With a combined three National Championships, eight Southeastern Conference Championships and three Heisman Trophies, there is plenty to remember Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow by. Just in case, the University of Florida wants their legacies set in stone.
The three Heisman winners are coming back to the Swamp, but they won’t be wearing the traditional orange and blue – their new color is bronze.
Florida will pay homage to the quarterback legends with three larger-than-life statues outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
On June 16th, the University Athletic Association Board unanimously approved the project to erect the sculptures.
According to Chip Howard, associate athletics director for operations and facilities, the project will cost roughly $550,000.
“We have commitments from three donors to fully fund the project,” Howard said. “No UAA or other university funds are being used.”
The statues will be about 15 percent larger than life-sized and will be placed on the west side of the stadium where a planter now sits, near the elevators, Howard said.
To prevent people from climbing the statues and possibly getting hurt, a barrier will surround the elevated statues.
“It won’t be like the gator [statue] on the corner of Gale Lemerand [Drive] and Stadium [Road],” Howard said. “People will be able to stand in front of them and get pictures, they just won’t be touching the statues.”
The statues will depict the former quarterbacks in the year they won the Heisman Trophy. While Spurrier and Wuerffel, the 1966 and 1996 Heisman recipients respectively, will be captured in a throwing motion, there is suspense surrounding how Tebow, the 2007 winner, will be portrayed.
Spurrier, who was the school’s first Heisman winner, threw for 1, 852 yards and 16 touchdowns in 1966 to win the award.
Wuerffel accumulated 3,319 yards through the air to rack up 36 touchdowns in his Heisman season.
Tebow recorded 51 total touchdowns (29 passing, 22 rushing) and 3,970 total yards in 2007 to become the latest Gator win the trophy.
Howard did not disclose how Tebow’s statue would look.
“There were a couple of poses looked at for each individual,” he said. “We contacted each person and wanted to make it a collaborative effort to best represent them.”
As for the eye black, Howard said that will be answered at the unveiling.
Artist W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor has been commissioned to build the statues.
The Tallahassee artist sculpted former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden’s statue that stands outside FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium.
Howard said Proctor also did a Doak Walker statue in Dallas and has a lot of experience sculpting life-like statues.
According to Howard, the installation of the statues will take place sometime after Jan. 1, and a ceremony will follow to unveil the statues to the public.
The university is trying to find a time for all three honorees to attend, despite their busy schedules.
Currently, the only life-like statue on Florida’s campus is of Albert A. Murphree, the second president of the university.