With SEC media days right around the corner, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best memories from recent years. Enjoy.
Biggest celebrity: Johnny Manziel
Nick Saban always draws large crowds wherever he goes at media days, but his entourage is nothing compared with the masses that followed Manziel around in 2013. The Texas A&M quarterback took the SEC by storm the previous year, winning the Heisman Trophy, and he also started to grow a reputation during the offseason when he was sent home from the Manning Passing Academy. Everybody wanted to hear from him. When asked what it was like to take the stage in front of all those people, Manziel said he felt like Justin Bieber.
Best one-hit wonder: Robbie Caldwell
For those who don’t remember, Caldwell was Vanderbilt’s interim coach in 2010. He lasted only the one season -- the Commodores finished 2-10 -- but he made quite a splash at his lone appearance at media days. From joking about his weight and anonymity to telling stories about growing up on the farm (see below), Caldwell was a hit. Showing his charm and personality, he even received applause from media members after his time on the podium. Not even Steve Spurrier or Les Miles can say they’ve done that.
Best fans: Ohio State (or Auburn) fans trolling Alabama
When it comes to fans at media days, it’s hard to top the Alabama fans. They tend to show up in droves every year, and between the ring head guy and the Bear Bryant impersonators, you have to respect the passion. But does it get any better than two Ohio State fans showing up in Hoover on Alabama’s day the summer after their team beat the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff? The best part is that the two might have been Auburn fans who took trolling their in-state rival to a whole new level by posing as Ohio State fans.
The bravest fans of the day have to be these two local Ohio State fans. Trolling on another level. pic.twitter.com/qoUjRREnFp— Greg Ostendorf (@GregO_ESPN) July 15, 2015
Best kicks: Dan Mullen and Bret Bielema (tie)
After last year’s media days, coaches’ shoes now matter. That’s because Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen came to Hoover wearing the popular Adidas brand Yeezy shoes designed by Kanye West. Not to be outdone, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema showed up the next day with a flashy pair of Nike Air Force Ones. “First thing I said was, ‘Hell, let’s start a little Nike-Adidas war,” Bielema said. “That was why I did it. I love Dan Mullen and everything he is, but we're a Nike school." You can expect more coaches to step up their shoe game this year.
Best local stop: Arby’s
Spurrier has made SEC media days over the years. He’s always quick to jab a rival, in particular Tennessee. He’s the only coach who left Tim Tebow off the All-SEC team in 2009. But one of our favorite memories is when former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney took a photo of the Head Ball Coach at Arby’s after the Gamecocks had finished for the day in 2013. It turns out he must have been a fan because he was back at the same Arby’s two years later.
"I don't think it's anything but greed that's creating it right now on behalf of the agents. The agents that do this -- and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?” -- Saban on agents contacting student-athletes (2010)
"My first hourly paying job was on the turkey farm. I don't know if I could tell you what my job was, but I was on the inseminating crew. That's a fact. I worked my way to the top." -- Caldwell on growing up in South Carolina (2010)
"We appreciated our friends from Ohio making sure we're compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about the subject." -- Will Muschamp on Ohio State alleging that a Florida assistant violated NCAA rules during a non-contact period (2013)
"I took a vacation. I went to Austin, took my three children with me, so we had six -- two parents and four children on that campus. It was miserable. I hated it. But it was great fun. I mean, it was not a beach, it was not sand, but it was my family, and that was the best." -- Miles in his opening address (2014)
"Somebody said, 'Why are you still coaching?' I said, 'Well, I forgot to get fired, and I'm not going to cheat.' That's about the only way you lose your job: You get fired for losing or you cheat and then they get somebody else." -- Spurrier on retirement (2015)