I’m here at the Cobb Galleria Centre, site of the Bulldog Club of Greater Atlanta’s annual meeting that essentially starts the countdown to Georgia’s kickoff. This convocation used to be held in Midtown at the Sheraton Colony Square but has moved to my neck of the woods — as you know, I’m a pillar of the Smyrna/Mableton/Vinings community — in recent years. And I’m sitting in a ballroom recalling the last time I sat in this ballroom.
Actually, the next-to-last time. (The most recent occasion was a celebration of Furman Bisher’s 90th birthday. Sam Huff was here. And Sonny Perdue. And esteemed colleague Tim Tucker, who’s sitting two seats to my right as I type.) But in June 2006 I came here on a Sunday afternoon to interview the Florida football coach, who was addressing a postponed meeting of the Atlanta Gator Club, the original April date having been rendered inoperative because the Florida basketball team was playing in the Final Four.
I met Urban Meyer on the steps out front. He’d flown in on a private plane. He was nice enough. We talked about his first season in Gainesville, during which he’d lost to South Carolina and Spurrier. We talked a little about Cincinnati, his hometown and a city with which I have a longstanding acquaintance. I believe I mentioned Skyline Chili. I believe he reacted favorably.
But the thing I recall most about Meyer that day was his attire. Standing in a rather ornate ballroom, the Gator coach addressed his constituents wearing … shorts.
No, not jean shorts. (That would have been too good.) But shorts all the same. And I remember what Steve McClain, the ace Florida publicist, told me that day: “Urban’s not one for small talk.” Or, I assumed, for fancy dress.
So here I am again, and I’m reasonably certain the one person who won’t be here tonight will be the Urban Crier. We’re about a half-hour from the beginning of the program, and the seats — there are roughly 1,500 chairs arrayed (I semi-counted) — are filling. I saw Mark Fox, the basketball coach whom I deemed a bad hire, in the hall, and I just shook hands with the greatest kicker in the history of college football. Yes, Rex Robinson.
Actually, no. I shook hands with Kevin Butler. And I kid my Twitter buddy Rex Robinson — he’s @RexRobinson5 — by saying he was the second-best kicker I ever saw … behind Fuad Reveiz (of Tennessee). Actually, I’d say Butler and Robinson were Nos. 1 and 1A, perhaps not in that order.
I’ll get cranking with moment-to-moment stuff once we get going, and if Mark Richt says something like, “I’ve waited 49 years to coach a team like this” … well, I’ll keep it to myself.
And if see someone in the room wearing jean shorts … I’ll just assume that person took a wrong turn at Ocala.