Fisher, Buckley win Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge

 Greensboro—We’re going to take a break today from arguing about the quarterback position at Georgia and wondering why Jonathan Dwyer dropped to the 188 spot in the draft. We’re not going to worry about Big Ten expansion and how it could change the college football landscape as we know it. We’re not going to talk about the BCS and how many of you feel it undermines all that is pure and good in the world. We’ll get back to those things soon enough.

I’m going take a few minutes today to tell you about a neat event I attended which was fun and raised a lot of money for a good cause. Why do we care? Because we recognize that college football has become a pretty tough business and the people in it have to be pretty tough just to survive, much less prosper. So when these people drop their guard and do something that is fun and helps other people, it is worth noting.

In 2007 the Chick-fil-A Bowl organization wanted to put together a golf outing that gave coaches and their wives something fun to do between the end of spring practice and the beginning of the May recruiting period and booster club circuit. They also wanted to give their title sponsor the opportunity to say thanks to all of the people who make Chick-fil-A one of the great success stories in American business history.

The result was the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge, where 12 head coaches compete for a first-place prize of $120,000 in scholarship money for their respective schools. Each coach has alumnus of his school as a partner. The two man teams play a best ball format. A total of $400,000 is awarded to the schools so everybody goes home with a check for the scholarship fund.

But here is the real interesting part if you’re a college football fan. The coaches tournament started four years ago as a pretty low key event. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and his partner, former Hokie and NBA star Dell Curry, won the first tournament. In each of the next two years South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who knows his way around a golf course, teamed with former Gamecock receiver Sterling Sharpe (who can hit it nine miles), to win first prize.

Now this has become a pretty serious event where coaches search their alumni data bases to find the former athlete with the lowest handicap. But they can’t bring in somebody who has played professionally. At the beginning handicaps were submitted on the honor system. Now they have to be verified.

“Coaches are very competitive people,” one head coach told me. “Their instincts take over. They want to win. They can’t help it.”

There was a new winner on Tuesday as Jimbo Fisher, Florida State’s new head coach, teamed with former All-American Terrell Buckley to take home the $120,000 scholarship prize. Buckley made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Great Waters to hold off Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and former basketball player Jon Barry (who is a great player by the way).

 Again, just for fun, here are the results from Tuesday’s play. How many of these celebrity partners do you remember?

1. Florida State (Jimbo Fisher/Terrell Buckley), -7………………………..$120,000

2. Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson, Jon Barry), -6………………………………..$60,000

3. South Carolina (Steve Spurrier/Sterling Sharpe), -5……………………$50,000

4. North Carolina (Butch Davis/Natrone Means), -2……………………….$40,000

5. N.C. State (Sidney Lowe/Monte Towe), -2……………………………………$30,000

6. Alabama (Nick Saban/Steve Sloan), +1…………………………………………$17,500

7. Maryland (Ralph Fridegen/Stan Gelbaugh), +1……………….…………..$17,500

8. Vanderbilt (Bobby Johnson, Will Perdue), +1………………………………$17,500

9. Wake Forest (Jim Grobe/Billy Packer), +1……….…………………………$17,500

10. Ole Miss (Houston Nutt/Wesley Walls), +2….……………………………$10,000

11. Clemson (Dabo Swinney/Dwight Clark), +3………………………………$10,000

12. Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer/Brad Clontz), +4………….…………….$10,000

In conjunction with the coaches tournament there is another event involving former players and coaches. That event included three Heisman Trophy winners, 10 members of the College Football Hall of Fame and four members of the NFL Hall of Fame. I saw a bunch of old friends including Pat Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn, now the head coach at Samford.

The bottom line is over half a million dollars was raised for scholarships and Chick-fil-A’s Winshape Homes, a long-term foster care program.

It’s a fun event that helps kids and gives coaches one more competitive outlet. And that’s a good thing. It’s also a good way for the Chick-fil-A Bowl to raise its profile as one of the best bowls after the BCS. Some of the ESPN talent, including Reece Davis, Todd Blackledge, and Sean McDonough were on hand to tape it. It will be broadcast in the fall at a date to be determined. Tune in. You’ll find it entertaining to see these coaches in a different kind of competitive setting.

Thanks for giving me a break from the everyday stuff to tell you about it.

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39 comments Add your comment


April 28th, 2010
8:52 am

Kid Ray

April 28th, 2010
8:56 am


April 28th, 2010
8:57 am

Dabo and Spurrier’s teams were paired together for the first 9 holes. I suspect there were some interesting comments from the ‘Old Ball Coach’ every time Dabo sliced one into the water or the woods. But you’re right, Tony, it’s great just to read about coaches being able to have fun together while doing something for a great cause. Thanks for reporting it.

Da truth

April 28th, 2010
8:59 am

Sounds like a great event. Would love to be a fly on the course, to hear the talk going back and forth.

Jax Dawg

April 28th, 2010
9:10 am

I had no idea that Toast was a golfer. Looks like he and Fisher had a good day on the links.


April 28th, 2010
9:10 am

Tony, only 4 SEC schools participated…
What is the criteria for entering this event?

help, I live in Ga

April 28th, 2010
9:11 am

Good stuff TB. Don’t forget to get us a time to watch it on ESPN.


April 28th, 2010
9:16 am

Logan Gray might be leaving Athens, and these guys are playing golf?
Oh, the horror!

Tony, I’m sure it was a great event. I got to paired up one time with some of the GT coaching staff out at Reynolds….we had a blast. Regular guys just out having a good time.

It’s amazing how high we build our pedastals to put these guys on top of….


April 28th, 2010
9:20 am

Now let’s follow the $400k and find out where it really goes…


April 28th, 2010
9:20 am

S’Ok, CPJ. Get ‘em next year!


April 28th, 2010
9:25 am


Are you happy Adams didn’t succeed Brand? I sure am.

Go Dawgs!


April 28th, 2010
9:30 am

Go Noles!!!!


April 28th, 2010
9:31 am

I would love to hear the off camera game talked between SOS and Swinney.


April 28th, 2010
9:33 am

Dink, no kidding it is better to limit Adams’ damage to Athens than all of College Athletics.


April 28th, 2010
9:34 am

The other SEC school coached who did par-take,, where looking a game films,, trying to find a method to get better.


April 28th, 2010
9:41 am

It would have been a great thing if Boy Blunder from UT now at USC had played against Meyer in a gold match. I bet you could have a tiger woods crowd following them around like little sheep hoping
Urban beat the dog crap out of Boy Blunder. RTR


April 28th, 2010
9:42 am

Les Miles stayed home, trying to figure out a way to keep Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin from erasing his QB depth chart on Sept. 4.

Typical Gator Fan

April 28th, 2010
10:09 am

Too bad Coach Meyer was on vacation with his family and Tebow was in Denver or they would have walked away with this one.

Randy Shannon$

April 28th, 2010
10:21 am

You never pass an opportunity to talk about the Noles. HOMER


April 28th, 2010
10:24 am

Coach Meyer was somewhere being a Dad again.,

Jacket Backer

April 28th, 2010
10:30 am

CPJ’s a winner at everything he does…..came within an eyelash of taking this thing…..sure glad he’s on our side…..

Go Jackets!!

L. Bo

April 28th, 2010
10:51 am

how about having a coach/alumnus arm wrestling tournament?


April 28th, 2010
10:53 am

SEC coaches were in court defending players.


April 28th, 2010
10:55 am

Hey Tony,
Have you heard that Ga Tech is trying to back out of the Alabama series?


April 28th, 2010
12:25 pm


10% of golf is played between the out of bounds.
90% is played between the ears!
SOS just got in Dabo’s head!


April 28th, 2010
12:28 pm

#2 Bama Fan:

That’s funny right there.
I don’t care who ya are!

Tide Rising

April 28th, 2010
12:40 pm

G8R GRAD and Bama Fan#2,

To hell with a golf match between Urban and boy blunder Kiffin. I would rather see Urban beat him down in a UFC style cage fighting match.

Gen Neyland

April 28th, 2010
12:56 pm

Golf outing be danged. They ought to toe the line for a Half Marathon or at least a 10K. Geez, make it a real challenge instead of putt-putt…

Tide Rising : Not trying to sound vile but Kiffin connects one solid heart punch and it’s over…


April 28th, 2010
1:23 pm

Sidney Lowe & Monte Towe?


April 28th, 2010
3:15 pm

DANG, General!

Have a heart!

(pun intended!)


April 28th, 2010
3:47 pm

Tide Rising:

CUM would “open up a can,” wouldn’t he?!!!!


April 28th, 2010
3:56 pm

Who do all the Gator Haters hate more-Spurrier or Meyer? Spurrier-while a tool was funny. And you gotta respect a guy givin’ it all for his alma mater. Meyer-while probably the better all around coach-seems like more of a tool. Although I do know some gator fans happening upon Spurrier in a Tallahassee Hooter’s asked for his autograph only to be asked if they could leave him alone and let him enjoy his chicken wings. I think they both probably are major tools. I will take Urban as the coach anyday though over Spurrier and he can stay as long as he wants….


April 28th, 2010
4:54 pm

These coaches are under alot of pressure so it’s good for them to get away.

My wife and I met Coach Beemer at a restaurant in December when we were visiting Birmingham. He is a class guy.

BTW XpatHeel, that’s bold talk with the football tradition your school has.

Geaux Tigers
Go Tigers

help, I live in Ga

April 28th, 2010
5:44 pm

Tide Rising and #2 Bama, if Lane had gotten in any trouble with Urban, his dad would’ve stepped in and spanked both of them. I was just reading some stuff on Lame, and I will say this, I’ve never hated a coach more. And…. I hate to say this but… I hate him even more because he’s a good coach. If sanctions or PAC Ten talent don’t catch up with him, he’ll probably average 10 wins with the talent he’s got. And the fact that Eric Berry went so high in the draft will sharpen his recruiting tools. I’m just glad he’s gone.

help, I live in Ga

April 28th, 2010
5:46 pm

Spurrier was a better coach than Meyer in my opinion. I never hated him because he was just stirring the pot, getting the fanbase fired up. Lame was a Spurrier wanna-be. Like a Spurrier without the wins.


April 28th, 2010
7:43 pm

There will be plenty to hate about Spurrier next year unfortunately for Gators, Vols, Dawgs, etc.

Tide Rising

April 28th, 2010
10:54 pm


That was indeed cold bout punching Urban in the heart and its all over. help, I live in georgia may be right about Monte Kiffin putting them both over his knee. He definitely is an old school, no nonsense, gruff kinda guy. I like the senior Kiffin. I just can’t fathom how he could raise such an idiot.

As for Spurrier I don’t hate the guy. I kinda hated him in the 90s when he was at UF and the gators seemed to be winning it every year and had the upper hand over everybody including us. But even then I kinda liked the guy even. He was funny, UT had a winning streak over us in the late 90s, and it was great humor to watch Spurrier take jobs at Fulmer.

Anyway, thought I would chime in here before hitting the hay. Nothin going on exept watching the dang Braves lose yet another one a minute ago. And this one wasn’t even close. If going 0 for 10 or batting .100 constitutes being an Atlanta Brave then I think I’ll try out for the Braves.


April 29th, 2010
5:19 am

Tide Rising the braves should fire the starting team for the bravos and get a SEC all star team to take its place!! God it is not even May and the braves are in last place and poor Bobby happening to watch
this mess is like Charles Barkley saying TERRIBLE!! RTR

bitter bamma fan

May 7th, 2010
2:40 pm

MEHATEME, TIDE #1, love my Sistar, all night, hahaha