First-Year Coach Sonny Dykes, Legend Coach Bob Stoops and Freshman Player of the Year Drake Maye attend Coach Steve Spurrier Event
By Patricia Garzon
Gainesville, Fla. – Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier welcomed some of the most elite names in college football to Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille on Feb. 27 for one of the most unique award celebration events of its kind.
Texas Christian University Coach Sonny Dykes, former University of Oklahoma Head Coach and current XFL Coach Bob Stoops, and UNC Quarterback Drake Maye ,all attended the annual Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach, Legend Coach and Freshman Player of the Year Awards Dinner presented by Chris Doering Mortgage.
Dykes, who attended the event with his two daughters, received the First-Year Coach Award named after Spurrier.
“It’s an absolute honor to be selected for the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach Award,” said Dykes, who led the Horned Frogs to a CFP Championship Game appearance and 14-2 record after the program had finished 5-7 the season before he arrived.
“With what Coach Spurrier represents on and off the field and the impact he has made on our game, this truly means a lot to me. It’s very humbling to receive an award with his name on it. I’m very appreciative of my players and staff. They deserve the credit for our special season. This award is for them and all of TCU, as well as, Fort Worth.”
Spurrier noted how TCU posted a series of thrilling comeback, lifting the Horned Frogs high above preseason expectations, which had them finishing seventh in the Big 12.
Most notably, TCU staged a 17-point rally to beat Oklahoma State, an 18-point rally to beat Kansas State a week later, and held Texas without an offensive score in a 17-10 win in Austin.
The inaugural Steve Spurrier Legend Coach of the Year Award went to Stoops, a former Gators defensive coordinator who won a national championship in Gainesville at Spurrier’s side in 1996 before leaving to lead the Sooners to the national championship in 2000 in his second season as head coach in Norman
Stoops spent 18 years at the helm in Oklahoma, posting a 191-48 record from 1999-2016 that included 10 Big 12 conference championships.
Stoops’ trophy case is full, to be sure, as he is also a two-time national coach of the year, six-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and a College Football Hall of Fame Inductee.
The Freshman Player of the Year was presented by Chris Doering Mortgage to Drake Maye, the quarterback at the University of North Carolina. Maye attended the event with his parents, sharing stories of how the North Carolina program still remembers how a Spurrier-led Duke team beat the Tar Heels 41-0 in 1989 and uses that as pregame motivation to this day.
Doering, an SEC Network analyst who also serves on the FWAA panel that selects the award winners, was extremely impressed with Maye’s presence on and off the field.
"The quarterback position is one of natural leadership,” Doering said. “But here is a redshirt freshman coming in following an accomplished starter like Sam Howell, who had moved on to the NFL, and not only did he not miss a beat, he elevated them.”
Maye completed 342 of 517 passes (66.2%) for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns while also leading the Tar Heels in rushing with 698 yards and seven touchdowns.
He is just the sixth quarterback since 2010 to post 4,000 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 650 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in a season. The others in that group: Kyler Murray (2018), DeShaun Watson (2015, '16), Marcus Mariota (2014), Johnny Manziel (2013) and Robert Griffin III (2011). All of the aforementioned players either won the Heisman Trophy or finished as the runner-up, which is yet another reason why many project Maye as the Heisman Trophy favorite entering the 2023 season.
Maye headlined a 32-member FWAA’s Freshman All-America Team. National champion Georgia, LSU and Penn State each had two players on the team, which had all 10 FBS conferences, plus independents, represented.
The awards ceremony took place amid the sort of picture-perfect weather Florida is known for at Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille, where guests enjoyed an elegant dinner before making their way out to the event lawn for a stage trophy presentation.
Spurrier, Doering and FWAA Past President Mike Griffith, of AJC-DawgNation, headlined the presentation.
Several Florida greats were in attendance, including Jason Odom, Doug Johnson, Travis McGriff, Judd Davis, Cooper Carlisle, Jacquez Green, James Bates, Mike Peterson and Larry Kennedy. Tommy Townsend, of the Kansas City Chiefs, was also back in Gainesville for the event coming straight off being a part of a Super Bowl win.
Spurrier said he looks forward to next year’s event, as there are several hall of fame coaches under consideration for the “Legend” award, and plenty of first-year coaches in college quarterbacks looking to make an award-winning difference in their respective programs.
ABOUT CHRIS DOERING MORTGAGE
Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, FL, was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of MortgageAdvisors.com – 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 – NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. For more information, visit www.ChrisDoeringMortgage.com. Chris Doering serves as the branch manager.
ABOUT FOOTBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at (214) 870-6516 or email@example.com.
ABOUT SPURRIER’S GRIDIRON GRILLE
Located in Celebration Pointe, Gainesville , FL on Spurrier Way, Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille is part restaurant, part football museum, boasting an authentic, action-packed atmosphere where the Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier could share his legacy. The college football legend who has made a career of making history is doing it again. This time in the restaurant industry. An immersive dining experience like no other, right in the heart of Gator Nation. For more information visit www.spurriers.com.