NEW YORK — His nickname of “Head Ball Coach” no longer does justice to Steve Spurrier.

He is not just the Florida Gator’ legendary HBC; he is the State of Florida’s iconic MVP – Most Vital Personality. He is, by my estimation, the most important and impactful sports figure in Sunshine State history.

This struck me Monday Night during a brief conversation with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney at an Italian restaurant in New York City, where the University of Florida held a reception to honor Spurrier’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Swinney, just a day after it was announced his team had advanced to the College Football Playoff, flew up to New York to pay homage to Spurrier — his former coaching rival at South Carolina, his friend, and a man he admires.

“I’ve always been a fan of coach Spurrier’s,” Swinney said. “He made college football more fun and more interesting. When he was coaching at South Carolina, he would poke at me and I would poke back if I felt I needed to. He wasn’t just a great coach; he was an amazing personality.”

And the most influential sports personality our state has ever witnessed. On Tuesday night at the New York Hilton Midtown, Spurrier became only the fourth individual ever to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player (during a 1986 ceremony) and now a coach.

When I sat in Spurrier’s office at UF recently, he rattled off the other three names — Amos Alonzo-Stagg, Bobby Dodd and Bowden Wyatt — on the exclusive list and then added a bit of perspective. “It’s pretty neat to be one of only four guys who are Hall of Famers as both a player and a coach. You know me:

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