Mickey Conn just completed his seventh year as the head football coach at Grayson High. The South Gwinnett grad led the Rams to the second round of the state playoffs, where they fell in a heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 1 Norcross.
In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," Conn talks with staff writer Corey Clark on a variety of topics, ranging from his playing days at Alabama, where he was a special-teams starter on the 1992 national championship team, to his favorite movie to his
CC: Do you ever wear your national championship ring?
MC: I wear it on Game Day. Then I put it up Sunday through Thursday. Every now and then I'll wear it to church. But I always wear it on Game Day.
CC: Is it heavy?
MC: It's pretty big. Of course, they buy rings for anyone now in college football. You go to the Whatever Bowl and you get a ring now. At Alabama, it used to be you didn't get a ring unless you won a national championship. I saw (former Grayson defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington) and he had a Cotton Bowl ring on, I said, 'What in the world? You get a ring just for winning the Cotton Bowl?' We're spoiling these kids, man. We need to get back to the old days, when you had to earn a ring.
CC: Who was the best athlete on that Alabama team?
MC: Oh, we had a bunch. I'll tell you, one of the most athletic things I have ever seen on a football field was George Teague walking down (Miami receiver) Lamar Thomas and taking the ball away from him and going the other way. The play never counted because we jumped offsides, but that was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.
CC: Were you involved in that pregame confrontation on Bourbon Street between Alabama players and Miami players?
MC: No, I was probably up in my room hoping I was going to get in the game. What happened with that is, they had a kid named (Rohan) Marley. He was this little-bitty guy, but he was a pretty good player. And we had this defensive end Eric Curry, who was about 6'8". And I think what happened was they happened to meet each other on the street and I think Eric asked him if his mother knew he was out so late. Because he looked like a little kid.
CC: How cocky was that Miami team?
MC: They were very confident in themselves. They had no idea. It's funny to see humility take its course over the matter of four hours. When the game started, they were the most confident team I've ever seen. And then they were the most humble and classiest team I've ever seen after the game was over .... I started on special teams that night. And I actually got knocked out in that game. It was a cheap shot. It was so far after the play they didn't show it on film. I joke with people it was my most famous moment in my life because Keith Jackson said my name on national TV. I mean I was laid out. I was knocked out cold, I had a tooth knocked out.
I was bleeding from the chin down. When I woke up, I didn't know where I was, and the first thing I saw was our two big defensive ends, Eric Curry and John Copeland - and that was scary in itself.
CC: So did you even get to celebrate with the team afterwards, or were you still too out of it?
MC: After I got the concussion, I wanted to go back in the game. And I wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. I was just rambling, I was saying things like, 'Bear Bryant wouldn't have stood for this brand of football. I need to be in the game.' So they took my shoulder pads and helmet off and put them in a box and told me they would send me to the locker room if I didn't stop complaining. I didn't want to miss out on the celebration, so I quickly shut up.
CC: Who is the next Alabama head coach?
MC: I really don't know.
CC: Who would you like it to be?
MC: I'd love to have (Wake Forest's) Jim Grobe.
CC: Favorite breakfast food?
MC: Bacon and eggs.
CC: What did you do on your very first date?
MC: My very first date? Man, I don't remember. Gosh dawg, I don't remember that far back.
CC: OK, do you remember where you and your wife went on your first date?
MC: I do. We met at church on a Sunday night and we went to TCBY yogurt. We had yogurt and then we walked around the quad at Alabama.
CC: And you could tell right away she was in love with you?
MC: (laughs) I could tell right away I was in love with her ... she was pretty starry eyed too, though.
CC: Favorite movie?
MC: Any Rocky movie. I love the Rocky movies.
CC: Are you going to go see the new one?
MC: Man, I'll probably be the first one in line.
CC: You might be the only one in line.
MC: (laughs) That's OK. Rocky 3 is my favorite ... I liked Clubber Lang, but what I really liked about it was that he got knocked down, got knocked out. But then he got back up again and became a champion.
CC: OK, what's your favorite movie without Stallone in it?
MC: Either Rudy or Hoosiers.
CC: You like the sports movies, huh?
MC: Yeah, that's all I'm really into. But I did like Far and Away. I liked that movie.
CC: Is this what you want to do until you retire?
MC: Yes. This is definitely my calling. I enjoy working on the strategy of football. I've learned so much about the game, and I really enjoy the life. I enjoy working with the kids and the coaches. And it's good to be part of a team. Just growing up in sports, playing team sports, I always enjoyed being part of a team. That really makes it fun for me. I hope I can do it forever. I hope so. But you never know.