Well, this shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s familiar with Steve Spurrier. The man otherwise known as the Head Ball Coach recently revealed a time when he secretly coached a ball game when he was suspended.
In a recent interview with CBS Sports, Spurrier reveals the hysterically wacky story about the time he coached a Duke Blue Devils game when he was supposed to be suspended from coaching. The year that this went down, according to Spurrier, was back in 1988 — his second year as Duke’s head coach.
Spurrier was suspended by then-ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan for Duke’s final game of the year on Nov. 19, 1988, against North Carolina after publicly criticizing officials about a call that wound up costing Duke its first bowl bid in 28 years. The week prior, NC State tied Duke on a field goal to earn a bid to the Peach Bowl after Duke was called for defensive holding. Spurrier told reporters the penalty was "the worst call in the history of Duke football."
Although Spurrier was suspended, this didn’t stop him from coaching the season finale against North Carolina. The HBC told CBS that he used Duke’s golf club director, Ed Ibarguen, as a runner to hand plays and suggestions on pieces of paper down to the Blue Devils’ interim head coach that day, running backs coach Carl Franks.
Ibarguen, who was invited to watch the game with Spurrier by his secretary two days before the game — meaning Spurrier likely planned this thing well in advance — describes the bizarre situation.
"All of a sudden this play comes up. We had the ball. [Duke quarterback Anthony] Dilweg calls an audible and it's the wrong audible, and we failed to make it on third down. [Spurrier] is like, 'God dang it.' He goes over to his desk and scribbles something down on a piece of paper and says, 'Run this off to Carl Franks up there.'
"I said, 'What?' He says, 'Yeah, run it up and give him this.' I'm thinking to myself, 'Jesus, this is crazy.' So I haul ass over to the top of the building and run up to the coaches' box, knock on the door, Carl Franks is calling the offensive signals, and I said, 'Here, this is from Coach Orr [Spurrier is sometimes called by his middle name].'"
Duke wound up beating UNC that day 35-29. Franks, who now coaches running backs at Bethune-Cookman, added in the CBS interview that he likely ran the plays Spurrier drew up for him.
“There were a few things about someone cutting a route short and the quarterback cutting his step shorts. Sometimes it was a play that would have been great for the down and distance,” Franks said via CBS. “But if Eddie didn't get there in time, I'd wait for that situation again later. ... [Spurrier] kidded me with me afterward and said, 'Who thought I would have to tell my running back coach to run the ball more?'"
While this new story is indeed pretty crazy, it goes along with everything about Spurrier, from his long and storied coaching career, to his simple yet shockingly unexpected “Waylp, bye” farewell from coaching last fall, expect nothing less from the HBC. So, the legend of Steve Spurrier continues to grow, even after the HBC has retired from coaching football.