Paul Finebaum reacts to the death of infamous caller, Alabama fan Harvey Updyke
Paul Finebaum likely wouldn’t be where he is today without Harvey Updyke.
The most infamous caller in the history of “The Paul Finebaum” show, Updyke drew national attention to the Alabama-Auburn rivalry after poisoning the trees at Toomer’s Corner after the 2010 Iron Bowl and brought more attention to Finebaum and the sports talk show than ever before.
Now a decade later, Updyke has died at the age of 71.
Following the news, Finebaum was asked for his reaction during a recent appearance on ESPN morning show “Get Up” on Friday.
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“Well, naturally, I mean, you’re sad but I mean this was someone, the likes of which I’ve never encountered,” Finebaum said on the show. “Harvey Updyke’s dog was named Nick Saban. His oldest son was named Bear, his second daughter was named Crimson Tide – Tyde. He wanted to name his third child, Allie, Ally Bama, but his wife finally said that was enough. He was consumed with Alabama.”
According to Finebaum, Updyke’s decision to poison the trees at Toomer’s Corner was done to please Nick Saban. Despite the fact the Alabama coach obviously never encouraged Updyke to take drastic action after the Crimson Tide lost the 2010 Iron Bowl.
“I asked him once, when I visited him in jail,” Finebaum recalled, “why he did what he did and he said, ‘I did it for Nick Saban.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Because they stole a game from Alabama,’ he was talking about the Auburn game in 2010 that Cam Newton led Auburn from behind, three touchdowns behind the Bryant-Denny Stadium, and he felt like Cam Newton should have been ineligible and he went to his death yesterday thinking that he did that for Nick Saban.
“Of course, a lot of people at Alabama wanted nothing to do with him after that, and you can hardly blame them.”
Finebaum was living in Alabama at the time of the incident and remembered the devastation felt by the Auburn community after Updyke’s actions.
“Yes, those trees died and it’s hard to explain to people but those trees were the most iconic thing to Auburn fans,” Finebaum added. “They roll them after wins. People were in mourning. This went on for weeks after it became public, so this was not a small thing at Auburn, it was a very big thing and it will be remembered for a very long time.”