HS Football Media Day brings out stars at Spurrier’s

Football legend Steve Spurrier (left) made an appearance Tuesday at the 2023 High School Football Media Day hosted at his restaurant in Celebration Pointe.
Football legend Steve Spurrier (left) made an appearance Tuesday at the 2023 High School Football Media Day hosted at his restaurant in Celebration Pointe.
Photo by C.J. Gish

High School Football Media Day for the 2023 season came to Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille in Celebration Pointe for the first time on Tuesday.

And one interested observer was the owner himself, the “Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier.

Twenty local high school teams spent six hours talking to local media to kick off the 2023 football season, including Gainesville, Eastside, Buchholz, Santa Fe, Newberry and Oak Hall among others.

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And in the afternoon the players and coaches were treated to an appearance by Spurrier, who was on hand to record a podcast.

Spurrier, who won six SEC titles and a national championship as coach of the Gators from 1990-2001, retired to the Gainesville area after his stint as head coach of South Carolina from 2005-15.

And in August 2021 his restaurant opened to much fanfare in Celebration Pointe.

The Buchholz Bobcats kicked off the 2023 High School Football Media Day at Spurrier's Gridiron Grille on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish The Buchholz Bobcats kicked off the 2023 High School Football Media Day at Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille on Tuesday.

“We are really proud of what we have been able to put together here,” Spurrier said. “The people who work here are outstanding. It’s like a team with good workers, atmosphere is good, and the food is outstanding. Everybody tells me the food is outstanding, and that’s what makes a good restaurant.”

Spurrier had some thoughts on the upcoming edition of Florida Gators football, which is not receiving a lot of good press in this preseason.

“We aren’t picked very high, we are picked fifth in the East,” Spurrier said. “I can’t remember the last time we were picked fifth in the East. I think we are heading in the right direction and I guess that’s the way to look at it.

“We have a strong bunch of recruits committed for next year, so we are going to have to scratch and claw and scrape out a bunch of wins to have a winning season this year.”

With SEC Media Days going on this week in Nashville, Spurrier has been a part of 21 Media Days in the past. He says it’s just part of the job.

“You go do it and try to enjoy it while you are doing it,” Spurrier said. “But the most fun is the game itself — always for me — and practice for the players getting ready to play and competing. Everybody is talking a little bit, but that sort of builds up the interest and excitement as you get ready for the season.”

The University of Georgia captured the last two conference and national titles with back-to-back 15-0 seasons. Georgia has always been a rival for Spurrier, but he admits the Bulldogs are “top dog” right now.

“They (Georgia) are loaded with lineman and their schedule is very sweet for them,” Spurrier said. “Some people don’t realize how important that schedule is all the time. They don’t play Alabama and they don’t play LSU this year and they are probably three of the best teams in the SEC right now. They have the schedule set up right and they have a chance to win them all and get to the SEC game and see what happens.”

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