Lovie Smith, fending off howler monkeys in Costa Rica
TAMPA -- If you wanted a colorful story about Lovie Smith's experiences during his year away from coaching, well, here you go: The 55-year-old coach had to fend off wild howler monkeys with a machete while vacationing in Costa Rica with his family.
"We got out there. We were pretty remote, not quite in the rain forest. First couple of days we were there, we heard some little small, white-faced monkeys. About Day 6, we heard the howling monkeys. Day 8, we had the back door open, and they come in. A few days before, you think you're ready to take on anything to protect your wife, my son (Mikale) said 'Dad, a monkey is four times stronger than a man, so be careful.' So about that time, I kept a machete in the back just in case. You're out in the rain forest and I had my wife there. About Day 9, I had barbecued a little bit earlier in the day. I look up, and there are two big male monkeys standing up on the table with their teeth showing. I thought 'OK, this is not going to end well.'
"Anyway, I got a broom. I didn't have to really kill one of the monkeys. I pushed him out of the house and we packed up that day and got out. That's a true story. I had the machete. I was ready. Have you ever heard a howling monkey? No one here, I guess you've been in Tampa most of your life. They're kind of a terrifying sound. I didn't have to kill any monkeys and we were able to get out of there. We left on Day 9 of a 50-day stay. Mary Anne said 'OK, let's go somewhere else, we've got a little bit of time.' I said 'Hey. We're going to Tampa.' We're down on the beach down here, spent a little bit of our time down here."
"As it turned out, I thought it was going to end a little bit differently than it did, to say the least. We got out of it alive."