Serenely situated on a long peninsula, Carol and Will Muschamp’s Lake Murray home is ideal for hosting a party. But instead of reserving such coveted invitations for only their closest friends or important coaching connections, the Muschamps host the football team every year throughout the summer for afternoons of relaxed watersports and quality time together with their family.
“We like to make it personal and have them come in groups,” Carol explained shortly after we arrived. “So for instance, the linebackers will all come together.” We at CMM were invited for the day they honored the seniors, and I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Coach Muschamp for a few minutes about the upcoming season — where he finds his coaching inspiration, what he looks for in recruits, which players he sees stepping up this year, and how he feels about his son, Jackson, now being recruited as a high school senior. Going into his fourth season with the team, Coach Muschamp says that he ultimately wants to be more than a coach while demonstrating leadership skills to be a good husband and father. Building that kind of relationship with his players is what their days together on the lake are all about.
I found linebacker T.J. Brunson as we were making our way down the dock to climb aboard the pontoon and asked him about where his passion for football first came from and what it has been like to stay in Columbia for his career. He then proceeded to prove that his athletic prowess extends beyond the football field to behind the boat with the longest ride of the group during Coach Muschamp’s well-practiced tube slinging … even landing an incredibly high buck from the tube as it hit another boat’s wake.
Any trash talking that may take place on the football field couldn’t possibly rival the jesting and laughing circling around on deck as they ribbed each other over who flew the highest off the tube. As D.J. Wonnum and Keir Thomas jumped in the lake to ride double, Coach Muschamp chuckled, “There’s a lot of weight on that tube!” They duly flipped after managing to ride out only a handful of sharp turns.
When we docked, quarterback Jake Bentley had just arrived, and I was able to ask him about his expectations for his senior year, what it’s like having his dad as a coach on the team, and what the team likes to do together outside of practice. As we talked, I could not help but be slightly distracted by wide receiver Bryan Edwards learning to fly above the water’s surface on a hydro-powered flyboard. Bryan mastered the technique surprisingly quickly and then emerged onto the dock to chat about his motivation to play for Carolina despite his grandfather’s legacy as a Clemson football player, his halftime superstitions, and the games he is looking forward to most.
Read all four of these interviews in our football feature on page 84 and vicariously experience a Gamecock’s day on the lake with Coach Muschamp.