Former Florida football coach Steve Spurrier is taking a leave of absence as the school’s ambassador for the athletic department to coach in the newly formed Alliance of American Football, which debuts February 9, 2019.
Spurrier will coach the Orlando franchise, the league announced Saturday morning.
“I know Coach is excited to have the opportunity to coach football again for a couple months out of the year. He will take some time away from his duties while he coaches but will remain on our staff and continue to serve as an ambassador for the Gators after the season,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin told the school’s website. “We couldn’t be happier for Coach and Jerri and look forward to seeing him on the sideline again.”
Spurrier spoke on the CBS This Morning show, “The new rules I really liked. Two and a half hour games, 30 seconds in between plays and the fans want to see that… In life, we all need a challenge.”
The Alliance is the creation of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian and longtime TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol. The league plans to have eight teams and will play a 12-week season Feb. 9 and will be broadcast on CBS.
Orlando is the first planned team site, and Spurrier is the first coach.
The 72-year-old Spurrier says he’s “fired up and ready to go.”
Orlando has never had much success with startup football leagues.
The Florida Blazers lasted only one season in the ill-fated World Football League during the 1970s, followed by several other short-lived teams: The Orlando Renegades of the United States Football League, the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football, the Orlando Rage of the infamous XFL, and the Florida Tuckers of the United Football League.
Spurrier coached collegiately at Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001) and South Carolina (2005-2015). The 1966 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback also coached the NFL’s Washington Redskins (2002-03).
He is the fourth person to be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.