Stellar Tight End
Part of ECU Lore
Always a Winner, Damon Pope Learned
the True Meaning of Winning as a Pirate
Damon Pope plows ahead in his East
Carolina playing days
(Photo: ECU SID)
Damon Pope was always a winner. Bigger than his
peers from his earliest days in sport, Pope always attracted attention
and found winning to be a recurring theme in his football
In fact, winning was so normal for Pope that a tough freshman
season at East Carolina in 1981 brought the promising tight end to a
crossroads that he would later learn was more about manhood than about
He nearly left the program because it wasn’t a winner.
In the end, he stayed and learned as his journey unfolded that a winner created from
within stands much taller than the guy who rides shotgun with a winner.
It has paid dividends in life well beyond the glory
and disappointment of the college gridiron. Today, Pope is a co-owner of
a pair of medical supply stores in the Atlanta, GA, area. He is a
successful entrepreneur, an involved and loving father, and a bigger ECU
fan than ever.
Though he always worked hard, football success
seemingly came easy to Pope from a young age. He found himself
gravitating to the challenges of being the youngest in the group.
“You know, I was a typical child who loved to be
outside all the time… I stayed outside constantly playing with all my
neighborhood friends,” Pope said. “I always tried to hang with my
brother and his older friends. Dexter (Pope) was seven years older than
me, but hanging out with older guys is where I learned how to play
football. I started playing organized football in fifth grade with a
recreational team in Athens (GA). From that point on, I got into it and
stayed with it until the end of college.”
It was through his brother that he found the one
ingredient he needed to exploit his talents and make his own way.
“Sports teaches you a lot of lessons,” he said. “I
played football, baseball, basketball… all of them. I attribute it to my
brother – who is now deceased. One day I was with him and I was very shy
and quiet at that time in my life. I was with him and he walked me up to
the coach and said to him, ‘He wants to play football.’ So the coach
asked me if I wanted to play and I said, ‘Yes.’ From that point on, he
told me to be there the next day and what to do and I was there the next
day and I was into football ever since.”
Until then, Pope’s only football experience had
been in the neighborhood games. But those games were sufficient
instruction for an emerging ball player.
“My first position
was tight end and I’ve always played that and defensive end since I
started,” he said. “Even in high school, I played tight end of course
and up until I was on the varsity, I was tight end and defensive end.
Once I was on the varsity, I was faced with a decision (to choose
between) defense and offense and I chose
offense. I guess it was the thrill of catching the ball and touchdowns.
Offense was always a little more glamorous to me. I wanted to score the
While Pope evolved as a prep player, he did it
mostly under the observation of his brother.
“At that point in time, my dad was doing
construction work and he was pretty much out of town on the weekdays and
came home on weekends,” Pope said. “He traveled all over the country
with his company. He was a foreman – actually a carpenter by trade – and
he pretty much traveled and got home when he could. Mom was there
keeping the household together. My dad eventually began to work within a
radius where he could come home on a daily basis by my junior year. He
was a big football fan, definitely. Mom was not worried about me at all.
At least she never admitted that she worried about me getting hurt, even
though I have had pretty much every injury you could imagine.
“I was always bigger than my peers at that point in
time I was always bigger – skinny – but pretty much bigger than my
friends and so I stood out anywhere we went.”
Football was a natural fit for Pope.
“I guess I took to football the first time I played
organized ball,” he said. “I tried baseball but what took me away from
that as a child was that I played with older guys and I could never hit
the ball and it frustrated me. I struck out every time at bat. I was
playing with guys three years older than me. I ran track and loved to
swim. Stayed in the pool constantly during the summer. I played a little
basketball. I tried it but I wasn’t too good at it. Couldn’t dribble too
Pope knew he would be testing his abilities among
some of the finest prep footballers in the country at Clark Central High
“In high school they had the 8th and 9th
grade teams, the junior varsity and the varsity,” he said of Clark High. “It
was a big deal to me to try and make the C team and that was a big deal
for me to make that team being in middle school, but playing high school
football... that is where I guess the love for football really began. I
also started developing a name for myself right then as a good
all-around tight end. I did a lot of blocking and made some catches. It
was the position I had fallen in love with. I could always catch… that
was not a problem, catching and running. But, that is where I began to
develop a name for myself at the high school level. I played two years
of C team football in my 8th and 9th grade year.
Then I skipped over junior varsity and I started in 10th
grade on the varsity team.”
Once again, Pope
found himself competing with more mature athletes.
“It was an eye opener because I was playing with
guys much older and bigger than myself and yet I was there,” he said.
“At that point in time with Clark Central we were one of the national
powerhouse teams in high school football. Basically, it was an honor
just to be on the team at Clark Central and that was the mindset around
there at that time. Being a sophomore playing on the varsity team was a
big deal… a very big deal. And to start? Actually, the starting tight end
got injured and there were other tight ends on the team, but with my
ability being equal or a little bit more, I was the starter.”
Pope was simply excited to be there. His thoughts
were not on college football at all.
“My 9th grade year on the C team I
didn’t know much about college,” he said. “I was the first of the entire
Pope family to go to college. Not knowing anything about college, I’m
seeing the older guys on the team and coaches coming in from colleges
and I’m overhearing the guys talking about taking visits to colleges on
weekends and traveling. I’m listening to this and I see myself shining
at Clark and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘I want to do this some day. When
my senior year comes I want to go to college and I don’t want my parents
to have to pay for it.’ I actually made the decision after a game we had
played down in Macon, GA, for a spring jamboree and I had a very good
game that day – caught several passes, scored some touchdowns and had a
“There was a college coach from USC
(South Carolina) watching
another player, and my coach at the time told me to watch out for him. I
knew that coach; it was Ray Goff who had been the quarterback at Georgia
years before. He was my 6th and 7th grade physical
education teacher when he was student teaching and I got to know him
back then. So he recognized me and from that point on our relationship
evolved and he kept his eye on me and USC was one of the schools that
offered me (a scholarship).”
Though he grew up in the shadow of the University
of Georgia, Pope never dreamed of playing there.
“I never really was a Georgia fan being less than
three minutes from campus and my mom working at one of the dorms at
campus, I was over there quite often,” he said. “I wanted to get away
from home, so Georgia was never a factor in my college choices. The
Bulldogs were never in the running. I wanted to get away for college.”
Though his second year at Clark was a bit
abbreviated, Pope began establishing himself as a player.
a more recent visit to the East
Carolina campus (Photo:
“Sophomore year, we went to the playoffs and lost
one or two games in the regular season,” he said. “I had weak ankles and
they stayed sprained all the time. I started my first three games and
then injured my ankle and that knocked me out for the rest of the
season. My junior year, I was starting and played to the third game
again and then broke my ankle and knocked me out the rest of that
season. We won every game and won the state title and finished in the
top five in the nation. I made it back for the state championship game,
and of course I couldn’t play and I was so upset. That was a very hard
pill to swallow.”
With little action on the field as a sophomore,
even a good junior season didn’t bring the interest from colleges Pope was hoping
“Honestly, I got no attention,” he said. “The first
letters I began to receive from college (came) my senior year in pre-season. I
got a lot of letters from Georgia Tech and a coach came down to see the
spring game. I didn’t understand how I started to get all the attention. I
had only played six games on the varsity in two years. All of a sudden,
I’m getting letters and I’m ranked as a top-10 player in Georgia. I’m
trying to figure out how that happened. No one has seen me play really.
But, I guess someone knew something I didn’t know. From that point on,
letters were coming in from all over. We had Billy Henderson who was one
of the top high school coaches in Georgia. He is known widely. He of
course got my name out there to teams to let them know what I could do.”
His senior year, Pope found his name on a lot of
college A lists.
“Once the season started, the coaches could see
me,” he said. “And I didn’t get hurt all season. I was glad my dad,
Charlie Pope, got to see that season because I usually told him about it
and he wasn’t at the games. He made all the games that year. He was big
supporter. Dexter was alive then… my brother passed in 1984. Actually, I
was coming back from school when he died of pneumonia. I got in and
learned he had passed. He never saw me play college ball, but he saw
Little League and high school. My mom passed in 1997 and my dad is still
alive now and I’m with him a good bit trying to take care of him.
“Anyway… my senior year, I delivered on my promise.
I made first-team all-state, all-area… a lot of honors. I delivered… I
scored touchdowns and got my name in the paper.”
East Carolina Takes Note
Though ECU was keeping an eye on Pope, the
school wasn’t even on his radar screen. But ECU had a secret weapon in
its recruiting arsenal that would ultimately make an impact with Pope.
“How did East Carolina come into the picture? That
is a good question,” he said. “I had never heard of East Carolina
before. They were recruiting my teammate, P.J. Jordan. He played
linebacker for us at Clark. They were there watching the game film, they
saw me. From that point on, they started recruiting me also. I visited
and liked the campus but didn’t see myself coming there. I didn’t know
much about the school and didn’t see myself there. All these other
schools, Clemson, Minnesota, Auburn, Georgia Tech, South Carolina were
recruiting me. But over time, things started happening at the other
schools and when I began weeding out schools, ECU was still in the
“It came down to East Carolina and Minnesota. I had
committed – back then there were two signing days, one for the Letter of
Intent and the other for the actual scholarship signing. First I signed
the Letter of Intent with East Carolina University and then after a while I
said, ‘No.’ It was going to be Minnesota. But right before the signing,
Coach Emory’s wife (Nancy Buie Emory) came in and she signed me. She is
who got me. There was no one else who would have flown down here and
called me darling, honey, baby… I couldn’t say no to her. The coach from
Minnesota flew down to sign me personally and I couldn’t do it. She was
the only person who could have got me there… no one else… it was her.”
His family approved
of the choice.
“My parents were really just happy that I had an
opportunity to go to college and that people were interested in me,” he
said. “It was good for them to see their son prosper. I hope one day to
see my boys do the same.”
Though he we a star on a nationally recognized prep
team, Pope knew in short time as a frosh at ECU that college was a
whole new level of football.
“You come in like everyone else… with no name,” he
said. “Not knowing too much about ECU – their record, the players,
nothing – everything was fresh and new to me. Especially coming from a
program like ours. I lost a total four games in high school. I didn’t
know anything about losing. I came to ECU and we won our first game
against Western Carolina. We played Miami that year when Jim Kelly was
the quarterback and he threw that ball all over us that day. That is
when it really hit me. Then we played Carolina with Lawrence Taylor and
Kelvin Bryant who set a record on us that day.” (Editor's note: UNC-Chapel
Hill won that game 56-0.)
It was a major moment in Pope’s life. It was a
moment in time when Pope had to look in the mirror and find out who he
“I was ready to leave (ECU) after that,” he
admitted. “I picked up the phone. I’m like, ‘I’ve never lost a game like
this. I’m not about losing. You guys may be satisfied but I’m not.’ I
called Auburn and Georgia Tech and I really was on my way to transfer
out of there. It just so happened that that spring we got a new
offensive coordinator, from Wichita. He installed a new offense and I
loved that offense, man. The tight ends were catching the balls a lot
and standing out and were seeing the field a lot better and making
calls. That kept me there… that is what kept me in the ECU program. P.J.
and I were roommates that year. We were really trying to leave the
school. We had never, never lost like that year (5-6 record, including
the humiliating loss to the Tar Heels) …I had never experienced that before in my life.”
Introspection came a little later.
“I never thought about becoming a winner. I was
like, ‘I am a winner, you guys are the losers.’ I really didn’t
accept loving well. I was like, ‘I gotta jump ship now, I’m out of
here.’ Really. I was like, ‘I got to go.’ I know, but that was my
attitude at the time.
“From that point, things improved. We had a good
season the next year when we went 7-4 and then of course the following
year, in 1983, we had that great year.”
That 1982 season, his sophomore year, Pope had
found his way into the Pirates lineup.
“I was the number two tight end and was backing up
Norwood Vann,” he said. “Even though I was No. 2 with the offense we
were running, I started most of the games. We had a two tight end set.
It didn’t bother me because I was in as much as he was. Sometimes I
might be out if we went with one tight end. I played a good bit and
graded out quite well and had a decent year. I was improving.”
As a junior on the rise, Pope looked at 1983 as a
year for him to enhance an already improving career. For Pirates
fans, 1983 was a wake up call… one that opened a world of opportunity for
the program as Emory’s boys shook up the college football world, going 8-3 with
near misses against Miami, Florida State, and Florida.
“We knew we had a special team, we just didn’t know
how special we were,” Pope recalled. “We had key people in key positions
and we knew we were going to shine. It was the Florida State game that
confirmed it… we all knew right then. We were score for score with them.
That is where we gained our confidence. We realized we could play with
anyone. The year before, they beat us before we even had gone out on the
field. Now we were in it. The only thing that beat us was the Florida
State name. Of course, also there was also that (pass interference) call
no one can find on the film.”
Pope certainly knew during that
fateful campaign what the
impact on the program was going to be.
visits the East Carolina Athletics Hall
(Photo: Choo Justice, October 2004)
“That season really put East Carolina on the map,”
he said. “Even though we didn’t get the recognition we deserved with a
bowl, people knew. We had really good athletes at that time. When I
think about that team... they were winners. Coach Emory was a good
hard-nosed coach. Of course, he was one of the first coaches who
implemented four-a-day practices. I don’t have anything bad to say about
Coach Emory. He gave me a chance and I truly appreciate him for thinking
enough of me to want me to come play for him. I thank him a lot. I came
up to the Hall of Fame this past October and I got a chance to see him
and it was an honor.”
His success as a junior validated that Pope was
much more a winner by his own merit than by those he associated with.
And with that knowledge, he was able to more easily digest the 1984
“At the time, we had good players and we weren’t
really aware of Ed’s issues with the administration,” he said. “We had
two rookie unknown quarterbacks. Nobody stood up and took charge at that
position. So, we did the best we could do. We just did what we could and
it was not fun (enduring a 2-9 record).”
Despite that dismal
1984 season, Pope’s
abilities were not overlooked and he had chances to play on the next
“Dallas is where I signed,” Pope said. “I signed a
free agent contract with Dallas that year. Dallas surprised me because –
not knowing how well I did my senior year (in high school) and then I have college scouts
coming out to see me and are looking at me – I’m wondering, ‘Why are they
“We didn’t have a good record that year but I had
received a letter to go out to Tempe, AZ, to go to the combines. At the
time, I didn’t know what that meant, so I didn’t think too much of it.
At the combine, that’s when I realized that this is about the NFL and
that these guys were looking at me. I never thought my career would get
to that point. I did quite well out there. It was something else… it was
cold back in Greenville, it was winter and I stepped off that plane out
there and it was so hot. All of a sudden it’s like all the coaches are
there and people putting us through a whole host of activities. I did
the best I could do. We had to do sprints, catching, jumping, weightlifting… pretty much everything. They wanted to evaluate you on
everything possible, even things that you did back in grade school, like
Going to the combine not only opened
Pope's eyes to
what was needed on the next level, it also opened his eyes to the
possibility that he might actually have a shot.
“That set the stage for me to start thinking, ‘Whoa,
I can play on the next level,’” he said. “All the different agents at
this point in time are calling me up and telling me I am one of the top
tight ends. I am trying to figure out how this is happening. It was just
strange for me because my senior season I only caught one touchdown pass
and maybe had six catches the whole season. But I began to believe it,
and the next thing, I was there. Dallas was wooing me for a whole week.
Indianapolis and also Buffalo were looking at me. Indianapolis, during
the draft, the coaches called me and said they had just finished the
draft and they wanted me to sign with them and wanted to bring me out. I
was like, ‘Whatever you all want.’
“They called and said they really wanted me. But
Dallas had been in Greenville all week and it was just easier to sign
with them. I went on and signed with Dallas. It was something to fall
back on even though another team wanted me to come there. I signed with
Dallas the day after the draft and then I was down in Dallas. That
quick. I felt like with Dallas it was every bit a cattle call. There
were so many guys there at the time. Dallas signed hundreds of free
agents and most teams were not doing that. It was a roundup. I stayed
there a few weeks before the season started. I was cut within the third
or fourth week, right before the season started. From that point on – of
course it was devastating because I had no control of it – and I was so
determined to make it work. Then I started to deal with life issues. I
thought the NFL was my destiny and it was taken from me when Dallas cut
Pope, for the first time in a long time, was not
sure of anything.
with former East Carolina
coach Art Baker (Photo: Choo Justice)
“I came back to Athens and began working with
Georgia Power and I felt real lucky to have gotten on with them,” he
recalled. “I still feel my experience (in football) helped me get that
job. But, football was still in my system and hadn’t quite given it up.
I was with Georgia Power for about six months and then I signed with the
L.A. Raiders. I went out there and practiced and prepared for camp. At
that time, (former ECU star) Stefan Adams was out there, so I had a familiar face and he
was also a fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi) brother and I spent time with
His fraternity has always been a big part of his
life, so it was no surprise that Adams, a brother in the fraternity,
paved the way for him in L.A.
“Most of the organizations and things I’ve been
affiliated with have truly helped me in life,” Pope said. “Being a
member of Kappa Alpha Psi helped open up doors in the business world. It
is basically who you know, not what you know, and so the frat was truly a
blessing and also giving back to the community through the civic duties
is a big part of that life. That was from ECU and of course we had the
parties too and that was good. Doors that might have been closed opened
for me because of Kappa Alpha Psi.”
Though he got out to the Raiders’ camp, Pope found
himself in a difficult predicament.
“I felt like I got somewhat of a fair look,” he
said. “But it was hard to say because I was running with the No. 2 team
and sometimes No. 1. And, of course, that is when Todd Christiansen was
the starting tight end. In the pros, I truly noticed a lot of
politicking. Basically, I saw a lot of very good athletes who were cut
for various reasons. Some guys were out of this world and not making
mistakes and they were released. This is what made me give up on pro
ball because I couldn’t change it myself. If you didn’t have a coach in
your corner, you were done. I saw tremendous guys released and on the
flip side, very average guys being kept. But they were who the coaches
“That really, truly, turned me against wanting to
play, even though I had another opportunity with Buffalo and I did go out
there and worked out... but by then I had such a bad taste in my mouth.
Same thing at a different place. Even in Dallas – of course Doug Cosby was
one of the best tight ends ever and I was truly a back up there – but my
weight was up and my speed was great and I think that is what really got
me in Dallas, was my contract and the stipulations in it. That is what
got me cut and that hurts when you are cut the day before you are going
to be paid. I really think my contract (and its built-in incentives) was
the problem there.”
After the Bills’ camp, that was it for Pope.
“Buffalo was my last run and I knew that if things
didn’t go the way I wanted, I would re-evaluate and lie low and get my
head right,” he said. “In the process of reevaluating, well the next
thing you know, two, three, five years go by and you wake up and you
think, ‘Wait, this wasn’t in the game plan, me not playing anymore.’ ”
Back Home in Georgia
After Buffalo, Pope
explored his opportunities and, for a small while, thought he would be
back in Greenville again.
actually I was on way back to North Carolina to take an internship with
the Secretary of State at Corrections – I had minored in Criminal
Justice,” he said. “But, then I was offered a position with the county
police department in Athens. It was pretty much the same type of work
(as in North Carolina) and Athens was home so I made the decision to
stay here and work instead of going back to Greenville.”
Pope settled in to
police work in Athens.
Damon Pope, Reggie Branch and former East
athletic department staffer Choo Justice reunite at an
ECU football game
(Photo: Choo Justice)
“I worked with the police department about 2½
years,” Pope explained. “My last day with them was in July of 1989. I
enjoyed every bit of it, but I just couldn’t see living on a policeman’s
salary. I didn’t see how people could live on that. I needed a whole lot
more than that. I knew I needed to get into a profession that would
allow me to net the income I wanted to make in order to do things that I
wanted to do in my life.
“I began working with an insurance company –
Independent Life – and I became a sales agent for them. I stayed with
them 10 years. By my fifth year, I was a sales manager and that
promotion led me to Atlanta. Then, I got married and had my second child
with my wife. We moved to the Atlanta area and stayed the next five
years with that company. We had another son. We did eventually separate
and divorce there, but from working with Independent Life, I
transitioned after a buyout of my company. There were a lot of things
within the new company that I couldn’t take as a manager, so I
transitioned to Kaiser Permanente and began working within their Medicare department for a
couple of years.”
It was in this position that Pope began laying the
framework for his own future.
“Doing that and dealing with seniors, enrolling
them into the Kaiser HMO program, I began dealing with medical supply
sales on a part time basis – which is the company I own now,” he said.
“There was a layoff back in 2001. Around the first of January, Kaiser
laid me off. When that happened, I was like, “Whoa!” because it was the
first time in my life that I didn’t have control over my career. Getting
caught up in that layoff… I had been doing the medical supplies sales
part time and saw its potential to be lucrative. So, eventually, I put
more time and effort into and it truly paid off.
“A year and a half later, I started a company, D&T
Custom Medical Care, with a partner, Tandra Davis. Basically, within three
years we opened up a second store (in May of 2004) and things are going
quite well in the medical supply industry. I always had a desire to
start some form of a company, but didn’t know what lifeline field to go
into. Anything dealing with patients, medicine, you are going to be in
business for a lifetime. That was how D&T came about. I have a sales
force with about 10 employees across the state of Georgia and a small
staff of administrative personnel. We are small, but we are on the
Pope’s business is
burgeoning and he is in a great
place these days. And East Carolina is just as big a part of his life as
He hopes to get back to his alma mater more regularly in the
“This past year was my first time getting back to
ECU since the 1980s,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, I was overwhelmed
with the football facilities. I was amazed to see what they are working
with up there now. I was amazed and thrilled and happy for them, but yet
I was disappointed we didn’t have it when I played. I believe it would
have made a difference for us back then.
“I do follow the team. I try to attend a game every
year. Normally I will make an away game. I have not done the Greenville
trip until this past October. I am a Little League football coach now,
too, and it takes up a great deal of my time on Saturdays. I have a son (Daylen)
who plays outside linebacker on the team and he is doing quite well, I
have to say. I’m not ready to put the younger one (Davion) on a field
yet… don’t want him to get hit and his career end (mentally) on one lick.
I’ve got to get him a little older for that. I am right there with my
boys and I hope that one day I get to experience what my parents did,
getting the joy to travel and watch them play.”
Though he hasn’t seen the current Pirates much,
Pope weighed in on the program from his perspective. (Note – this
interview took place prior to John Thompson’s departure at the helm of
the Pirates program.)
“The only thing I can judge the team on lately is
on the one game I saw in person,” he qualified. “I did ask Coach T about
the offense being run. Last year, I noticed that the size linemen we’ve
got, they are not sustaining blocks long enough. There is a hold for a
second but it collapses. I wanted to know if there would be any changes
there. Even now, I don’t know what the problem has been this year, but
(from) the stats on paper, I’m seeing an offense that is not clicking. And on
defense, I don’t know if it is the guys not making the plays or if we
are not athletic enough to compete. Are they not coaching them? We
should be doing something differently.
“I was never one to blame the coaches. I would look
at the players first. I haven’t seen any games, but I wouldn’t put the
blame on the coaches if they did a good job preparing.”
Aside from those
analytical reasons, one thing clearly doesn’t
set well with Pope.
“I don’t like the losing,” he said. “It is
embarrassing. I fly the flag on my car on Saturdays and it is my school.
You see scores like that 50-something to 7 and you ask, is it the
coaching or the players? Right now, I’m leaning toward the coaching.
Even though Coach (Steve) Logan had success, in the second half of the
games in his last season, I saw it with his players. Maybe we don’t have
the right players for the type of schemes we are using. Last year, I
thought we needed bigger players or we needed to change the scheme.”
But with changes at the top, Pope sees a bright
“I believe (the Terry Holland hire) is a great
opportunity for the program,” he said. “He is a big plus. With us not
having an AD, the issues were not in hand. Having a guy like Holland
there is going to be big plus all the way around."
Pope's bottom line
take on Thompson's status turned out to be prophetic.
"As for the football
coach, the second year, you have to see improvement," he said. "Third year, it has
to be there and I am not seeing past two for this coach. I want to feel
good about my team. I want us to beat teams like Miami and other name
schools again like we used to.”
He sees Holland as potentially leading the
Pirates to a new level of football.
“I think that ECU needs to be in the ACC or the Big
East,” he said. “The reason is the level of competition. I always felt
we should have been in the ACC when I was there. No doubt, conferences
help attract players. At the time I went to ECU, it was because of being
an Independent. You got to play anyone and travel around the country.
Then, not being in a conference was a plus. Now, you got to be in a
conference… a good conference… a BCS conference. I think that will be the
big focus (of Holland’s tenure.)”
Until that happens, Pope has some advice for
Pirates around the world.
“Right now, we’ve got to focus on keeping the
players pumped up and doing whatever it takes to get things going with
them,” he said. “Either get better coaches, players or both. We all have
to continue to support the sports program through the hard times or the
program is going to go down. Continue sending in dollars and soon
enough, our money is going to work for us. The facilities are there… the
stadium is there; we got to get a winner back in there, that’s all.
(We) cannot abandon the program. We’ve been down before and came out and were
successful. We can get back there again. We have to get the players
excited, the fans excited, future players excited… and maybe we ought do
some prayin’ …that goes a long way, too.”
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