SEC icons

I grew up in an era (1960s) when the Southeastern Conference featured some of the greatest coaches and players in the history of college football. Many of those coaches and players are now icons.

With that in mind, I decided to take on the arbitrary task of selecting one coaching icon and one playing icon for each of the 12 SEC schools – guys whose names have become synonymous with the programs.

That said, here goes:

Florida coach: Steve Spurrier. A no-brainer. If Urban Meyer manages to win five SEC titles in his first 10 years at Gainesville, he might warrant consideration. Otherwise, it's The Ol' Ball Coach by a landslide.

Florida player: Spurrier again, although I believe Tim Tebow poses a serious threat.

Georgia coach: Vince Dooley. It's hard to go against a guy who had a 25-year run that featured 201 victories and a national title.

Georgia player: Herschel Walker. He's the reason Dooley won a national title.

Kentucky coach: Jerry Claiborne. Bear Bryant coached the Big Blue but he's far more closely associated with Alabama. Claiborne guided the Wildcats to back-to-back bowl games (1983 and '84), a feat achieved by only two other UK bosses, Bryant and current head man Rich Brooks.

Kentucky player: Lou Michaels. A two-time All-American, he was SEC Most Valuable Player in 1957.

South Carolina coach: Joe Morrison. He produced the winningest season in Gamecock history as a second-year coach, guiding the 1984 team to a 10-2 record and a Gator Bowl berth. He also posted back-to-back 8-win seasons (1987 and '88) before dying of heart disease at age 51 after six seasons in Columbia.

South Carolina player: George Rogers. A two-time All-American with 5,000-plus career rushing yards, he's an easy winner.

Tennessee coach: Bob Neyland. Maybe the greatest coach of all time, he dominated in the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s.

Tennessee player: Doug Atkins. Peyton Manning and Reggie White are better known but Manning was a passer at a school known for running the football, while White had one spectacular year and three so-so years.

Vanderbilt coach: Dan McGugin. He's to Vandy what Bryant is to Bama and what Neyland is to UT. He ranks third all-time among SEC coaches in wins (197) and 10th in winning percentage (.762).

Vanderbilt player: Jay Cutler. He virtually owns the Commodore record book.

UP NEXT: SEC West icons.


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