The Head Ball Coach fumbles

In my career as a journalist, I’ve interviewed three presidents, elected officials, foreign dignitaries, serial killers and celebrities galore — heck, I even scored the exclusive interview with Ozzy Osbourne after he famously urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph.

But I’ve never been shut down as abruptly as I was by Steve Fink, the University of South Carolina‘s athletic media relations director. It took Fink, oh, about 60 minutes to inform me via e-mail that the royal “we” would pass on answering a few questions of a different sort aimed at USC Coach Steve Spurrier.

Granted, these weren’t typical post-game questions. They were kind of silly, in fact. But they’re the kind of questions the inquiring minds of the Gamecock Nation — the SEC Nation, even — would like answered. For example:

• How many visors does Spurrier own — and how many has he destroyed over the years in fits of sideline pique?

• How does he keep his white shirts so white? Is it bleach, or does he get a brand-spankin’-new shirt for each game?

Sweet or unsweet tea?

• USC’s Cocky or Florida’s Albert?

• The first letter of his favorite curse word?

See? Not exactly, well, earth-shattering — but questions designed to show that Spurrier does, indeed, have a sense of humor. (And that somewhere, beneath the unsmiling façade we see on the sidelines each week is a real person, not just a hard-driving coach.)

After all, we hear Spurrier spout the same stuff, year after year, week after week in post-game interviews. Sometimes, he doesn’t bother to say much at all. According to Chris Gay of the Augusta Chronicle, he disappeared immediately after the Georgia game, leaving behind a few anemic comments on the Carolina quote sheet, (Gay labeled them “mundane.”)

Anyway, I wanted to give Spurrier the refreshing opportunity to talk about the lighter side of the game, but Fink declined on the Head Ball Coach’s behalf, based upon — as Fink put it — his “experience and relationship with Coach Spurrier.”

Coach, I know football is serious business. Between you and me, I’ve been a loyal fan since I graduated in . . . OK, I don’t really want to say how long ago it was. But if Fink was wrong and you’d be willing to share your sillier side with SEC fans west of the Mississippi – and, believe me, there are more than you can imagine — let me know.

I’m willing to give you a second chance.



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