Last night was a treat! Coach Pat Dye, who coached at Auburn while I was there, spoke at the Chamber of Commerce annual banquet in my hometown. My sister and I had been tipped off that our dad was receiving the Community Service award, so Coach Dye provided the perfect ruse for us showing up there. My dad was surprised to receive his very well-deserved award, and it was a fun night with family and seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time.
And, y’all, Coach Dye is hilarious. I was aware of his folksy and very southern witticisms over the years, but I’d never met him or heard him speak in person. He shared anecdotes from his youth and coaching years, throwing in little gems of wisdom about working hard and being willing to go the extra mile. He made it clear that he loved coaching and loves his life now, and he loved and still loves his players. And even though he in his seventies and speaks in a manner that sometimes suggests he’s losing his train of thought, it’s really that his mind is going faster than his mouth. He has vivid recall of details from long ago games, even down to the names of crooked refs in 1984!
Even though he played at the University of Georgia and was an assistant coach at the University of Alabama under Bear Bryant, his heart is Auburn through and through. He believes in Auburn, and he loves it.
Oh, and I made an exception to my No New Books in 2014 resolution to buy his After the Arena, which he signed for me.