At last, Florida’s football stadium will pay homage to the man who gave it its nickname- and its aura of dominance.
UF has decided to rename its home turf “Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium,” in honor of the legendary Gator player and coach. The Gators will formally honor Spurrier before the 2016 opener against Massachusetts, where they will make the name change official.
In the summer of 1992, Spurrier, aka SOS and the Head Ball Coach, pitched the idea that the Gators’ home field be named “The Swamp,” since alligators live in swamps. The idea was to make Florida’s turf a place where “only Gators get out alive,” and it worked. Spurrier posted an incredible 68-5 record at home during his memorable 12 year tenure as Head Gator, and as the wins kept piling up, the name stuck. Florida Field was known simply as The Swamp since he made his proposal, and it likely forever will be.
But now the school’s football stadium has a more appropriate official name, and in truth, renaming the field itself in Spurrier’s honor seemed like a gesture that was far overdue. Not only did Spurrier guide Florida to its first ever national title, but he also won the school’s first Heisman Trophy in 1966 and coached the Gators to six SEC Championships. And you know, set the bar for excellence that coaches either match, (Jim McElwain so far) exceed (Urban Meyer) or fail to match (Ron Zook and Will Muschamp) and get promptly run out of town. It’s Spurrier who created the image of Florida football being a national power, and over the last 20 years, it’s hard to argue that there’s been a more dominant program not named Alabama.
What better way to recognize all that than by attaching his name to the field he nicknamed, and then turned into one of the game’s most feared atmospheres to play in?