Prosthetics, $100 bills and a men's room: Coaches' wildest autograph stories

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier was once asked to sign a pacemaker.

(Don't worry, it had already been removed.)

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was asked to sign a snow plow. (He declined).

Coaches from coast to coast can attest that when it comes to signing autographs, the bizarre is the norm. Many fans are caught fumbling for a Sharpie or a pen when they see their favorite coach, and then hand over the only things they have on them.

Other fans? They come prepared -- even if it's in the men's room -- and the coaches are the ones who are caught off guard:

"Sir, I'm not going to sign that arm"
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was on the road with the Razorback Club when one fan plopped his prosthetic arm down on a table for him to sign. There was a space on the forearm for his autograph, right next to an emblem of a Razorback.

"I said, 'Sir, I appreciate that, but I'm not going to sign that arm,'" Bielema said. "He said, 'Why not?' He puts it right down on the table, causing a little bit of a scene."

Bielema reluctantly obliged.

"It was a little bit of everything -- a little guilt, a little remorse, a little of everything," he said. "It was unbelievable."

"It kind of weirded me out"
About two years ago, an Auburn fan handed coach Gus Malzahn a picture to sign. Malzahn scribbled his name on it -- before realizing it was a digital photo of a colonoscopy.

No, really.

"I didn't realize what it was until after I was done signing it," Malzahn said. "It kind of weirded me out. It was a picture. It was an X-ray photo. It had the 'Wow' moment on that one."

"While I was standing at the stall ... the guy was tapping me on the shoulder"
Penn State coach James Franklin was at a speaking event for alumni when he went to take a bathroom break in the hotel lobby.

"While I was standing at the stall, using the commode, the guy was tapping me on the shoulder with a Sharpie asking me to autograph a ball," Franklin said. "I turned around and looked over my shoulder and said, 'Can you give me a minute?' And he stepped over about 5 feet and waited by the sink. When I got done washing my hands, he was there waiting for the autograph."

"I worry about defacing federal property"

At 77, Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder said he still signs anywhere from 10 to 50 items a day, and he is well-known for writing handwritten letters with his signature. Every now and then, he said, a fan will ask him to sign a $100 bill.

"I always ask if they're sure they want to do that, and if it's cleared by their parents if they're younger people," he said. "No. 1, I worry about defacing federal property, and No. 2, a $100 bill is going to come in handy sometime when you need it, so I'm not sure you want me to sign this -- but I always say yes, yes, yes. I'll sign anything for anybody. People are gracious about it, and I appreciate them and it doesn't bother me a bit."

"It's just a monster bra"

Mike Leach was sitting at a table one summer signing autographs as head coach at Texas Tech when about four or five giggling fans approached him. Leach guessed they were in their mid-30s to early 40s and said they couldn't contain their laughter.

"They throw this bra on the table, and I'm not kidding you, this bra could easily hold volleyballs in either side," Leach said. "I mean, it's just a monster bra. Some people talk about double D's -- this would be double volleyballs. I look up because this is kind of a new one. I look up and they're still laughing. They say, 'Could you sign this?'"

Leach wasn't quite sure what to make of it. He asked whose bra it was. "They go, 'Uh, uh' -- and they point back and there's this lady who's laughing herself and is bright red, and it's their mother. It's their mother!"

"I don't know what exactly happened, but there was some sense of victory on the part of the kids that they talked mom out of her bra," he said. "So I'm looking back at her because this bra is big enough that ... so yeah, I happily and proudly signed it. I mean, if anybody's going to put that much energy and thinking and collaboration and teamwork into getting an autograph, I'm more than happy to do it and I'm just honored they asked."

"I didn't want to devalue the painting by putting my signature on it"

Texas coach Tom Herman was overwhelmed.

He stared at the unframed painting (a print of Longhorns charging up a hilltop) in disbelief that he had been asked to add his name to a prestigious group of former head coaches that included Darrell Royal, Mack Brown and Fred Akers.

Ragan Gennusa, who played for Royal in the late 1960s, has become a well-known artist in Austin. He's done a number of Longhorn-themed paintings, including this one that dates back to Royal. Former Texas track coach Bubba Thornton has had it signed by every Texas head football coach dating back to Royal.

It was Herman's turn -- and so far, it's been the most meaningful thing he's ever signed.

"There was no way, I mean, I couldn't even begin to think that anyone would want my signature on anything that could be with Darryl Royal and Mack Brown's signature," he said. "I very sheepishly signed it in a lower right corner, maybe hoping a nice big frame might cover my signature because I felt like, although I was flattered and honored and humbled -- those two guys are both Hall of Famers -- I didn't want to devalue the painting by putting my signature on it."

"They mailed it back to me"
Lane Kiffin was head coach at USC when some of his own autographed items were sent back to him. It had a little something to do with him leaving for the Trojans just 14 months after he was hired in Knoxville.

"A Tennessee fan mailed me things I signed for him because they said they don't want this trash in their house," he said, "so they mailed it back to me."

It wasn't as painful as the request he received from a die-hard Alabama fan who handed him a picture of the 2009 "Rocky Block" play to sign at fan day. Kiffin was the head coach at Tennessee when the Vols lost to the Tide 12-10 after Alabama's Terrence Cody blocked Tennessee's attempt at the game-winning field goal.

Kiffin was Alabama's offensive coordinator when he was handed the picture to sign. "She asked me to sign it with 'Roll Tide' on it," Kiffin said, sounding still incredulous at the request.

"I said, 'I'll sign it, but I don't think I can really write 'Roll Tide' on this picture."

Dabo meets (and signs) Dabo
There is a small, locked closet on the first floor of Clemson's football building that is stacked from floor to ceiling with items autographed by coach Dabo Swinney.

"I've had all kinds of stuff," he said. "I've had casts people cut off and ask me to sign. You name it -- random, random stuff."

Like the boat a man once hauled to practice to have signed. Or the old Mustang one woman asked the entire team and coaches to sign as they walked off the practice field.

Or how about the service dog named Dabo?

About a year ago, a woman who was diabetic emailed Swinney's senior administrative assistant, Beth Douglas, to see if "Dabo could meet Dabo."

"The dog just crawled right into Dabo's lap," Douglas said, "licking him up one side and down the other."

The coach, of course, couldn't resist, and signed the 6-month-old lab's service vest.

Since winning the national championship, Swinney has been signing about 30 things a day, according to Douglas. Clemson hired another assistant, in addition to an intern, to help juggle the influx of calls and emails.

They also get requests for personalized pictures and signed footballs to place in caskets.

"They always say, 'I know he'll cherish this forever,'" Douglas said. "I'm like, 'Well, it's a little bit too late.'"

The Idaho Ambush

In the spring of 2014, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin went on a promotional tour throughout his home state dubbed the "Idaho Ambush." He was at a truck stop when one fan approached him and struck up a conversation about how much he loved the program, and how he had a whole room dedicated to the Broncos, including a Boise State pool table.

Harsin had some time before his next event, so on a whim he suggested they go to the man's house.

"It was one of those spur-of-the-moment deals where I think he actually had to work, but he dropped what he was doing," Harsin said. "It was like, 'Let's go.'"

Harsin checked out the Boise State room, and surprised the fan by signing his pool table.

"To me, that's fun," Harsin said. "That type of stuff is what it's all about. You go into somebody's home, it's decked out in Boise State, they're true fans and they love the program, and it's been that way for a long time. That's the connection you want to have with people that support your program."

"I put 'Go Dawgs' on his forehead"
Then-Georgia coach Mark Richt was at a charity event when one Georgia fan offered to donate a few hundred dollars if a Georgia Tech fan would allow Richt to sign his forehead.

"The Tech fan was a good spirit about it, and said, 'If somebody doubles it, I'll do it,'" Richt said. "I couldn't tell you for sure the amount, but a couple of the Georgia fans jumped in to give the gift to the charity. I signed it with a Sharpie. I put 'Go Dawgs' on his forehead."

Now that Richt is at Miami, he said the autograph requests have slowed down. Richt hasn't seen the last of Georgia Tech fans, though.