Wuerffel honored by Hall of Fame induction

Danny Wuerffel couldn't wait. He wasn't supposed to tell anybody about his induction to the College Football Hall of Fame until it was announced on Tuesday, but he had to pick up the phone and call his former head coach, Steve Spurrier, on Monday. Even after the phone went to voice mail, Wuerffel had to take the opportunity to thank his former coach before anyone else knew.

"I just wanted him to know beforehand and took the opportunity to really thank him for all he has done in my life and the way his coaching has impacted much more than just football for me," Danny Wuerffel said.

The honor for Wuerffel brought back multiple memories from his time in Gainesville, most notably during his redshirt freshman season when he hit Chris Doering for a touchdown to win the game at Kentucky. Wuerffel joked on Tuesday that he had just thrown his third interception of the game and Terry Dean already had four of his own.

"Coach was looking up and down the sideline looking for anybody to go in," Wuerffel said with a laugh. "I'm not sure why he let me go back in. If somebody else would've gone in and thrown that last touchdown, who knows how it would've unfolded?"

The question made Tuesday even more special to Wuerffel. Because of that pass, he was able to look back through his four-year career and have the championship rings, trophies and memories that came with it.

"Even the things I imagined (before coming to campus) weren't close to what unfolded," Wuerffel said.

Sitting at Tuesday's press conference for the inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame, Wuerffel was even drawn back when his name was announced and the career numbers followed. He completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdowns and 42 interceptions during his career.

"Even today as they were reading the stats of those four years, I kind of wanted to pinch myself to make sure that I'm not dreaming," Wuerffel said. "As a kid, you dream about what could be. What we experienced those four years was better than anything I ever dreamed of."

The Gators went 45-6-1 from 1993-1996, winning the Southeastern Conference title in each of those years. Florida also had a 30-2 record in SEC play during those four years.

"Starting with that pass to Chris and finishing with the win over Florida State, it couldn't have been a better bookend of four years. We had challenges -- but not many," Wuerffel said.

With all the memories and the honors that came with Tuesday, Spurrier was always at the center of them for Wuerffel. That's why he got the first call on Monday, even before Wuerffel was supposed to make it public.

"The memories that we had, the wins, the championships that we had," Wuerffel said. "Those were all under his leadership. There were so many things about life that you learn. You can just hear him now saying, ‘you've got to be flexible.' Life throws a lot of punches and curveballs, so don't get too attached to our expectations. Being flexible is a great lesson I learned from Coach Spurrier."

Wuerffel originally got the call about his induction on Friday afternoon and only told his wife about the honor. The past few days have allowed the honor to sink in for him, calling it "one of the biggest things ever."

In typical Wuerffel fashion, he often turned his teleconference with Florida reporters into an opportunity to thank everyone in Gainesville and with the university for the contributions to his career.

"The overriding emotion has really connected me back to the moments at the University of Florida and the people, relationships and all the hard work by so many people to make this possible," Wuerffel said. "It's this feeling of being moved, touched and very grateful of all that came into place for this to happen."

Wuerffel was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2011 and has continued to recover since then. He said on Tuesday that he's between 90-95 percent recovered from it and continues to improve.

"I'm feeling really grateful and thankful," Wuerffel said. "I'm able to exercise at a much more normal level. It has been a really hard two years, but it has also been really good.

"The way that Gator Nation has reached out and has supported, it was been encouraging and overwhelming many times in my life. I'm very thankful that I'm a Gator."


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