Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Dave Concepcion . . .
SPURRIER CELEBRATING: Former college football coach Stephen Orr Spurrier has a legitimate reason for celebrating in early July.
He and wife Jerri are celebrating 50 years of marriage, as they got married when Steve was a senior at Florida. She has been the best thing to ever happen to him. After the couple’s three children were grown and out of the house, Jerri and Steve adopted an infant, Scotty, who is now a graduate of South Carolina.
Spurrier has invited a number of friends and former Florida teammates to celebrate not only his 50th anniversary of marriage, but this is the 50th anniversary for him becoming the first Florida player to win the Heisman Trophy.
They have reserved rooms at an Ormond Beach, Fla., hotel where those invited will gather for the weekend to celebrate both milestones.
Steve called to congratulate me for being inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame last week. When former Tennessee running back under Gen. Neyland, Hal Littleford, died earlier this year at 91, it leaves Spurrier and me as the only two TSHOF members left from Johnson City.
Actually I am the only living Johnson City native in the TSHOF, as Steve and his family didn’t move to Johnson City until he was 12 years old, but he has claimed Johnson City as his hometown ever since and visits there where his brother Graham lives, as do a number of his high school teammates.
RIDICULOUS RULING: I am talking about the USGA’s unbelievable ruling they finally handed down to Dustin Johnson on whether he caused his ball to move when he was addressing it while it was in the rough at Oakmont.
They looked at it on tape and told Johnson they would rule on it after the round, which was the final day of the tournament.
Fortunately Johnson saved face for the USGA, as he went on to win the tournament, penalty or no penalty.
My stance is that if the USGA can’t decide whether a player has broken a rule of the game until after he finishes the hole then they shouldn’t have waited until after the round to give their decision.
It was Johnson’s first major championship in his career after coming close a number of times.
Nashville’s Brandt Snedeker is now a candidate for best player who hasn’t won a major. But the former Vanderbilt All-American has made a lucrative living from the game and has a FedEx Championship to his credit.
TIME FOR PADS: I get a chuckle out of much of the media trying to project how first year Titans are going to fit in this season. None of them have put on pads yet and won’t until training camp.
That’s when you can tell more about what their future may hold and that isn’t foolproof. You have to judge on regular season games where it paints a picture for you.
Even the training camps have had to scale back on times you can have full contact days.
When people ask me how the Titans will do this season, I tell them that they cannot possibly be worse than they have been in recent years. If they can keep quarterback Marcus Mariota upright and reach 8-8, that would be a successful season and provide momentum going forward. If he goes down and out with injury, all bets are off. Anything better than 8-8, would be gravy.
All four teams in the AFC South are projected to be better than last year, so the competition is going to increase within the division.
TEBOW VISITS TEAMMATE: Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow recently visited a high school teammate who was wounded in the Orlando nightclub massacre.
Rodney Sumter was a bartender at the Pulse club and was shot three times and had two broken arms. They were teammates at Ponte Verde Beach’s Nease High.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Sumter posted on his Instagram account last Tuesday. He had a picture with Tebow and wrote: “My high school quarterback left the Bahamas to come and see me. Tebow has always been an awesome person.’’
Sumter played football at Jacksonville University before moving to Orlando to work as a dancer and bartender.
FOLEY RETIRING: One of the top athletics directors in the SEC is retiring. That would be Florida AD Jeremy Foley, who will retire Oct. 1.
Foley has been at Florida 40 years, the last 25 as its AD where he became recognized as one of the top AD’s in college athletics. The school has named a search committee to find Foley’s replacement.
Florida Times-Union writer Garry Smits interviewed Foley on his decision to retire.
When asking the 63-year old Foley if he would try some risky adventures in retirement such as skydiving, Foley had this to say: “Life is too short. I’m not ending it in a cornfield somewhere because my chute didn’t open.’’
NBA FIRST ROUNDERS: Good for Vanderbilt to have two players taken in last week’s NBA first round of the draft. Junior Damian Jones was the last player taken in the first round while combo guard Wade Baldwin IV was taken No. 17 by Memphis.
Baldwin has a chance to get a lot of playing time early, as veteran guard Mike Conley is a free agent and could go somewhere else. He missed the latter part of regular season and the playoffs with tendonitis in an Achilles. It would be better if Conley would remain in the Bluff City for at least another year and tutor Baldwin. Baldwin has a ton of confidence, but going from college to the NBA takes time to make the adjustment. In college, they play for rings and trophies. In the NBA they play for cars, houses, boats and more cars.
I hope power forward Damian Jones plays with passion for Golden State. He was known to relax and disappear at times for Vanderbilt. He has the physical tools needed to be successful if he puts the work in.
BEST LINE: The best line of the night at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet was from 91-year-old Duard Walker.
Walker coached football and basketball at Milligan College, among a long list of other chores he had. One was being head resident of the boys’ dorm.
He introduced his wife Carolyn, who he said was in a wheelchair. “Don’t jump up, Carolyn,’’ he told her. She stood up and waved from the audience.
“She is the only woman in the country who can claim she spent every night in a boys’ dorm for 50 years,’’ Walker quipped.
Joe Biddle is a wkrn.com sports columnist. He was recently inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.