GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and national championship-winning coach Steve Spurrier said he has no problem walking 10 yards around the University of Florida campus without being noticed.
Now 12 yards? That might be a different story.
“I’ve got a hat and sunglasses that I wear around a little bit,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier, along with his former player and fellow Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, spoke to a crowd of about 200 Florida fans Saturday on UF’s campus prior to the No. 21 Gators’ homecoming game against LSU as part of the Heisman House Tour.
The two shared stories about their time at Florida, how their paths to college football ended in Gainesville, the biggest moments of their careers and how their relationship has not wavered, among other topics.
Spurrier once again became a mainstay on campus in July 2016 when he was named an ambassador for the University Athletic Association.
“I’m just trying to help the University of Florida in any way I can,” Spurrier said.
He’s already done a lot for the football team.
As a player, he was a two-time All-American quarterback and the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1966. As a coach, he led the Gators to six Southeastern Conference titles and the program’s first national title in 1996.
In his 12 years at the helm of the football program, Spurrier’s Gators lost just five games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
But despite his successes as a coach, Spurrier said he never envisioned himself roaming the sidelines after his playing career finished.
“I didn’t realize I wanted to be a coach until I had no job and very little money that I had to find something to do that seemed like fun,” Spurrier said.
Wuerffel, on the other hand, said he almost didn’t come to Florida at all.
Wuerffel remembers telling Spurrier as a recruit in 1991 that he was interested in Alabama and Florida State. After that, Spurrier stated his case.
“Look at the quarterbacks who have played for me, and look what they’re doing,” Wuerffel remembers Spurrier telling him.
“Just giving him the facts,” Spurrier said in response.
Spurrier knew Wuerffel was his guy after the 1991 Florida Class 4A state championship game. Wuerffel led his Fort Walton Beach Vikings over perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas Vikings.
“We’ve got to do everything legal to get Danny Wuerffel,” Spurrier remembers saying after that game.
The rest was history. Wuerffel came to UF and became a two-time first-team All-American, Heisman Trophy winner and set Florida career records in passing yards (10,875) and passing touchdowns (114). The latter record is still second all-time in SEC history, trailing just Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
Fast forward more than 25 years, and Spurrier and Wuerffel still have the bond they had when they were coach and player.
And now, they’re ready to watch the Gators take on LSU.
“I really believe our guys are ready,” Spurrier said. “If the fans are ready, the players are going to be ready.”
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