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1. Steve Spurrier

Posted Nov 20, 2005 by Carl Lisciandrello

Updated Nov 23, 2005 at 07:36 PM

’‘You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.’’ - Florida coach Steve Spurrier to the Polk County Gator Club, 1994

These things happen in football rivalries, especially Florida-FSU. Coaches talk to boosters, cracking a few funny lines, trying to liven up the partisan crowd. There are Gator jokes. There are Seminole jokes.

This one ran deeper, drawing criticism from UF administrators and FSU fans alike.

Steve Spurrier, who was entering his fifth season coaching the Gators, never took back his words.

In fact, he elaborated on the point.

Rewind to the summer of 1994. FSU, coming off its first national championship, was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story, which detailed an after-hours shopping spree for Seminole players, arranged by agents, at a Tallahassee Foot Locker store. The fallout: Four players were suspended. The NCAA investigated.

And Spurrier poured gasoline on the flames.

One day after he referred to FSU as ‘‘Free Shoes University’’ before the Polk County Gator Club, Spurrier was interviewed by Florida Today, a newspaper in Melbourne.

‘‘We’ve always heard rumors about them,’’ Spurrier said. ‘‘We’ve always suspected. They’ve beaten us four out of five years in recruiting. Heck, maybe they’re the greatest recruiters in the world. But maybe there are other reasons that those guys go there. Those guys always say they feel ‘more comfortable’ going to FSU. Well, maybe we’re starting to realize what that ‘more comfortable’ means.’‘

Meanwhile, Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, aware that UF had well-publicized bouts with the NCAA during the 1980s (including the stripping of the 1984 SEC title), winced when he heard Spurrier’s remarks.

‘‘We should not be making those comments,’’ Foley said. ‘‘We’ve been there before. We know what it’s like from the other side.’‘

Spurrier, undaunted, addressed the subject again as fall practice began.

‘‘I don’t really think I say all that much,’’ Spurrier said. ‘‘It just gets interpreted stronger because no other coaches say anything.’‘

And this: ‘‘It used to be I was the most hated Gator in Tallahassee. Now it’s the investi-gator.’‘

Miami coach Dennis Erickson, an innocent bystander, said Spurrier was a ‘‘great football coach at the University of Florida, but he can’t shut up.’‘

When the Gators and Seminoles prepared for the 1994 game in Tallahassee, Spurrier was asked about his comments, nearly six months earlier.

‘‘Let’s get this straight,’’ he said. ‘‘We are playing Free Shoes U. this week and you can quote me on that. I’m not one who will say something, then back off it now.’‘

Then FSU coach Bobby Bowden wearily weighed in.

‘‘The shoes were free, but we’ve paid a heckuva price for it,’’ Bowden said. ‘‘So Steve’s halfway right.’‘

Reader Comments

Por (Tom) on November 23, 2005 (Suggest removal)

The most delicious irony associated with Spurrier’s comments was that several UF players (Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse, Reidel Anthony among them) were on agent Tank Bank’s payroll, getting monthly stipends, cars, etc. Too funny! I guess Steve was more concerned with other people’s houses than his own.

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Por (Ryan) on March 29, 2006 (Suggest removal)

I like the Tribune, but when it comes to UF-FSU, the writers are so biased.  This is definitely not the best quote in this storied rivalry.  Maybe it should be Steve’s response to how it feels to win in Tallahassee….. oh that’s right, he doesn’t know.

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Por (Campbell Morris) on November 18, 2006 (Suggest removal)

That’s why we like Steve so much, he tells it like it is. Bowden ran a criminal program for decades but the NCAA always looked the other way because he was “aw schucks” Saint Bobby.

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Por (Tracey D Yamamoto) on May 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

What is WNPR? (something tells me it’s a dumb question:D)

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Por (Ed Wright) on July 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have a 1966 All American football signed by a total of 22 players including Steve Spurrier.

I am trying to locate more information about this football.

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Por (Business Magnet Directory) on November 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nice article. Thanks for sharing with us.
Regards
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Por (Dustin) on November 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Steve Spurrier is a awesome coach!!

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Por (Curlyfinger.com) on November 06, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I Like Steve so much. So his review interesting for me. Thanks for sharing with us.
Regards
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Por (Internet Millionaire) on November 22, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (Internet Millionaire) on November 22, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think Steve Spurrier is a great man.I like him also.
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Por (Lingerie) on November 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nice post! Definitely Steve Spurrier is a brilliant coach. I like him. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (Chesterfield Chairs) on December 02, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Brilliant work! Please continue it.
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Por (Life Insurance) on December 14, 2008 (Suggest removal)

No doubt that Steve Spurrier is a brilliant coach. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (Buy Botox) on December 15, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nice piece of writing. I Like Steve so much.Please continue it.
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Por (Fredy Alvarez) on December 18, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I am agree with Tom “Steve was more concerned with other people’s houses than his own.”

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Por (Find and Meet Couples) on December 23, 2008 (Suggest removal)

No doubt that Steve Spurrier is a awesome coach! I like him very much. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (MikeCrabe) on December 30, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think that he might be the coolest man on the planet.

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Por (Dave Mason) on December 30, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nice information you give here. No doubt that Steve Spurrier is a awesome coach!! Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (Best Diet Pills) on December 31, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Definitely Steve Spurrier is a brilliant coach.Thanks for sharing with us.
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Por (chesterfield chairs) on January 03, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Good article. Steve Spurrier is a awesome coach. Please keep it on.
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Por (Garden Furniture) on January 04, 2009 (Suggest removal)

I’m agree with Tom Steve was more concerned with other people’s houses than his own. He is cool person.
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Por (Diet Weight Loss Link Exchange) on January 04, 2009 (Suggest removal)

err… what does it mean by “Free Shoes University?” [I don’t get it]

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Por (homeowners insurance) on January 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Nice review! I think Steve Spurrier is a brilliant coach. Please keep it on.
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Por (Cricket Bats) on January 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Really good piece of writing I agree with everybody that Steve Spurrier is a great man. Also he is very energetic man.

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Por (Cricket Bats) on January 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Great review! No doubt that Steve Spurrier is a awesome coach & also energetic.
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