SEC Media Days will miss Steve Spurrier
We will miss the cracks. We will miss the clever one-liners. We will miss the crazy delivery, that unmistakable mix of sass and tongue-in-cheek genius that tickled the South for so long.
SEC Media Days without Steve Spurrier will be like a circus without its ringleader or an open mic night with only air on stage. Something, a big thing, will be lost.
By gosh, we will all be worse off.
It’s hard to turn a news conference into must-see TV, but Spurrier made his annual address in Alabama worthy of DVR treatment. Type “Steve Spurrier’s best quotes from SEC Media Days” into Google and observe his legacy. Read his equal-opportunity ribbing from last year alone and witness what will be absent when the summer gabfest begins July 11.
On reporters: “A lot of familiar faces out there. I would’ve figured a bunch of you guys would have retired by now.”
On his age: “I breezed right through age 60, breezed right through 65, and I’m going to try my best to breeze right through 70. I can still remember just about everything, so mentally I think I was same as I was.”
On retiring: “Somebody said, ‘Why are you still coaching?’ I said, ‘Well, I forgot to get fired, and I’m not going to cheat.’ That’s about the only way you lose your job: You get fired for losing or you cheat and then they get somebody else. I’ve not done any of those to any extent big-time, I guess.”
Of course, Spurrier never was fired. He left South Carolina on his terms, resigning last October and going out the most-Spurrier way possible after 23 seasons roaming sidelines in the SEC.
You can like him. You can despise him. But the Head Ball Coach remains one of a kind, never to be imitated or replicated. You must respect him.
That’s why SEC Media Days July 11-14 will seem duller this year. Will Muschamp doesn’t hold the same cachet. Neither does Derek Mason, Barry Odom or Jim McElwain. (Zzzzzzz…)
Nick Saban appears polished in public, but he’s no Spurrier. Les Miles has goofy moments, but he’s no Spurrier.
The Head Ball Coach went outside the lines at SEC Media Days like no one else. He was like a toddler with a giant box of crayons in that space, coloring the room with his words and wit.
Sorry, but these SEC Media Days will seem a little more black and white without him.
Spurrier became the SEC’s mascot of sorts because of his performance at this event, boosting the conference in his own peculiar way. He was quirky and entertaining. It was masterful PR.
Can you imagine the league without him?
That’s the subtle brilliance of his legacy. He became a showman before most recognized the value of the coach-as-public-face. Many times, coaches are too sterile in the modern media age. They figure they have too much to lose by shooting straight from the podium, and their message becomes soaked in saline solution before it’s delivered to fans. Cliches and coachspeak fill too many hours of tape.
Often, Spurrier provided levity to it all. He was far from perfect. But he was a gem behind the microphone, particularly during this time of year. We saw his verbal uppercuts rattle the sleepy summer months. Time after time, we laughed.
So here’s to a bygone era for SEC Media Days that won’t be seen again. For sure, there will be more memorable quotes, more buzz-worthy material to rise from those halls, more reasons to become excited about the coming season. The world will continue to spin.
But there won’t be another Spurrier.
We will all suffer for it.