Sparky Woods Appointed Head Grid Coach at South Carolina

From Associated Press

Appalachian State coach Sparky Woods was named the new head football coach at South Carolina today, ending a search that began just over two weeks ago after the sudden death of Joe Morrison.

"If your goal is to be the best and reach the top, then I think it's here," Woods said after being introduced as the school's new head coach at a news conference today.

Woods, who was told late Monday afternoon by Athletic Director King Dixon that he was the choice to replace Morrison, said he plans to meet with the Gamecock players and the assistant coaches left on the staff as soon as possible.

"I'm thrilled to be the head coach at the University of South Carolina. I'm very sorry that it occurred because of the death of coach Morrison. But I'm excited about carrying on with the tradition of winning that he has established here," Woods said.

University President James B. Holderman said he was impressed with Woods.

"I think he's got a fire in his stomach. He's got a lot of enthusiasm," Holderman said.

Dixon said the terms of Woods' contract have not been decided but the athletic director said he expects it to be a five-year deal.

While Woods was officially introduced at the news conference, his hiring was less than a well-kept secret. Several news organizations, including the Associated Press and the state's largest newspapers, had already reported that Woods would be hired.

Woods guided the I-AA Mountaineers to Southern Conference titles in 1986 and 1987 and was named the league's coach of the year an unprecedented three straight times, beginning in 1985.

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