Shawn Elliott motivated by family in return to South Carolina football

On3 imageby:Griffin Goodwyn02/27/24
Football Shawn Elliott Introductory News Conference 02 20 24

At the end of the 2016 regular season, Shawn Elliott was the South Carolina football team’s offensive line coach. He had served on the Gamecocks’ coaching staff for six years up to that point. But he knew he had to leave to achieve his professional aspirations elsewhere.

“I needed to go and establish myself as a head football coach,” Elliott said. “Prove to myself and everyone else that I have the ability to run a program. To take a program that’s a struggling program and build it into something to be proud of.”

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Building a successful program is exactly what he did during his tenure at Georgia State. Before Elliott’s hire, the Panthers had never finished a season with a winning record. Elliott achieved that five times in seven years, winning four bowl games in the process.

However, that success came at a cost to Elliott. While he was in Atlanta, the rest of his family resided in Columbia, where he was previously employed.

Leaving his family in South Carolina was one of most difficult decisions he had ever made, he said.

“I thought about my kids. I thought about Columbia – it was all they knew. My friends, my family, my mom and my dad – everything,” Elliott said. “To do that was very difficult, but I knew I was making the right decision, for them and for myself.”

But now, he has the opportunity to do what he loves again, both on and off the field.

“The most important people in my life live here in the state of South Carolina, especially here in the Columbia area,” Elliott said. “Ultimately, that is what I wanted in my life. And I needed to have that back in my life.

Despite spending much of the past seven football seasons in Atlanta, Elliott said found ways to spend time with his children at home. His son played football, and his daughter competed on a competitive cheer team. And Elliott found a way to make it home for nearly every football game and cheer competition he could.

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“Let’s just say, I bought a new truck a couple years ago, maybe 2021. I think I’ve got 110,000 miles on my truck. I was back and forth quite a bit. Sometimes, I’d come back two times during the week. But I did it because that’s what I was supposed to do. That’s what I needed to do, and nothing was going to stop me,” Elliott said.

“I’ve been coaching the game of football for a long time. I was straightforward with my players and my staff. I told them this was important to me. And I said, ‘You guys can take care of it. I promise you I’m not going to put you in a bad situation because I missed four hours here at the office.’”

Elliott said that his goal is to help bring South Carolina football program “right where it needs to be.” For Elliott, that means helping the Gamecocks become one of the best teams in the conference and the country.

But that hasn’t stopped him from thinking of personal goals he’d like to achieve at South Carolina – namely, having his children grace the sidelines of Williams-Brice Stadium alongside him.

“If I could be coaching on that sideline, potentially coaching my son at the University of South Carolina, and my daughter cheering on that sideline, that would be a dream come true,” Elliott said. “I have no idea if that’s the case. But honestly, that would be something, for me as a person, a family man and a dad.”

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