COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp has officially announced the hiring of Kurt Roper as the Gamecocks’ co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Roper comes to Carolina after spending the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns as senior offensive assistant coach. He joined the Browns after spending 2014 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the University of Florida under Muschamp. Roper brings 19 years of experience on the collegiate level, including 13 in the Southeastern Conference, and helped his teams appear in 11 bowl games.
“I’m excited to have Coach Roper joining the staff,” said Coach Muschamp. “He’s been a play-caller in the SEC, has experience in working with and developing quarterbacks like Eli Manning and former Gamecock Connor Shaw, has an NFL background, and did a great job at Duke under David Cutcliffe. We are excited for what he offers.”
Prior to his year-long stint in Gainesville, Roper spent six years coaching at Duke, first as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2008-13, before spending his final season as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
In 2013, Duke enjoyed a record-setting season as the Blue Devils won a school-best 10 games en route to winning the ACC’s Coastal Division championship. The team set the school record for total touchdowns (60), while becoming the first squad in program history to post 20+ rushing and 20+ passing touchdowns in the same season. Under Roper’s guidance, quarterback Brandon Connette became the school’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, while wide receiver Jamison Crowder established school single-season records for receptions (108) and receiving yards (1,301).
In 2012, Roper directed the Duke offense to a school single-season record 410 points and 31.5 points per game. Quarterback Sean Renfree threw for more than 3,000 yards and finished his career ranked among the ACC’s all-time leaders in several categories in passing yardage (seventh with 9,465), pass completions (third with 898) and 300-yard passing games (tied for fourth with 11).
Under Roper’s guidance in 2011, the Blue Devils ranked second in the ACC in passing offense as wide receiver Connor Vernon became the first player in league history to post multiple seasons with 70+ receptions.
Roper also worked with quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in pass attempts (1,510), pass completions (877), passing yards (10,065) and passing touchdowns (67). Lewis finished as one of just two players in ACC history to throw for more than 10,000 yards. He led the ACC in total offense in 2009, while throwing for 3,330 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Prior to Duke, Roper spent two seasons (2006-07) at Tennessee, where he coached the running backs. During that span, the Vols won 19 games, earned a pair of Outback Bowl berths and captured the SEC Eastern Division championship. In 2007, Tennessee’s rushing attack was led by Arian Foster, who gained 1,193 yards on 245 carries, while scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground. Foster went on to lead the NFL in rushing yards in 2010 and rushing touchdowns in 2010 and 2012.
Prior to spending one season as the quarterbacks coach at Kentucky in 2005, Roper spent six seasons (1999-2004) coaching at Ole Miss. Roper coached the quarterbacks all six years and added the responsibility of passing game coordinator for his final three seasons. Among his pupils was record-setting, All-America signal-caller Eli Manning, the 2003 SEC Player of the Year, who was the number one overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and won two Super Bowls.
Roper got his start in coaching at Tennessee, serving as a graduate assistant coach from 1996-98, while working with the Volunteer defensive and special teams’ units.
A native of Ames, Iowa, Roper was a three-year letterman as a quarterback and defensive back at Rice. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice in 1995 and a master’s degree from Tennessee in 1998.
Roper and his wife, Britt, have one daughter, Reese, and one son, Luke.
Kurt Roper’s Coaching Background:
1996-98 Tennessee, graduate assistant coach
1999-2001 Mississippi, quarterbacks coach
2002-04 Mississippi, passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2005 Kentucky, quarterbacks coach
2006-07 Tennessee, running backs coach
2008-12 Duke, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2013 Duke, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2014 Florida, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2015 Cleveland Browns, senior offensive assistant coach