- SEC commish pays tribute to legends
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Date: Monday, July 11 2016
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SEC commish pays tribute to legends

In the wake of the social unrest, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, convening his second SEC Media Days, offered his thoughts.

Sankey talked about how the current problems facing this country affects him. He also paid homage to former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and addressed problems related to transfers and incoming freshmen.

But he also lauded some of the best of the SEC. There are no teams currently on NCAA probation, Sankey said. He singled out a dozen or so SEC athletes who have brought honor to the league. One of them was Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

"Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs, we talked about him before. He leads a football team, he's an aerospace engineering major," Sankey said of the Vols' quarterback. "One of the things you find, he took time to write a young fifth grade girl, encouraging her as she deals with hair loss due to a medical condition known as alopecia."

Sankey said the SEC has offered these athletes opportunities.

"Examples of these young men, and the thousands of young men and young women in our athletics department, show you that they are making the most of the opportunity they have in the Southeastern Conference," said the commissioner. "They were the lifeblood of our conference, they are why we do what we do and they will continue to tell their stories as we keep striving to sustain the high standards of performance on the field and in the classroom and in the community."

Steve Spurrier is missing his first SEC media session since 1990. Summitt passed away on June 28, Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley and CBS announcer Verne Lundquist each announced their retirements. Sankey noted their contributions.

"Pat was a pillar of the Southeastern Conference. She's on par with many of the great names, may have set the standard for all of the great names that are a part of this conference," he said of Summitt. "Her impact is felt every day in the lives of the young people she mentored. Their ongoing success is living proof of Pat's influence and truly positive impact of intercollegiate athletics."

Foley left an impact at Florida.

"One of those, Jeremy Foley, called me a few weeks ago, early on a Monday morning, to say: I'm going to announce my retirement. He's one of the many that's made those contributions, as I noted. During his tenure at the University of Florida, earned 27 national championships in a variety of sports, including three in football," Sankey said. "Jeremy has passionately lead the Florida athletics program. He has set an example by having high expectations that people around him do things the right way, and he has enthusiastically supported student-athletes in every sport."

Sankey paid tribute to Spurrier.

"We will miss Steve's unique football genius, and you will miss the entertaining quotes he offered annually at SEC Football Media Days. To honor Steve and fill some of your sludge space, I spent much of the last week searching for one of his quotes that I, as commissioner, could share here today," the commissioner said. " I found exactly one of his quotes, not involving free shoes, astronomy, shiny cars or the Citrus Bowl which means I can use that one quote in front of you. Steve once said: I don't want to coach too far into my 60s. By that time I'll be playing golf four or five times a week."

Verne Lundquist has been a fixture in the CBS broadcast booth, calling Southeastern Conference football games. He will step down at the end of this season.

"In the season ahead we can say thank you and good-bye to our friend Verne Lundquist. Verne has been the voice of the SEC during some of the most exciting times in the history of our conference. We look forward to hearing him call the games through the coming season," Sankey said. "It's fitting that Verne's final game on CBS as the voice of the SEC will be this December in the Georgia Dome, our final championship game in the Georgia Dome. In fact, it's our 25th SEC football championship game."

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