Book Review: Head Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier, 2016)

“A winner always has time to do what’s important.” – Steve Spurrier

This is a good book to read, especially if you think you know who Spurrier is and what he is all about. Seen by many as cocky and arrogant, he certainly doesn’t come across that way in these pages. I found him to be confident, as a successful coach of his caliber should be, but more so I found him to be transparent and quite down-to-earth. I didn’t find him to be arrogant in any way.

With much of this book showcasing his philosophy of life, he has dedicated himself to personal relationships with his family, his coaches, and his football players. That is the essence of his success on and off the football field. For football fans outside of Florida, however, he is best remembered for running up the score on his opponents. I’ll have to admit that as a younger fan in those days, I didn’t initially care much for him while he was coaching the Gators in the 1990s, but he eventually won me over with his sense of humor. I think that by the time he had arrived at South Carolina a few years later, he was a fan favorite nationwide. That personality comes across well in this book.

What I enjoyed most about this one were the recollections of his favorite games as a player and a coach, as well as his candidness and honesty about his regrets and mistakes (in football and in life) along the way. He took his role as Head Ball Coach seriously, knowing his impact on those around him, while at the same time not taking himself too seriously, realizing that football was important but not most important:

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“There is such a fine line between failure and success, between life and death, depending on what path you take on that particular day. Choices we make are so critical, even if we don’t realize how critical at the time. Which is why we need spiritual guidance.”

The last couple of chapters (“Things I Probably Said” and “Jerri: My Head Ball Coach”) were among the best in the book and serve as appropriate takeaways for the reader to remember Spurrier as someone with a healthy sense of humor who wasn’t perfect but always cared about his family and friends.

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