The deal is “all but done,” the source told SI.
Muschamp was one of several candidates to interview for the Gamecocks job this week in a search process that took an odd turn Saturday. Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted that his coach, Rich Rodriguez, had not committed to a South Carolina offer and would remain the Wildcats’ coach.
But sources close to the search process told ESPN.com’s Chris Low that Muschamp had always been at or near the top of the Gamecocks’ list. Muschamp interviewed with South Carolina officials earlier this week along with several others, including Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and South Florida coach Willie Taggart.
Muschamp, 44, is in his first season as Auburn‘s defensive coordinator. He was the Florida head coach for four seasons from 2011 to ’14, compiling a 28-21 record before being fired at the end of the 2014 season.
Muschamp has an extensive background in the SEC, both as a coach and recruiter, which made him attractive to South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner. A 20-year coaching veteran, Muschamp has coached 16 of those years in the SEC. He played at Georgia and coached under Nick Saban at LSU, where he was the Tigers’ defensive coordinator on their 2003 national championship team. He’s had two different stints as the defensive coordinator at Auburn.
In seven seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator, his defenses have been ranked in the top 15 nationally six times in scoring defense. The only exception was this season. Auburn is ranked 68th nationally in scoring defense, giving up 27.3 points per game, but the Tigers improved as the season progressed. Muschamp’s defense gave up just seven touchdowns in the last four SEC games.
Renowned for his fiery nature, Muschamp won 11 games and guided Florida to the Sugar Bowl in his second season as head coach in 2012. But it was a struggle for the Gators offensively the whole way under Muschamp, and they dipped to 4-8 in 2013 and 6-5 in 2014. Muschamp had three different offensive coordinators in four years at Florida, and the lack of consistency and production on offense was ultimately his undoing.
The first part of his tenure at Florida was spent cleaning up a program that his predecessor, Urban Meyer, deemed as “broken” before resigning following the 2010 season. But it was all downhill following the 11-win season in 2012, and Muschamp acknowledged on his way out that he simply didn’t win enough games. “That is the bottom line,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Muschamp has been on South Carolina’s radar. Legendary coach Steve Spurrier was close to quitting following the 2014 season, and sources told Low that Muschamp would have been the Gamecocks’ choice to replace Spurrier had the Head Ball Coach retired then. Muschamp’s name also came up as a possible defensive coordinator under Spurrier, but Muschamp instead went to Auburn, where he was one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in college football this season at $1.6 million.
ESPN.com’s Chris Low contributed to this report.