I don't know about you, but I'm a little surprised at the final rock formation left from our Mount Rushmore poll.
To me, it was always going to be Erk Russell, Adrian Peterson, Tracy Ham and Paul Johnson.
During the nomination process some took issue with Johnson's coaching another in-state team. I just figured it was a small minority. Then again, maybe Roger Inman is just that popular.
I've known the name Roger Inman for a long time, and knew he was the guy who kept Paulson Stadium's grass so perfect every season (BTW, I get the switch to artificial turf, but sure wish they'd stick to a natural grass field). But being a younger guy I was somewhat surprised to read his name in Erk Russell's autobiography. Inman was barely out of college himself when he became part of Georgia Southern's fledgling football program in the early 1980s.
Today he's listed as an athletics facilities consultant. Soon that title will change to "member of Georgia Southern football's Mount Rushmore."
Or something like that.
Inman has been in Statesboro since 1977, serving first as a student, then as a business manager, equipment manager, ticket manager, bus driver, part-time trainer and whole bunch of other things. He even brought a canoe to the Hugo Bowl just in case anybody needed one. From a 2006 Savannah Morning News profile:
Two plans collided and now maybe it's hard to separate Georgia Southern athletics from Inman, a guy who has been the cornerstone of the program for nearly 27 years.
"Georgia Southern is my second home," said Inman, who has been in charge of GSU athletic facilities for 14 years. "I'd hate to be the generic state employee, give it 40 hours and go home. ... If I didn't enjoy what I do, I wouldn't have been here until 8 o'clock last night."
A former GSU athletic director used to say Inman could grow grass on a rock.
It's somewhat ironic Inman beat out Johnson, (who came in fifth) for the spot. The two have known each other for decades and Inman played in a role in the hilarious story of how Georgia Southern ended up playing Navy in 2010:
"[HWSNBN] had made some comments that he didn't think too highly of the (triple option) offense, and Paul called me up and said, 'I need to talk to (athletics director) Sam (Baker) and get Georgia Southern on the schedule,'" Inman said. "I said, 'Why do you want to play us?' And he said, 'Because I want to beat the hell out of [HWSNBN].' "
So congrats to Inman, and as a fan it's pretty cool to see a non-athlete or coach make the list.
The other three went as I predicted. Erk got an auto-bid, and the other two slots went to the Eagles' only two retired jerseys. Those are the #8 of Tracy Ham, the quarterback of Georgia Southern's first two national championship teams in 1985 and 1986, and the #3 of Adrian Peterson, the record-setting running back of the 1999 and 2000 national title winners.
Both had successful pro careers as well. Petersen spent a decade with the NFL's Chicago Bears, while Ham was elected to the Canadian football hall of fame. Today, you'll find Peterson on the sidelines at many an Eagles game and Ham works for the school as associate athletic director.
Elsewhere in the voting, it's clear Brooks Keel is making an impression. We had a bit of low voter turnout, but Keel drew more votes than Allen E. Paulson, Jayson Foster, Raymond Gross and Dale Lick.
And though no-one is going to actually carve anything (unless one of y'all really wants to), we did get a cartoon version of the mountain from our multi-talented Western Kentucky writer Andrew Thomas:
Until the next time we come up with an offseason game to play: