by UofSC ATHLETICS
Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors a football coach who led his team to a significant victory during the previous week, while also embodying the award's three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
Muschamp and his South Carolina Gamecocks arrived in Athens as three-touchdown underdogs, but pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, taking down No. 3 Georgia in double overtime 20-17. Despite being down to their third-string quarterback after losing starter Ryan Hilinski to an injury in the third quarter, the Gamecocks secured the victory behind a stifling defensive effort that was led by Israel Mukuamu's three interceptions, including his 53-yard return for a touchdown right before the half.
The upset victory for the Gamecocks ties for the second-best in program history, trailing only their win against No. 1 Alabama in 2010 and matching a 1981 win at No. 3 North Carolina. It's South Carolina's first victory over a top-five team since defeating No. 5 Missouri in double overtime in 2013, and it's the program's first win over a ranked opponent since 2016.
"Coach Muschamp and his team pulled off what was arguably the biggest upset of the year to date," said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. "It's quite an accomplishment to go on the road into a hostile environment against a top-three team and win, especially after losing your starting quarterback. Coach Dodd would have admired his team's perseverance to overcome so much adversity and secure a program-defining victory."
Muschamp is in the midst of his fourth season with the South Carolina program. Previously, his collegiate head coaching experience came at Florida from 2011-2014, with a year as Auburn's defensive coordinator in between his time in Gainesville and Columbia. In his first three seasons as South Carolina's head coach, he recorded more wins (22) than any coach in school history, and is also the first head coach to take the Gamecocks to bowl games in each of his first three seasons.
Since arriving in Columbia, Muschamp has not only generated success on the field, but he has similarly transformed the academic success of the football program as well. Under his leadership, he has increased the team's Academic Progress Rate (APR), a metric that measures a program's performance in the classroom year-over-year, from 947 his first year to 979 in 2018.
Muschamp and the Gamecocks are also very involved in the community. Many student-athletes participate in the Sandstorm Buddy Program at Prisma Health Children's Hospital. Started by walk-on linebacker Spencer Eason-Riddle, the program allows student-athletes with the opportunity to interact and engage with pediatric patients.
Coach Muschamp is involved in the South Carolina Coaches for Charity program, an organization that includes all of the Division One football coaches in South Carolina and gets them involved in various causes around the state. Muschamp also sponsors the Edgewood Foundation Center, a nonprofit organization committed to educating, equipping and empowering the citizens of the Edgewood Community in South Carolina.
"Having someone like coach Muschamp leading the team has already paid significant dividends for South Carolina," said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. "He really cares about impacting the players holistically and making them better men and football players. The ability to fight through adversity and the team unity of the coaching staff and players were evident this weekend in the double overtime victory."
The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award - celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The winner of the 2019 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during bowl week for this year's College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.