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South Carolina's Elliott only undefeated interim coach

October 20, 2015 at 8:55 a.m.
South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott charges up his players before an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

NEW YORK (AP) - Shawn Elliott shook hands, high-fived and fist-bumped fans as he made his way into Williams-Brice Stadium during the Gamecock Walk early Saturday afternoon. When he exited in the evening, he had shouted himself hoarse and joined his players in a celebratory dance in the locker room.

In between, South Carolina won its first Southeastern Conference game, 19-10 over Vanderbilt, to start the post-Steve Spurrier era.

Elliott was among four interim coaches appointed last week. He's the only one to win his debut so far.

North Texas' Mike Canales lost 55-28 at Western Kentucky on Thursday, and Southern California's Clay Helton lost 41-31 at Notre Dame on Saturday night. Maryland had an open date, so Mike Locksley will coach his first game this Saturday against Penn State at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

No one can dispute Elliott's passion for his new job, but that doesn't change the fact he's in charge of a flawed team. The Gamecocks (3-4, 1-4) rank at or near the bottom of the SEC in the major statistical categories and play their next two games on the road against Texas A&M and Tennessee. Elliott wasn't looking for style points against Vandy; just a win.

Spurrier, who resigned last week, wasn't on hand. He was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, appearing as the "guest picker" on ESPN's College Gameday show before the Michigan State-Michigan game. Yes, Spurrier picked the Gamecocks.

Athletic director Ray Tanner presented a game ball to Elliott in the locker room.

"I do know one thing," Elliott told the players, "and coach Tanner may not like this, but this whole team deserves a game ball. Every last one of you, because without every last one of us in this room, nothing would have been possible tonight."


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