Steve Spurrier Welcomed/Banquet Recap

by Randy Dickson
NW Florida Daily News

OKALOOSA ISLAND — Danny Wuerffel and “The Ole Ball Coach” were together again at the All Sports Association Trophy Awards Dinner on Friday at the Emerald Coast Conference Center.

And the coach, Steve Spurrier, didn’t disappoint as the featured speaker poked fun at himself, shared stories of Wuerffel and preached lessons for success to a packed house.

“As far as winners, Danny is the best I’ve had,” Spurrier said. “I’m often asked who my favorite player is.

“I have a lot of favorite players. They’re the guys that are unselfish, are in super condition and give credit to their teammates.”

However, not even Spurrier could overshadow the annual auction which raised more than $50,000 that will go to support the Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics and the YMCA. The three organizations each received $25,000 from the association at the dinner.

The big ticket item was a Florida Heisman football autographed by Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. The football sold for $15,000. The “We Are Marshall,” Tribute package sold for $7,500. Other big dollar items were the Florida National Championship package, a football and basketball combination that honored the Gator titles in both sports, which sold for $5,000.

The Miami Dolphin Perfect Season package sold for $4,000.

Much to the delight of the Troy University faithful, a Trojan helmet autographed by Troy coach Larry Blakeney sold for more than the Auburn or Alabama football items.

With Blakeney on hand to drum up support, the Troy helmet sold for $3,300. The Crimson Tide helmet signed by Nick Saban went for $2,250 and the Auburn helmet and jersey signed by Tommy Tuberville brought $1,500.

One of the high points of the evening was the recognition of this year’s All Sports award winners: Scholastic winners were Niceville’s Jennica Hagberg and Crestview’s Matt Sanders; collegiate winner Florida gymnast Savannah Evans; Amateur winner world class judo champion Shane Simerly; Professional winner, New York Giant kicker Lawrence Tynes; Special Olympian Emmanuel Valentin and Wuerffel Award winner Paul Smith, Tulsa’s record-setting quarterback.

Upon accepting the Wuerffel Award, Smith paid recognition to the first two winners: Joel Penton of Ohio State and Rudy Niswanger of LSU.

“The last two years they’ve done an amazing job of selecting the winners,” Smith said. “As I’ve gotten to know Joel and Rudy the last few days, I just hope I’m in the same class as a man of God as those guys.”

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