Loran Smith: Remembering the 1960 Orange Bowl

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Loran Smith: Remembering the 1960 Orange Bowl

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

With another trip to the Orange Bowl coming up for the Bulldogs, I have been reflecting on the trip to Miami in 1959 which ended up with Georgia defeating Missouri on New Year’s Day, 1960.

I owned a ’50 Ford, and gas was 30 cents a gallon which meant that if I drove the 690 miles to my destination and got 20 miles per gallon, it would take 35 gallons of gas to make the trip.  That computed out to a little more than $10.00 to get there.





As sports editor of the Red & Black, my mentor and friend, Dan Magill, talked the business manager, Howell Hollis, into making out a check to me for $150.00 for “bowl expenses.”  I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

That was not the biggest hurdle.  I wanted to take the coed, who would become my wife, with me.  This meant that I had to not only find someone to stay with in Miami, but I also had to find a place to stay while traveling to my destination.

With an aunt living in Jacksonville Beach, we had that covered.  As luck would have it, there was a distant cousin who had moved from my hometown of Wrightsville to Miami where he found work as an electrician.  He and his wife were generous to their kin and made space for us.





So, all the basic requirements were met and off we went.   The first challenge—one that I have had to deal with all our married years—was that my traveling companion took two outfits for every day we would be gone.  Even with me taking one small bag, the small trunk space was filled to capacity, and the back seat was “layered” with her two-a-day outfits.  From the seat to the roof of the car.

With no lodging charges and minimal gas costs, we got by on the $150.00 since a good breakfast cost only 50 cents and hamburgers and hotdogs were always less than a dollar for the two of us.  In addition to the UGA Athletic Association stipend, I had saved for the trip from my various free-lance jobs.  We had a grand time without ever worrying about the cost.

Have no recollection of the cost of tickets to the game but am guessing it would have been at least $10.00.  Had to have a single ticket for my date, but my friend Dan Magill got me a job spotting for the radio broadcast which paid $25.00 so I came out ahead.

The network covering the game was CBS, and Pat Summerall, still a placekicker for the New York Giants, was the color announcer.  The play-by-play voice was Bill McColgan.  At that time, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Browns.

It gave me a great thrill to go back to my hometown and folks would tell me that McColgan had mentioned my name on the network broadcast.  From the introduction to Pat Summerall, a friendship pleasantly endured until he passed away in 2013.

I remember how impressed I was, arriving at the press box a couple hours before kickoff, which enabled me to spend time with Edwin Pope, an Athens boy who became the sports columnist of the Miami Herald.  He was well on his way to becoming one of the premier sports columnists in the country.

I asked him if it were true that he worked as sports editor of the Athens Banner Herald when he was in grade school and at a time, when he wore short pants.  He confirmed that it was true as he laughed heartily at my “inside” research.

Our paths crossed every year at events such as the Masters, U. S. and British Opens, Kentucky Derby, and other national sporting events and whenever I spent time in Miami, which, surprisingly was quite often.

What I remember most about the trip, other than Tarkenton leading us to victory on national television, was the beautiful landscape along A1A.  The orange trees, fruit stands and gleaming white sand of the beaches and the Atlantic crashing ashore—Wow.

From that trip, there was the reality that covering sports events had an intriguing and illuminating side benefit.  There were so many ancillary and educational opportunities that offered extras that were memorable and unforgettable: landmarks, historical sites, nature’s best offerings, and places which made our day every day of the trip.  

If I could have just driven that ‘50 Ford to London and Paris





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