Before Billy Napier climbed the college football ladder to take over the University of Florida, he was a young graduate assistant looking for a chance.
He got that chance in the form of South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough. The former Furman quarterback spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Clemson before joining Pough’s staff as quarterbacks coach in 2005.
Napier took the time to give the retiring Pough his flowers. He thanked Pough personally on the latest, and final, episode of The Buddy Pough Show.
“I want to thank you personally for all that you’ve done for me and my career. Certainly giving me an opportunity to call plays and coach the quarterbacks at 25 years old,” Napier said. “Just a ton of respect for how much care and passion you had for your players, the pulse you had on the team, the impact that you made not only on the players throughout your career, but the young coaches as well.”
“A ton of wisdom even to this day that we apply to our teams here at the University of Florida,” Napier continued. “So I can’t thank you enough, coach, and appreciate you believing in me and giving me an opportunity. I’ll see you around.”
South Carolina State went 9-2 in Napier’s lone season on the staff, claiming a share of the MEAC title. That was in Pough’s. fourth season in Orangeburg. He’s now finished his career with 22 seasons at South Carolina State with 151 wins.
Billy Napier then returned to Clemson as tight ends and running backs coach, eventually rising to quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator there before going on to a journey that has landed him in the SEC at Florida. But clearly Buddy Pough is a big part of his journey.