Their son, Steve Spurrier Jr., an assistant coach with the Redskins, warned her that this job was different. "This one is real tough," he told her.
Now Jerri looks back and says of her husband of 38 years, "He didn't know what to do."
The Spurriers' younger son, Scotty, recalls, "It wasn't fun times around the house, I can tell you that much."
Steve now admits that for the first time in his life, he just quit. "Toward the middle of that second year I was like Jo Dee Messina and her song My Give a Damn's Busted. Toward the end there, my give a damn was busted. This is not the way I ever coached. I even turned over the play-calling to one of the offensive assistants, Hue Jackson. I let him call the plays there for several games, and then I'd come back and call some, and then I'd say, 'Why don't you call them this week?' And so we went back and forth. I'm not proud of what happened, but there it is."
Upon resigning the Redskins job in December 2003, Spurrier had hoped to move back to Florida, to the family's beach house in St. Augustine. Instead, after talking it over with Scotty, then 17, Spurrier agreed to stay in Northern Virginia so that his son could finish his high school career at Loudon County High, where he was a starting wide receiver. The family moved from the Redskins-owned four-bedroom house at Beacon Hill Golf Club to a rental house in Hamilton, where Spurrier divided his time between golf, watching Scotty at football practice, sitting on the deck, waiting for the sun to set and doing ... nothing.
Sometimes things don't work out, and you end up here, in suburban Virginia, wondering what's for lunch. Career consultants call it "reloading" or "recharging." You're supposed to take this opportunity to learn new marketable skills, brush up your r�sum�, but what was Steve Spurrier supposed to do? Study Chinese?
"It's no fun to do nothing," says Jerri, "when you're used to going a million."
Spurrier began playing golf frequently with Redskins team dentist Charles Nardiello, until the dentist finally had to tell him, "Coach, I can't play every day. I gotta work."
By the time Mike McGee, then the athletic director at South Carolina, called last October to inquire if Steve might be interested in succeeding Lou Holtz, who was planning to retire, Jerri was thinking, Please, please, take it. "I just wanted him to do something," says Jerri, "He wasn't getting any better at golf. And the kitchen was getting awfully small."
McGee flew up to Dulles in October for preliminary talks. Before his second trip to Virginia, he told Spurrier he wanted to make him an offer, a package worth about $1.25 million a year. "We made that deal without agents or anything--just like that," Spurrier says.