A field that included four past Heisman Trophy winners, 10 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, 20 All-Americas, six coaches of the year, four NFL Hall of Famers and 51 NFL All-Pro or Pro Bowl players recently took to Reynolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee outside Atlanta to play for $400,000 in scholarship money at the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament. Making up the pairings were Nick Saban and Steve Sloan (Alabama), Dabo Swinney and Dwight Clark (Clemson), Jimbo Fisher and Terrell Buckley (Florida State), Paul Johnson and Jon Barry (Georgia Tech), Ralph Friedgen and Stan Gelbaugh (Maryland), Houston Nutt and Wesley Walls (Ole Miss), Butch Davis and Natrone Means (North Carolina), Monte Towe and Sidney Lowe (North Carolina State), Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe (South Carolina), Bobby Johnson and Will Perdue (Vanderbilt), Frank Beamer and Brad Clontz (Virginia Tech) and Jim Grobe and Billy Packer (Wake Forest). "Each year, the coaches have gone recruiting for a better player, a better celebrity," said Chick-fil-A Bowl CEO Gary Stokan. "Like Houston Nutt went and got Wesley Walls this year. The first year Steve Spurrier had Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish, then he went and got Sterling Sharpe. ...These coaches really get competitive and they love to recruit, so they're out there making sure they get great players."
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From left: Jim Grobe, Jimbo Fisher, Nick Saban and Terrell Buckley prepare for the event. While they're playing for charity, Houston Nutt admits it's hard for the coaches to dial down their competitive spirit once they hit the course. "It's a fun time. It's great fellowship time, but as the [tournament] day gets here, it gets a little more competitive," he said.
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Said Frank Beamer, who won the event in 2007 with Dell Curry as his partner: "The competition has picked up here. You can bet if you're invited to this as a celebrity, you're a pretty good golfer." Beamer and partner Brad Clontz, a former Atlanta Braves pitcher, were four-over on the day, finishing 12th.
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Steve Spurrier (left), Jimbo Fisher (center) and Paul Johnson on the practice green.
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Nutt added Walls as a partner after finishing in sixth last year. "Wesley can hit it a mile and I need all the help that I can get." The duo came in 10th at two-over.
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Clemson's Dabo Swinney, who teamed with ex-49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark, shot a three-over to come in 11th.
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Steve Spurrier (left) and former Gamecocks and Packers wide receiver Sterling Sharpe had their sights on a third straight title, but would finish in third, two strokes off the lead.
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Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and longtime NBA player Jon Barry made a charge at the lead, but finished one shot back at six-under.
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Terrell Buckley (right) stuck a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to move to seven-under. Buckley and first-year Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher won the event -- and $120,000 in scholarship money.
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"We regrouped on the back nine and strung together a few birdies," Fisher said. "Then we made that big putt on 18. It was very competitive out there."
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