In terms of victories, Connor Shaw is the greatest quarterback to ever have played at the University of South Carolina. Shaw was 27-5 as a starter for the Gamecocks from 2011-13, leading them to three consecutive 11-2 season. He was 17-0 at …
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When: Thursday, 6 p.m.
Where: Central Carolina Technical College
Guest Speaker: Connor Shaw, former USC and NFL quarterback and assistant coach at Furman
Awards: The Sumter Touchdown Club will announce its Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year and Offensive Lineman of the Year, its Assistant Coach of the Year, its Scholar Athletes and its Merit Scholarships winners. It will also recognize The Sumter Item All-Area and All-Independent teams.
In terms of victories, Connor Shaw is the greatest quarterback to ever have played at the University of South Carolina. Shaw was 27-5 as a starter for the Gamecocks from 2011-13, leading them to three consecutive 11-2 season. He was 17-0 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Things didn't work out quite the same for Shaw at the professional level. Though he has been with both the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears the last four years, most of that time has seen Shaw injured.
So when he was offered a job as the tight ends coach on Furman University's staff, it was an opportunity Shaw just couldn't pass up. He joined the staff last week
"As a player it was tough for me to step away, but it was time to move on," said Shaw, who will be the guest speaker at the Sumter Touchdown Club Banquet on Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. at Central Carolina Technical College. "It (making the decision not to play anymore) was something that didn't happen overnight. Three years on injured reserve made it tough both physically and mentally (as a player).
"It was the right move for me and my family," said Shaw, who was already living in Travelers Rest, which is just outside of Greenville. "I'm not having to move my family. It is literally 15 minutes just from my house to work."
It's not like eventually stepping into the coaching realm of football was out of the realm of possibility. Shaw's high school coach was his own father.
"Growing up in a coaching family it was inevitable," Shaw said. "It was something that I knew I was eventually going to want to do.
I'm looking forward to it. The effect coaches can have on young men, especially at the college level. They are away from home, away from their parents, for the first time. You have a chance to teach them great life lessons. It's something I'm looking forward to."
The door on playing in the National Football League had not completely shut on Shaw either. An assistant coach with whom Shaw had worked in both Cleveland and Chicago had just been hired by the Miami Dolphins and there was speculation that perhaps Shaw would get another opportunity.
"He knew I was interviewing for a coaching job," Shaw said. "I did have a chance to be on a roster with a West Coast team, but it was just the right time for me to move."
So Shaw is left to remember what was an outstanding career in Columbia. Shaw made his first start in the 2011 season opener against East Carolina, needing to be bailed out by previous starter Stephen Garcia. However, Garcia lost the job by the middle of the season and was eventually kicked off the team.
Shaw completed 480 of 733 passes - a 65.5 completion percentage - for his career for 6,074 yards and 56 touchdowns against just 16 interceptions. As a senior, Shaw threw 24 TD passes with just one interception.
Shaw rushed for 1,683 yards and 17 touchdowns. He had 567 yards and six scores as a senior.
"I don't know if I envisioned what happened, but I definitely had high expectations," Shaw said. "I had an opportunity to do a lot of things first."
Shaw said the opportunity work with then USC head coach Steve Spurrier made him into the quarterback he was when he graduated.
"That was one of the reasons I wanted to go play for Coach Spurrier, to learn how to play quarterback," he said. "(Quarterbacks coach) GA Mangus was a great coach and helped me grow as a quarterback in things like how to recognize defenses.
"The memories I made at South Carolina, Cleveland and Chicago, being able to work with Coach Spurrier, the lessons I learned on the field and off the field, will always be with me."
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