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Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp announced as South Carolina’s next head coach

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

South Carolina tweeted out the official announcement that Will Muschamp is the football program's next coach.
South Carolina tweeted out the official announcement that Will Muschamp is the football program's next coach.

South Carolina ended speculation surrounding its coaching search Sunday afternoon in announcing on the team’s official Twitter account that Will Muschamp accepted an offer to become the program’s new head coach.

“It’s official! Introducing our new Head Coach, Will Muschamp! #Gamecocks” the tweet said.

On the heels of the announcement, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn issued a short statement wishing Muschamp well. 

"I really appreciate Coach Muschamp’s hard work and dedication for our program at Auburn this past year and wish him nothing but the best with his new job. I will begin a search immediately for our next defensive coordinator."

The 44-year-old Muschamp is expected to be introduced in Columbia, South Carolina Monday. The school’s trustees are meeting at 9 a.m. with one item on the agenda — an athletics employment contract.

Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel was the first to announce Muschamp had ‘agreed in principal’ with the school late Saturday night.

It capped a wild 48 hours that had South Carolina interviewing a long list of candidates and extend an offer to Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced on Twitter that Rodriguez rejected the offer to stay with the Wildcats.

Muschamp appears comfortable with being South Carolina’s backup option to replace longtime coach Steve Spurrier. Spurrier stepped down in October after a 2-4 start.

The Gamecocks finished the season 3-9 under interim coach Shawn Elliott.

Auburn’s now former defensive coordinator leaves the Plains for his second head coaching opportunity. Muschamp went 28-21 in four seasons with the Gators.

He signed a lucrative three-year deal with Auburn worth $5.1 million in May, but the contract allowed him to leave the Auburn without penalty following the end of the regular season as long as the Tigers weren’t playing in the SEC Championship game.

Muschamp’s departure means Auburn will be searching for a fifth defensive coordinator in six years.

Auburn (6-6; 2-6 SEC) finished the regular season with the second worst overall defensive in the SEC having allowed 421.8 yards per game and 11th in scoring defense giving up 27.3 points per game.

According to reports, Auburn’s secondary coach Travaris Robinson is following Muschamp out the door.

The State newspaper expects the Auburn alum to be named South Carolina’s defensive coordinator. Robinson was an assistant on both Muschamp’s staffs at Florida and Auburn.

A handful of Tigers’ players reacted to the news on their social media accounts Sunday expressing their appreciation for the time they spent with the coaches.

“No regrets from me,” Auburn defensive back Carlton Davis. “Happy to have been a student to one of the best defensive minds in football . Thank you for everything Champ and Trob.”

Auburn’s defensive leader Carl Lawson echoed the freshman’s thoughts.

“Really learned a lot from Champ and T rob while they were here,” the linebacker tweeted. “Appreciate what you guys have done.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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