Steve Spurrier returns to Bay County for first time in two decades

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The man...the myth...the legendary "Head Ball Coach" was back in Bay County as a Panhandle Gator Club guest for the first time in two decades Monday night.

Spurrier speaks to boosters and fans at Hiland Park Baptist Church.

Back in orange and blue as a consultant for the University of Florida, the former UF coach returned to speak as a UF ambassador at Hiland Park Baptist Church.

"Panama City was always one of the most fun Gator Clubs," Spurrier recalled. "We did about 22 every year. We'd play golf out at Hombre and then we'd have the Gator Club meeting that night.

"It was always more fun if we happened to beat FSU, which we didn't do all that regularly, so we couldn't tell many FSU jokes here, that's for sure 'cause they beat us more than we beat them. But thankfully we beat them in the most important one in New Orleans."

Spurrier signed autographs, later regaling fans and boosters with his favorite Florida memories (of which there are many).

122 wins in 12 seasons, a tenure spanning from 1990 to 2001 including the aforementioned national championship in 1996 and six SEC championships.

Spurrier's tenure was quite the time to be a Gator fan.

Now?

Better than five years ago, for sure. The Gators are ranked 8th in the nation, victorious Saturday against Miami albeit through a sloppy performance with four turnovers and a near-disastrous final two minutes. Would it have made the HBC spike his visor if he was on the sidelines?

"No I don't think so. I didn't throw I visor after I think 1991," Spurrier said. "But it was a good win for the Gators. A lot of people, they don't realize Miami is a good team. Miami had the fourth best defense in the nation last year. I didn't realize that until I started watching them play and they were good. They knew what they were doing on defense. Fortunately they didn't do a whole lot on offense. We had some good breaks, we all know that. Coaches Mullen and Todd Grantham, those guys have a lot to coach in the next couple of weeks."

The Gators have a week off before playing UT Martin September 7.

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