He, of course, is Steve Spurrier, and folks in Athens have been waiting 10 years for his return to Sanford Stadium. The fact that Spurrier will be coaching South Carolina against the No. 13 Bulldogs (1-0) this Saturday is incidental to most.
The first and only time Spurrier coached a game in Athens, he led his Florida Gators to a 52-17 whipping of the Bulldogs that included an 8-yard scoring pass from backup quarterback Eric Kresser to redshirt freshman Travis McGriff with 1:10 left in the game. It's still the only time an opponent has scored more than 50 points in Sanford Stadium, and Spurrier made it clear after the game that he knew he was setting a record.
"A lot of our coaches have mentioned to me that no one had scored 50 points in here before, so we wanted to do that," he said after the game. "We wanted to try to make it memorable for the Gators, and it was." It's the kind of beating and the kind of comment that sticks with a fan base. Twenty-one-year-old Steve Tippins, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, was 11 years old at the time and still remembers the view from his seat in the southwest corner of the stadium, he said.
"I can tell you this, man, I hate Steve Spurrier more than any other man in this world," he said Monday while spending Labor Day at his fraternity house on UGA's campus. "I can't wait to beat him so bad on Saturday that he cries. I don't care how many times he throws that visor."
Spurrier made no apologies this week for the late touchdown in the 1995 game or his 11-1 overall record against the Bulldogs, all of which came while he was at Florida.
"We had scored 50 on them the year before in The Swamp so it was not an unusual day," he said. "Those teams we had back then were scoring a lot of points."
He's also not too worried about the heavily favored Bulldogs settling that decade-old score.
"I don't know what the final score will be," he said. "I'm going in there thinking we've got a chance. I'm not going in there thinking we'll get clobbered. Whatever happens, you won't hear me complaining about it."
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday he understands how badly the Bulldog Nation wants to humiliate Spurrier between the hedges, but insisted he's not interested in "style points." His fans hope, if the situation arises Saturday, he'll change his mind.
"I think Mark Richt, if he has a chance, will send a message to ol' Steve Spurrier because of his loyalty to Bobby Bowden," said Brian Fortson, who owns Fortson's clothing store in downtown Athens.
Richt is 0-1 as a head coach against Spurrier and has a long history with the Evil Genius from Richt's time as an assistant coach at Florida State.
Chad Glover, a 22-year-old bartender at Cutters Pub in downtown Athens, can think of another good reason to have Spurrier back in town.
"As hated as he is," Glover said, "I think everybody missed him because there was nobody to hate while he was gone."
Steve Spurrier against the Bulldogs
Year Result Site Georgia coach
1990 38-7 win Jacksonville, Fla. Ray Goff
1991 45-13 win Jacksonville, Fla. Ray Goff
1992 26-24 win Jacksonville, Fla. Ray Goff
1993 33-26 win Jacksonville, Fla. Ray Goff
1994 52-14 win Gainesville, Fla. Ray Goff
1995 52-17 win Athens, Ga. Ray Goff
1996 47-7 win Jacksonville, Fla. Jim Donnan
1997 37-17 loss Jacksonville, Fla. Jim Donnan
1998 38-7 win Jacksonville, Fla. Jim Donnan
1999 30-14 win Jacksonville, Fla. Jim Donnan
2000 34-23 win Jacksonville, Fla. Jim Donnan
2001 24-10 win Jacksonville, Fla. Mark Richt