It's A Lovie-Fest In Big Sandy - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/16/06

It's A Lovie-Fest In Big Sandy

It's kind of odd to think that Big Sandy, Texas and Chicago, Illinois would have so much in common, but both towns Monday night were glued to the TV, hoping for great success for the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Lovie Smith has Wildcat country squarely behind him. It's a love fest that's been going on now for over thirty years, in part for the three state championships Lovie helped bring to big sandy.  But more importantly, the now famous coach, has never forgotten where he came from.

"I heard a tale that Lovie actually gets a copy of the Big Sandy News Journal once a week," said Big Sandy resident Doug Baird.  "He stays in touch with what happens here in Big Sandy."

Lovie truly loves Big Sandy. That was evident when he returned home in June for the renaming of a street in his honor.

"A lot of my coaching philosophy is based on what I learned here," Smith said about Big Sandy back in June.  "Just about hard work, you know, just doing what's right at all times."

That coaching philosophy has turned the Chicago Bears into the favorites to win Super Bowl XLI.  It has also caused a lot of folks in Big Sandy to change their allegiance.

"I grew up a Cowboys fan living here in East Texas," Baird added, "but Lovie kind of changed all of that."

"Yeah, I think the whole city of Big Sandy is now Bears fans," said Big Sandy football coach Darold Turner.

"This just makes that Wildcat pride go higher and higher," said Big Sandy ISD school board president Lawrence Harper.  "You know, we love Lovie, and we pray for him all the time, and it's a daily thing.  Every day we think about Lovie and so that let's you know how pumped up we are about Lovie."

So how many folks in Big Sandy were expected to watch the Bears play Monday night?

"I imagine the whole town," said Harper with a smile, "unless they don't have a TV. And if they don't, they'll probably go to the next door neighbor.  Cowboys have to take a back seat right now."

"I won't have a Dallas Star on me anywhere," added Baird.

The Big Sandy folks have to be happy about the game.  Lovie led the Bears to a miraculous 24-23 win, after trailing 20-0 at the half.  The win moves the Bears to a league best 6-0.  The 6-0 start matches the 1986 Bears, who lost game 7 before finishing 14-2.  The 1985 Bears won their first 12 games, finishing with a 15-1 record on their way to winning Super Bowl XX.

The Bears have a week off before hosting the San Francisco 49ers on October 29. 

Kevin Berns reporting.
kberns@kltv.com

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