Power ranking the SEC schools' most interesting alumni: Part 1
We take a look at the most interesting alumni from the 14 SEC institutions. Points are given for accomplishment, creativity and finding a unique way to impact society. Who says the SEC is only about football?
The Memorable Side Character Group
50. Fred Thompson, J.D. from Vanderbilt University
Fred Thompson is quite an accomplished man with a successful career as an attorney, a lobbyist and eventually a United States Senator. Thompson even served as counsel to a committee charged with investigating the Watergate Scandal. In 2008, Thompson made attempts to be the Republican presidential nominee which ultimately went to John McCain. Thompson makes the memorable side character group, however, due to his role as District Attorney Arthur Branch on television show Law & Order.
Check out Thompson’s moving performance on the clip from Law & Order entitled “Is this because I’m a Lesbian?”
49. Wayne Knight, University of Georgia, Finished degree in 2008
The actor and comedian Wayne Knight is mostly known for his role as Newman on hit 90s television show Seinfeld though let us not unfairly dismiss his role as Dennis Nedry in the original Jurassic Park film. Knight attended Georgia, but left to pursue acting just shy of graduation. He returned later to finish the degree in 2008.
48. Miss Elizabeth, University of Kentucky
Miss Elizabeth was the spouse and manager of professional wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage. While her most memorable moments are attached at the hip to Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth was on television from the mid 1980’s with the WWF through 2000 with WCW. After she and Savage divorced, Miss Elizabeth later hitched up with professional wrestler Lex Luger. Miss Elizabeth was found dead in 2003 while living with Luger due to acute toxicity as a result of alcohol and pain killers.
Let us remember her at her peak (can you recall a more dramatic moment?):
47. Stephen Root, University of Florida
While his IMDB resume is quite respectable, most of you will know Stephen Root as Milton from Office Space – the quirky cubicle rat that was repeatedly downsized which ultimately led him to burn down the office building. A lesser known role might be Gordon from Dodgeball alongside Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn.
The Big Mouth Group
46. Joe Scarborough, B.A. from University of Alabama, J.D. from University of Florida
A successful attorney and politician, Scarborough is now known as the host of Morning Joe, a political news morning show televised on MSNBC.
45. Neal Boortz, Texas A&M University
Based in Atlanta, Neal Boortz had a nationally syndicated radio show discussing news and politics. He had a reputation for being quite outspoken and unafraid to touch on controversial topics. While known as a conservative, he was not afraid to take unpopular positions amongst his core listeners – most notably on social issues. At one time, Boortz was the 7th most listened to show in the country. While commonly humiliating callers that he deemed wrong, Boortz showed a different side in 2012 with what became known as the “Tiffany call” (you’ll have to listen past the first ten minutes to get to the different side):
44. Woody Paige, University of Tennessee
Paige is a sports columnist for the Denver Post and is a regular participant on ESPN’s Around the Horn. He made appearances on previous ESPN shows 1st and 10 and Cold Pizza.
43. Paul Finebaum, University of Tennessee
The “Voice of the SEC”, Paul Finebaum began his rise in Birmingham, Ala., in the 1990’s. In 2001, Finabaum launched the Paul Finebaum Radio Network which syndicated his show across the country. In 2013, Finebaum joined ESPN. One of the most notable moments of Finebaum’s career came when Harvey Updyke called into his show in 2011 claiming to have poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala.
42. Skip Bayless, Vanderbilt University
Skip Bayless is the controversial television personality working for ESPN typically paired with Stephen A. Smith on First Take. He’s one of the more polarizing figures on ESPN because of segments like this:
41. Dave Ramsey, University of Tennessee
The king of personal finance, Dave Ramsey is a monster brand that spans radio, print and the internet helping Americans get control of their personal finances. His radio show which broadcasts from Nashville, Tenn., is syndicated across the country and is one of the biggest shows in all of radio.
40. Ryan Seacrest, University of Georgia (did not graduate)
A UGA journalism student in the early 90s, Ryan Seacrest left Athens early to head west to Hollywood. He’s gone on to become one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Seacrest has furthered his career as a radio giant and host of hit show American Idol. In recent years, Seacrest has hosted ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
The “Signature Move” Athletes
39. Bubba Watson, University of Georgia
Signature Move: The 350-yard tee shot
The professional golfer gets double alumni credit for marrying University of Georgia basketball player Angela Watson (formerly Ball). Watson is one of the longest hitters on tour. His career highlights include wins at the Masters in 2012 and 2014. Watson’s “hook” shot from the trees on No. 10 (playoff hole) to help win his first major championship is considered one of the best shots in Masters history.
38. Dominique Wilkins, University of Georgia
Signature Move: The windmill dunk
Dominique Wilkins, the 1981 SEC player of the year, is arguably the most famous basketball player in the history of the Atlanta Hawks franchise. His nickname was the “human highlight film” and he was known for his flashy dunks in games and in some of the best dunk contests ever. He was a nine-time all-star and won the scoring title in 1985-86 averaging 30.3 points per game. Wilkins was inducted into the hall of fame in 2006.
37. Robert Horry, University of Alabama
Signature Move: The clutch shot
Nicknamed “Big Shot Bob” for his knack to hit clutch shots in the NBA Playoffs, Robert Horry is a seven-time NBA Champion with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995, the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007.
36. Bill Goldberg, University of Georgia
Signature Move: The Spear
The former defensive tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs is mostly known due to his stint as a professional wrestler for WCW in the late 90s. Goldberg had a brief NFL career, but it ended when he suffered an injury described as tearing “his lower abdomen off his pelvis”. Ouch.
The Ligament Group
35. Dr. James Andrews, Louisiana State University
Apparently the only physician familiar with ligament injuries, Dr. James Andrews is THE guy for elite athletes who have suffered damaged ligaments in the knee, elbow or shoulder. His name also strikes fear in the heart of the millions of sports fans that play fantasy sports each year. Hearing your guy and Dr. James Andrews together in the same sentence is never a good thing.
Fun fact: Dr. James Andrews won an SEC Championship in pole vaulting while at LSU.
The Sports Media Group
34. Rece Davis, University of Alabama
Rece Davis grew up in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1988. The long-time ESPN personality will be taking over for Chris Fowler on ESPN College GameDay starting in 2015. While Fowler is popular, he has hosted the show since 1990. The 49-year old Rece Davis is such a pro, he can maintain composure even while Lou Holtz sneezes on the air:
33. Erin Andrews, University of Florida
Perhaps one of the most talked about individuals in sports media over the last decade, Erin Andrews became a household name as the sideline reporter on ESPN College Football broadcasts. As her career grew, she eventually jumped to FOX to cover a wide range of sporting events. She was involved in the famous Richard Sherman on-field interview from the 2014 NFL Playoffs:
32. Pat Summerall, University of Arkansas
Summerall played football for the Razorbacks and briefly in the NFL in the 1950s, but his fame is due to his lengthy broadcasting career. Summerall announced 16 Super Bowls and 26 Masters tournaments among many other sporting events. Most sports fans under 50 know Summerall as the sidekick to John Madden on CBS and FOX broadcasts of NFL games.
We’ll continue our rankings in part 2 coming soon…