By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Birmingham, Ala. -- Today is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. The "day" I speak of only lasts about 30 minutes, but it provides some of the coolest environments you can witness as an SEC fan.
What "day" am I talking about? That would be when the SEC Football Coaches have one of their two yearly meetings at the conference office, discussing league issues and laying groundwork for the 2012 season.
Today was that day.
As we discussed in our special "Q&A" last year
, this event allows the coaches to meet as a group, complete with an agenda discussing the game and other issues facing them collectively. They meet twice a year per SEC policy, with one time coming at the conference office. The other get-together is at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin. The timing is specific for this winter meeting, because it fits into the SEC legislative process for possible SEC and NCAA legislation.
My job during this time is to try and explain what it is like to actually watch the coaches as they arrive. I don't actually sit in the meeting (there are SEC staff members that attend along with the coaches), so we spend our time taking photos of the coaches as they interact with each other.
It can be an amazing scene, watching 14 of the biggest names in collegiate athletics mingle as if they were your average everyday person. These coaches all know each other, and use the moments before the meeting begins to catch up on each other lives. I say 14 because today's meeting included Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin and Missouri's Gary Pinkel, a first here at the SEC office. As you'll see below, Sumlin and Pinkel took a few photos to commemorate the occasion.
It isn't every day you see this group hanging around. I hope the photos below can do my words a little justice and explain what the atmosphere is like when the football coaches are in the house.
Prior to every coaches' arrival, packets are laid out in the meeting room where they will later convene. As you can see in the photo below, each folder of materials is designated by name and logo.
Franklin And Phillips Pose For The Camera
I do my best to make sure I don't intrude on the coaches, since they are here for a meeting and shouldn't be hassled. But, it is a balancing act, since we'd like to get as many photos as possible of the coaches here at the office. In this photo, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and Kentucky head man Joker Phillips agreed to snap a picture for us. There were getting set up in the main conference room.
The Ole Miss Folder
As I mentioned earlier, each SEC coach gets their own packet. Here's a close up of what the top right edge of the folder reads, as you can see this particular packet belongs to new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.
The "Mizzou" Packet
This was Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel's first ever SEC Football Coaches Meeting, and his packet was set up among the group as well.
Shaw and Mullen
With the coaches arriving with time to spare before the meeting began, you saw scenes like the one below all over the SEC lobby. In this photo, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen talks with SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw. Shaw is part of the SEC contingent that meets with the coaches group.
Miles and "New Guy"
In this photo, longtime SEC coach Les Miles snaps a picture with Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. The two were chatting and agreed to let me snap this photo.
First Time In Town
Both A&M's Sumlin and Missouri's Pinkel took a special photo by the Aggie and Tiger flags that hang in the main foyer of the SEC building.
The Helmet Photo
There are both a Missouri and Texas A&M helmet that have been featured in the upstairs lobby area of the SEC office since both universities were named to be a part of the SEC. Sumlin and Pinkel took a photograph with the helmets in front of the SEC logo in the downstairs lobby. (Photo by RD Moore)
The Group Shot
As is customary every time the football coaches are in town, there is a group shot taken of them in the front area of the SEC office. In this picture, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive (center) joins the group of 14 football coaches. (Photo by RD Moore)