championship due to NCAA penalties).
Spurrier won six SEC titles (seven if you count finishing first in ’90 when it again didn’t qualify due to NCAA penalties) during his 12-year tenure. The greatest night in Florida football history came on Jan. 2 in 1997 at the New Orleans Superdome, where the Gators smashed arch-rival FSU by a 52-20 count to win their first national title in school history.
During Spurrier’s 12 seasons, he coached another Heisman Trophy winner in Danny Wuerffel (’96). He dubbed Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, ‘The Swamp,’ where only Gators get out alive. UF lost only five home games on Spurrier’s watch by 25 combined points.
Spurrier said, “I am humbled, honored, thankful and very appreciative that my alma mater, the University of Florida, believes that I am worthy and deserving to have my name placed on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also known as ‘The Swamp.’ The Swamp is a special place. Us coaches and players thoroughly enjoyed playing in front of our fans. We won a bunch of them there and only lost five and they were close ones. I also met my wife, Jerri Starr, at the University of Florida. She has been a tremendous influence on everything I’ve done since. Again, I say thanks to all of those who made this honor possible and I consider this to be the biggest, most special honor I have ever received.”
The venue will now be known as Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Spurrier will be honored before UF’s season opener against Massachusetts on Sept. 3.