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Fennelly: An inaugural game, an errand, and away USF football went

USF takes the field for its first game, against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997.

JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times

USF takes the field for its first game, against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997.

1

September

USF begins its 20th season of college football on Saturday night.

That reminded me of the first night, Sept. 4, 1997, when the new team in town played its first game, an 80-3 win over Kentucky Wesleyan. There were 49,212 fans at Tampa Stadium.

Ten minutes before the kickoff, USF athletic director Paul Griffin saw Lee Roy Selmon, the associate athletic director who'd led the charge for a football program. And now it was about to become a reality.

Their eyes met.

Emotional moment, right?

Selmon asked if Griffin's son, Michael, was around, and could he run an errand?

"What errand?" Griffin asked.

"We don't have a kicking tee," Selmon said. "Could Michael run up to a sports store and get one?"

Ten minutes to history.

Yes, they could have borrowed one from Kentucky Wesleyan. But this was (ital) USF's (ital) night. So, 10 minutes before the kickoff of USF football history, a motorcycle policeman volunteered to tear up Dale Mabry to a sports store to purchase a kicking tee.

And away USF football went.

By the way, I wouldn't mention any of this in the Big 12 interview.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2016 6:00pm]

    

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