One scene between the hedges, one in which he described no action, but was the centerpiece, however, brings him to tears. It was the 2016 Georgia-Tennessee game in Sanford Stadium. Georgia paid tribute to Verne in what would be his last season with CBS and the SEC.
In the beginning he and CBS did not promote a farewell tour, but you know the rest of the story. As CBS made the rounds that season, everywhere the broadcast crew went, they discovered that the host school would be showing appreciation to Verne for his having come the league’s way.
Georgia’s happened to turn out to be his favorite. “When the scoreboard reflected tributes from Gov. Nathan Deal, Greg McGarity, Kirby Smart, Jim Nance, and ‘omigod’ Jack Nicklaus, I was overwhelmed. But then Gary Danielson tapped me on the arm and pointed to the field. The Georgia Redcoat Band had formed ‘Yessir!’ I almost lost it right there in the booth.”
Mike Robinson, director of UGA’s Redcoat Marching Band, had organized the band’s routine to where the Redcoats spelled out “Yessir,” Verne’s famous call when Jack Nicklaus made that legendary birdie putt at the 17th hole at the Masters.
As he spoke in Atlanta, Athens and LaGrange this week, Verne choked up, especially in Athens where there was video accompaniment of the Sanford Stadium scoreboard and the band’s “Yessir” alignment on the field. “All that has a lot to do with why I love this place,” Verne said as he wiped his eyes which prompted a standing ovation.
And yet there are plenty of Dawg fans who will swear otherwise. Strange.