South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp isn’t going anywhere, athletic director Ray Tanner said Friday in a show of support after the Gamecocks’ chances to make a bowl game took a serious hit following a loss to Appalachian State last week.
“Today, I want to make it clear that Will Muschamp is our football coach and will be our coach going forward,” Tanner said in a statement. “President [Robert] Caslen and I are fully supportive of his leadership and his development of student-athletes on and off the field.”
The Gamecocks (4-6) must win at Texas A&M and No. 3 Clemson in their final two games to make their fourth postseason trip under Muschamp, who this summer had touted this group as his deepest, most talented team at the university.
The coach, who has a 26-23 record since taking the job in December 2015, received a contract extension last December that runs through 2024 and pays him $4.4 million this year.
“Coach Muschamp and our staff are dedicated to the success of Gamecock football,” Tanner’s statement said. “They have built a program where our team plays for each other and for our University, and they deserve our support. While we wish the outcome of some of our games would have been different, we are excited about the future of our program.”
The Gamecocks continued to confound last week as they again struggled to make plays on both sides of the ball against Appalachian State.
For the third time in four games, South Carolina was outplayed in the second half of a loss. Appalachian State, which beat North Carolina earlier this season, held off the Gamecocks’ late rally. South Carolina also had been outscored by a combined 45-7 margin in the fourth quarter in losses to Florida and Tennessee.
Caslen also had backed Muschamp earlier this week, though his vote of confidence was specified for this season while leaving any further decision up to Tanner.
“Coach Muschamp is my coach,” the university president said Wednesday. “That’s the message. He will be my coach through the end of the season. And then, just like any other coach that’s out there, whether it’s a soccer coach, whether it’s the equestrian coach, whatever, they’re going to do an end-of-year assessment, the athletic director does. Then, we’ll see what’s up.”