By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Hoover, Ala. -- I'm a huge fan of history. Learning about the past has always been a hobby of mine, as I've tried to gain insight from the moments of yesteryear. My feeling was that an ounce of knowledge you could gain from events that happened before your time gives you that much more experience for today. I know that sounds a bit corny, but it is the truth.
Who would have thought an office reconstruction would rekindle that passion?
The Southeastern Conference offices are getting a facelift. Starting this past (and current) summer, a crew has undergone the task of remaking the home of the league's employees. The sounds of progress, namely drills and hammers, have become a soundtrack for the past few months, giving everyone in the office the chance to see change happen daily. Times are changing indeed.
For me, reconstruction has meant relocation. My former area is set to become a storage room, so I was one of the first to move once the project began. My temporary home is now the Kramer-Moore Conference Center, aptly named after the two former SEC commissioners. In a corner of that wide space, I've made a home for the Digital Network.
Now, I'm not the only one in that room. In an ironic twist, seeing as how my former home was becoming a storage center, my current home was already the storage center. Filing cabinets are stacked all over, with makeshift signs on the wall designating space for each department at the SEC. But, among that rubble, you'll can find the history of the Southeastern Conference. Everywhere.
It is among that pile of documents I spent yesterday afternoon, literally thumbing my fingers through over 80 years of conference lore. There were famous books, newspaper articles and league memos that covered the entire length of the SEC's existence. Some of those highlights are shared with you below.
Let the trip down SEC memory lane begin.
An SEC Meeting...From 1933
When is the last time you just happened to run across a document that was nearly 80 years old? I did just that, finding this minutes memo from an SEC meeting in 1933. Hosted at the Biltmore Hotel in Atlanta, some of the most influential leaders in SEC history sat together to discuss what was then a new league. History indeed.
Same State Love In 1976
Digging through the newspaper archives, I found this sports page from September 19, 1976. In the Clarion-Ledger, both Ole Miss and Mississippi State shared a spot on the front, both winning their previous contest.
Georgia...With A Guest Appearance By Mickey Mantle
How often can you say your favorite team shared a sports page with one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived? You can in this photo, as Georgia 18-17 win over Alabama in 1965 took precedent over a photo of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. The archive comes from the September 19, 1965 edition of the Atlanta Journal/Constitution.
Full Page Preview
In something you rarely see anymore, two full pages of the Clarion-Ledger were committed to an Ole Miss-Alabama preview. What's even more interesting is the fact that there isn't a single article on the page. This preview is told in pictures.
Gators/Bulldogs In 1976
We know the rivalry between Georgia and Florida is storied, but just in case you need a reminder check out this photo below. Printed by the Gainesville Sun on November 7, 1976, a certain coach, who you might see again, takes the blame for his team's play.
Carried Off The Field
Former Georgia head coach Vince Dooley, who took blame in the photo before, now gets carried of the field for beating in-state rival Georgia Tech. This page comes from the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, and was from November 28, 1965.
The Faces Tell The Story
The picture below says it all. This SEC Basketball Tournament preview ran in the Birmingham News on February 24, 1980.
Bear's Final Chapter
In this newspaper headline, you get to see one of the SEC's most historically known coach in a key moment in his career. The Birmingham Post-Herald ran this story on December 30, 1982, after Alabama captured a Liberty Bowl win. By the way, check the author of the story. You might have heard of him since his newspaper days.
Herschel, Herschel, Herschel
While Bear Bryant might be the SEC's most well-known coach; you can argue that Georgia's Herschel Walker might be the league's most well known player. The talented running back is featured in this Nashville Banner article from December 1, 1982, after he'd been named SEC Player of the Year by the publication.
Dye's A Winner
Auburn's Pat Dye gets the top of the fold treatment in this article from September 6, 1981 in the Birmingham News.
A Record Day For Emmitt Smith
Former Florida star Emmitt Smith, who will go down as one of the best running backs in NFL history, reaches a college milestone in this article. From October 18, 1987, the Gainesville Sun featured Smith as the cover story after the Gators 34-3 win over Temple.
Bruinburgers For Tennessee
The Knoxville News-Sentinel wins our most creative title of the group, as this story from November 3, 1968 proclaims UCLA as "Bruinburgers" for the Vols.