, Florida (PressExposure) May 06, 2009 -- The University of Florida has a rich history concerning their football program. However, the team went decades without winning a national championship and the fans in Gainesville became restless when they saw conference and state rivals winning national titles before they had. When former Heisman trophy winning quarterback Steve Spurrier returned to coach his alma mater, he had one goal and that was to bring a national title to the University of Florida.
Steve Spurrier played quarterback at Florida in the mid 1960's and won the Heisman trophy in 1966. He was also a two time All-American while playing football at Florida. Spurrier was known for his high powered offense and during his early coaching career; he took over as head coach for the Duke Blue Devils. Duke was known for having a poor football program; however Spurrier changed the culture during his short time at Duke. He was ACC coach of the year in 1988 and 1989 and also led them to the ACC championship in 1989. He left Duke for an offer with the Florida Gators following the 1989 season.
Spurrier went to work quickly and helped revive the program following a period of scandals in which they had to vacate conference championships and victories from the previous six seasons. He led the team to a conference title in his first season, but it was vacated due to these scandals. He led the team to their first officially recognized conference championship in 1991. The Gators would go on to win four of the next five SEC Championships and represented the SEC East in the first four SEC Championship games. It was becoming quite apparent that Spurrier awakened a sleeping giant and his ability to recruit players to Gainesville was his biggest strength. He regularly had classes ranked in the Top 10 nationally ever year he was head coach at Florida.
The team's biggest breakthrough came in 1996, when Spurrier led the team to a 12-1 record and a national title after ending the season avenging their only loss by beating Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl. This was the first national championship in school history and had established Florida as one of the premier programs in all of college football. Spurrier is by far the greatest head coach in Florida history and possibly SEC history. He changed the way that teams in the conference played offense as he instituted one of the highest powered offenses in the history in college football. In fact, he is the only coach to lead a team to 500 points in offense for four straight seasons. His achievements at the University of Florida almost seem endless, however there are a few that definitely stand out more than any other and they include six SEC titles, 6-time SEC Coach of the Year, won at least nine games in each of his 12 seasons at Florida, one of only three coaches in college football history to achieve that, averaged 10 wins per season, ranked in the top 15 nationally in each of his 12 seasons at Florida, including nine Top 10 finishes, five Top 5 finishes. His teams were also ranked in the Top 25 for 202 consecutives, with the only week not being ranked in the Top 25 coming in his first week on the job. He also led the team to a bowl game in each of his last 11 seasons, with the only season not playing in a bowl game came during the his first year when the school was on probation.