With another football season kicking off, the usual excitement for your favorite team, Friday Night Lights, and tailgating is spreading with each victory. As I am always this time of year, I am reminded of how fortunate I was to play college football for NFL Hall of Famer, Forrest Gregg. Sadly, this is the first season Coach Gregg is not with us since his passing in May.
At his funeral, The Gregg family asked me to speak on behalf of my teammates. I was humbled and honored, as Coach Gregg finally put me in the starting lineup. I was the third speaker, behind NFL Hall of Famer, James Lofton, and David Baker, the President NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. My talents and football skills simply did not belong on the same stage. Fortunately, Coach Gregg never spent one minute of practice coaching us about quitting or excuses, so I was able to deliver the words in the right ways to honor this man, my teammates, and The Gregg Family.
This weekend I will be gathering with my teammates and celebrating our 30th football reunion (09/02/1989). I can’t believe it’s been thirty years, but I also am also in disbelief when I see myself walk down the stairs in the morning. 30 years ago, over 100 boys suited up for SMU. By the time Coach Gregg was done with us, we all graduated, he turned us into men, and then into husbands, fathers, businessmen, and teammates for life.
With the start of each football season, the body hurts a little more, but the memories and stories get a little better. Coach Gregg’s principles, beliefs, and discipline are pervasive in so many areas of my life. I am constantly amazed how I have implemented so many things I learned from Coach Gregg in running The Gardner Group, trying my best as a husband, and never taking for granted the responsibilities I have to my daughter Landrey, and son Bo.
Thanks Coach. We all miss you.