Credit: @USFL

Spurrier Reminisces about Bandits

As the USFL starts to get back on its feet after its opening weekend, Steve Spurrier reminisces about his time as head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits.

Becoming the Bandits Head Coach

Back in 1983, John Bassett, owner of the team, searched for a head coach to lead his team to victory.

At the time, Spurrier worked for Duke University as the Offensive Coordinator.  His offense ranked fourth in the nation, and Duke’s team started to attract national attention. As a result, Spurrier caught the attention of Tom McEwen and who told Bassett that he should look into hiring Spurrier.

Originally, Bassett wanted to hire Spurrier as the Offensive Coordinator, but he declined the offer. He told Bassett that he already held that title at Duke, but if he wanted him to move he needed the title of head ball coach.

In the end, Bassett hired Spurrier as the head coach.

Bandits’ Performance

At the start of the season, people’s outlook on the team was not good. However, Spurrier and his team started the season 4-0 and became Tampa Bay’s favorite team. His team included quarterback John Reeves and running back Gary Anderson.

The Buccaneers did not play well enough to attract people to their games, but because the Bandits played well they attracted almost 40,000 fans to games.

In their second season, Spurrier said he believed they played the best and coached the best offense he has ever had. They ended the season 14-4.

After the league came to an end in 1985, Spurrier said he felt very grateful for them allowing him the opportunity to be a head coach. This opportunity allowed him to head coach for the next 31 years.

Thoughts on the USFL Comeback

This league gives men that want to play professional football a chance. It also gave coaches and players out of work the ability to gain experience.

For the leagues to stay in business, they need individual ownership like USFL. Not only does individual ownership need to happen, but salary caps need to be put in place as well.

About Molly Cooper

Molly is a fourth-year journalism major specializing in sports and media and working on a certificate in sports management at the University of Florida.

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