The search for South Carolina's next head coach finally came to an end.
Will Muschamp takes over after 10-plus years of Steve Spurrier on the sidelines in Columbia. While there is no certainty about how the transition will play out in the long run, we can take a look back at how the first seasons with new head coaches have gone for South Carolina.
Here are the grades for South Carolina last 10 INAUGURAL SEASONS for new head coaches:
1956 (Rex Enright to Warren Giese) / Grade: A
After the Gamecocks went 3-6 in Enright's final year, Warren Giese quickly brought excitement back to the program with an upset with over nationally-ranked Duke in the second game of the 1956 season. The Gamecocks cracked the top-20 twice during the campaign and finished the season with a 7-3 record and a 4-2 mark in the ACC.
1975 (Paul Dietzel to Jim Carlen) / Grade: A-
Dietzel's 1974 team opened the season 0-5, leading to his ouster from the program. The following year, Jim Carlen arrived and led South Carolina to its best start since 1971. The Gamecocks opened the year at 5-1, upsetting 18th-ranked Baylor in early October and climbing to No. 20 in the national polls. South Carolina wrapped up the season at 7-5.
1994 (Sparky Woods to Brad Scott) / Grade: A-
South Carolina failed to build on the momentum from the end of the 1992 season, going 4-7 in 1993. The poor season was Sparky Woods' final year in Columbia. Brad Scott, the offensive coordinator from the reigning national champion Florida State Seminoles, took the Gamecocks to a 4-1 mark in their first five games. Despite losing four of its final six regular season games, South Carolina advanced to the Carquest Bowl and knocked off West Virginia for the program's first bowl win ever.
1989 (Joe Morrison to Sparky Woods) / Grade: B+
Morrison's tragic death following an 8-4 campaign in 1988 left the Gamecocks searching for a coach just days before Signing Day. Sparky Woods was plucked from Appalachian State to lead the program. The Gamecocks got off to a strong start, going 5-1-1 through the first seven games of the season. When senior quarterback Todd Ellis was lost for the season with a knee injury against N.C. State, South Carolina's season turned sour. The Gamecocks lost three of their final four games to finish 6-4-1 on the year.
1983 (Richard Bell to Joe Morrison) / Grade: B
Bell's lone season in Columbia as head coach ended with a 4-7 record. Joe Morrison was brought to South Carolina for the 1983 campaign. The Gamecocks were facing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, but Morrison guided South Carolina to a 5-6 season. The Gamecocks knocked off Southern Cal in October, but dropped their season finale against Clemson and missed the postseason.
2005 (Lou Holtz to Steve Spurrier) / Grade: B-
Lou Holtz's last team at South Carolina missed a bowl because of an ugly brawl with Clemson in the final game of the 2004 regular season. Days after the campaign ended, Steve Spurrier returned to the SEC to lead the Gamecocks. South Carolina sputtered out of the gate, opening the season with just two wins in the first five games. However, a five-game conference winning streak propelled the Gamecocks to a 7-5 overall mark.
1961 (Warren Giese to Marvin Bass) / Grade: C
South Carolina went 3-6-1 in Giese's final season with the Gamecocks. Marvin Bass arrived in 1961 and, after a rocky 1-4 start to begin the year, guided South Carolina to a 4-6 overall record and a 3-4 mark in ACC play. Fortunately for Bass, one of his wins was a 21-14 victory over Clemson.
1999 (Brad Scott to Lou Holtz) / Grade: D
Lou Holtz didn't allow things to get much worse in his first season as South Carolina's head coach. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, that was only because things couldn't get much worse. After losing its final 10 games of the season in 1998 and firing Brad Scott, South Carolina went 0-11 in Holtz's inaugural campaign.
1982 (Jim Carlen to Richard Bell) / Grade: D-
Jim Carlen's final season as head coach ended with a gloomy 6-6 record and no bowl bid for the Gamecocks. Defensive coordinator Richard Bell stepped in for the 1982 campaign, but could not make it work. South Carolina was 3-2 five games into the season, but a home loss to Furman sent the Gamecocks into a tailspin. Bell was relieved of his duties after his team lost five of its final six contests.
1966 (Marvin Bass to Paul Dietzel) / Grade: F
Paul Dietzel had led LSU to a national championship in 1958 and, following a 5-5 record in Marvin Bass's final season, Gamecock fans were hoping Dietzel would take the program to new heights. Instead, Dietzel's first season in Columbia was a disaster. South Carolina went 1-9, with the lone victory of the season coming against N.C. State. The Gamecock offense sputtered all season, scoring 10 or fewer points in seven of the 10 games that year.