Andy Pollin tells a Steve Spurrier story

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Wednesday is the final day of Andy Pollin’s long tenure as co-host of ESPN 980′s Sports Reporters, which means it was cause for some stories and memories. A great one came earlier Wednesday, when Pollin sat in with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on The Sports Fix. They were going over some of the many Redskins coaches who made regular appearances on the Sports Reporters over the years, including Steve Spurrier.

“We had two years of Steve Spurrier, who just stuck out his iron jaw and said whatever you want, and was just as incredibly honest as you can imagine,” Pollin recalled. “The best one, I think Czabe was off, and I was working with John Riggins. We had Spurrier on, and so this was before Spurrier’s last game as coach of the Redskins. I think they played Philadelphia on a Saturday night. At that point, he said his plan was to come back for year three. And I said to him, ‘What can you offer the fans for optimism for next year?’

“And he thought — “Hmmm. You know? I really can’t think of anything.”

Is there an audio vault of this Spurrier stuff somewhere? Please tell me there’s an audio vault of this somewhere. You know how many blog posts that would be? Blog posts for days.

Pollin also recounted the origins of his show, which I do not recall at all, despite living in D.C. back then. This was in 1999, when Tony Kornheiser’s show finally slid into the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot, and could no longer be replayed in late afternoons.

“In my many travels with Tony, one Super Bowl he did a show where he had both Hank Goldberg and Mike Lucipa on together,” Pollin recalled. “And they were just chatting, and it sounded like a Sports Reporters TV show on the radio. So I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t that be a great idea to try that?’

“So Tod Castleberry, who was the program director at the time, I talked him into giving this a shot. I said, ‘Let me do it, and we’ll bring in two different guys every day,’ and I thought that would be rather easy. And the first day it was: we had Steve Buckhantz and Michael Wilbon. Well, you can’t go wrong with a show like that. I mean, that’s a hit out of the box. But you can’t get those guys every day.

“And so there were shows that were very good, and shows that were not so good. Eventually Czabe came back from North Carolina or some place he’d been. He started as a part-timer, he was doing Wizards postgame, and we kind of worked him in a little bit. And [after six months] Tod said, ‘You know, we really should make him the second permanent chair.’ And that’s when the show really took off.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · July 31, 2013