Yet here was the Ol' Ball Coach
Could you twist that knife a little deeper, Visor Boy? Because the only thing worse for the Big Orange Nation than losing to Spurrier during his earlier days at
Not that most of the 200 or so well-dressed souls in attendance at the Museum Center in 5 Points seemed the least bit perturbed by Spurrier's rascally remark, though UT's victory over the
Either way, by the end of the evening the event had raised more than
And much of that charm was smartly aimed at Bradley County all-time athletic great
"Steve and I have crossed paths many times," Spurrier said during both his Gala talk and earlier media interviews. "He was an all-state quarterback at
"Steve was also the player who showed me around during my visit to
That wasn't the last time Sloan had an impact on Spurrier's career path, however.
"After the USFL folded, I didn't have anybody calling me," he recalled. "I was unemployed in January of 1987 and Steve was the head football coach at
What he's done is become one of the best coaches ever, going 219-79-2 heading into his 26th season as a college head coach, all of it without a hint of scandal.
"They have rules, and I try to obey them," said the 69-year-old son of a Presbyterian minister.
This is the side of Spurrier that's often underplayed. The honorable side. The caring side. A side he no doubt inherited from his father,
"Steve was actually a better basketball player than a football player back then," said Baker. "But he was good in everything, and competitive, too. He could get under your skin back then, too."
But Baker also recalled how, years later, when his mother was in terrible car crash, Steve's father came to visit her not once, not twice, but three times, even though the Spurriers had long ago left
"And he didn't even know it was my mom at first," Baker said. "He just knew someone from
As for his buddy, Baker recalled how he and Spurrier had the same fifth grade teacher, a Mrs. Williams, and how she told the class that she wanted the first one to make a million dollars to send her a
"Years and years later we had a class reunion of that fifth grade class at a Cracker Barrel," Baker said. "And Steve came back. Mrs. Williams was in her 90s then. The minute she saw him she thanked him for the
How much longer Spurrier will keep adding to his own riches with his
But he's also less than happy with his highly respected golf game at the moment, saying Saturday, "My golf has not been as good this year. I shot 86 the other day, but at least I was low man."
In another nod to Sloan, Spurrier said of his contemporary's golfing skills, "Yeah, Steve's better than me. I think I've beaten him one time in my whole life. It was the Brunswick (Ga.) Invitation in 1974 or '75. I think they called it the Golden Isles Invitational back then. But Steve's really good."
So how much longer might Stevie Superior coach?
"There's no time line," he said. "As long as you're in good health and you enjoy it. One of my goals as a head coach was to never get fired. I think I'm going to make that now."
True, but Spurrier's continued success may keep weakening the job security of
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