Back one morning in 1992, the phone of sports columnist Mike Bianchi rang. On the other end was Steve Spurrier.
"Got a story for you, Bianchi." Spurrier said. "We're gonna start calling our home field 'The Swamp'. what do you think?"
As Spurrier explained twenty years ago, “Us Gators are comfortable in there, but we want our opponents to be tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.” In other words, in swamps, only gators get out alive.
Bianchi, who was somewhat surprised at the time, reflected back on the phone call.
“My first thought when I heard it was, this guy is the sports world’s most unlikely marketing savant. We all knew he was a great coach and a great player, but more than anything he was a Gator through and through.”
Spurrier met with the communications director, Norm Carlson, a few times that off season to brainstorm some nicknames for the field. As Carlson remembers, one nickname that didn't make the cut was "Gator Bog."
After doing some research, Carlson discovered that the president of the University at the time had picked out the location for the field, and described the area being a "swampy depression" at the time. Pipes were brought in to drain the area, and over 60 years later a nickname was born.
Under Spurrier, the Gators went an impressive 68-5 at "The Swamp", and are 122-18 since the stadium debuted it's nickname in Bianchi's article...and it all started with an unexpected phone call from the ol ball coach.
A great example of coaches utilizing their relationships with the media to help their cause.