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Will Muschamp agrees to become South Carolina coach

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Former Florida coach Will Muschamp will get a second chance in the Southeastern Conference after agreeing to take over South Carolina’s football program.

A person with direct knowledge of the decision said Muschamp will be the Gamecocks’ next coach and hopefully bring some stability to a program after Steve Spurrier resigned in midseason.

The person said Muschamp could be introduced as early as Monday. The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized and the hire has not been announced.

The 44-year-old Muschamp spent this past season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator after being fired as coach of the Gators. He is the second straight Florida coach to hold South Carolina’s permanent job, following Spurrier, who left in mid-October after 10-plus seasons in Columbia.

University of South Carolina Trustees scheduled a 9 a.m. meeting Monday with the lone agenda item, “Athletics Employment Contract.” School trustees are required to approve all contracts over $250,000.

Muschamp spent four seasons with the Gators, leading them to an 11-3 season in 2012. But he was just 10-13 the next two seasons and was let go by Florida. Muschamp said then that Florida’s next coach would inherit a big-time roster and was proven correct as Jim McElwain led the Gators to the SEC Eastern Division crown in his first season.

Spurrier believed South Carolina’s players needed a change from his style. They’ll have one in the fiery Muschamp, nicknamed “Coach Boom.”

Just last month, Muschamp drew a 15-yard penalty in Auburn’s Iron Bowl loss to Alabama for yelling at officials, who had called a Tiger defender for a late hit. Muschamp’s competitiveness was on display for TV cameras and social media posters to see and showcase.

Muschamp’s hiring caps a strange period in Gamecock football. Spurrier’s departure halfway through the season was stunning. Interim coach Shawn Elliott won his debut as coach, carrying Spurrier’s visor onto the field. But Elliott, interviewed formally by athletics director Ray Tanner, lost the team’s final games including a defeat to FCS opponent Citadel.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez turned down an offer to become South Carolina’s head coach, said a Twitter post Saturday night from Arizona athletics director Greg Byrne.

“Great news! @CoachRodAZ did not commit to the offer from S. Carolina. He’s an Arizona Wildcat. #BearDown,” Byrne tweeted.

Muschamp has also been coach-in-waiting at Texas in the final years of Mack Brown before bolting for the Florida job. He also coached under Nick Saban at LSU and was the Tigers defensive coordinator in 2003 when they won the BCS championship.

South Carolina players spoke out Sunday on social media.

Quarterback Perry Orth posted, “Alright Coach Muschamp, let’s ride,” on Twitter.

Defensive lineman Bryson Allen-Williams also welcomed Muschamp on Twitter, “First guy to offer me a scholarship is now my headcoach, welcome to the family @CoachWMuschamp.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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