Steve Spurrier announced as first head coach of new spring football league

Steve Spurrier is returning to the sideline as a head coach — but not at the college level.

It was announced Saturday morning that Spurrier, the longtime head coach at Florida and South Carolina, will be the head coach of the Orlando-based franchise of the newly formed Alliance of American Football, a professional league that will debut Feb. 9, 2019, a week after the Super Bowl.

The Orlando team has not been named yet. Other cities involved with the eight-team league, which will play a 10-week season and already has a television contract with CBS, will be unveiled in the coming days. The league was co-founded by Charlie Ebersol, the son of NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol, and involves former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers players Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward, among others.

“What first captured my attention was Charlie and Bill’s commitment to putting top-flight, professional football on the field and creating a true alliance between fans, players and the game,” Spurrier said. “The Alliance offers a unique opportunity to get back into coaching, this time for a spring season, and work closely with hungry, talented athletes looking to begin, revive or extend their professional careers. The fact I can do this in Orlando makes it that much sweeter. I’m fired up and ready to go.”

Former University of Florida football quarterback Steve Spurrier answers questions during a news conference of the National Football Foundation College and Football Hall of Fame, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Spurrier has not coached since 2015 when he stepped down from his role at South Carolina. Since then, he has served as a consultant and ambassador at Florida, where he had a 122-27-1 record, won six SEC titles and one national title over 12 seasons as head coach.

He plans to continue in that role, but will take a break when the league’s spring season rolls around.

“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 said. “We couldn’t be happier for Coach and Jerri and look forward to seeing him on the sideline again.”

Spurrier, 72, hinted at his involvement with the Alliance of American Football earlier this week in an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show. He noted that he misses the “challenge” of coaching while noting what he likes about the new league.

“They’ve got a TV deal with CBS. They want to have football games that last 2 and a half hours instead of four, four and a half, emphasis on safety,” Spurrier said. “There will be no kickoffs. No extra points, go for two every time. Some new rules in place. And trying not to stop the game with so many replays and commercials and all that sort of stuff. Keep the game moving.”

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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