It's been a little more than a half-decade since Tim "Pops" Frisby made his impact on South Carolina's football program by walking on at age 39. The former Army Ranger wanted to give the game a shot. Frisby persevered, played — and even made a catch, a 9-yard reception against Troy in 2005. The Post and Courier's Travis Haney caught up with Pops this week:
Years later, what are your thoughts when you look back at your football career?
"My career as a full-time student-athlete at USC was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The time went by so fast. I relish the camaraderie and friendships I developed with teammates, coaches, students and professors alike. To be afforded the opportunity to play football at the highest college level in the best football conference in the country was a dream come true."
Could you describe the moment when you were able to actually step foot on the field?
"It's hard to put into words the emotions you feel when you are on the verge of realizing what most people thought was unattainable. I had myriad memories going through my mind of my childhood -- friends that always supported and believed in me, some friends that were no longer alive, my family watching from the stands."
And what about when you made that catch?
"I knew just getting on the field wasn't enough for me. I was a receiver and I had to make a catch. That catch helped to patch a hole in my soul. It meant the world to me. There is a picture of me sprinting down the sidelines at Williams-Brice and, in the background, is Coach (Steve) Spurrier with a satisfied smirk on his face. I believe it was important to him that I make that catch, also."
What are your thoughts about what the Gamecocks are doing now, finally making it to Atlanta and winning the SEC East?
"We have just witnessed the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Carolina's football potential. The Spurrier plan is in full effect now. I expect that we will now be competing for SEC Eastern Division championships throughout Coach Spurrier's tenure. Now that he has gotten a taste of championship football again, I believe the SEC championship and a BCS bowl are his next objectives."
What are your impressions, now, of playing for both Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier?
"I can't explain how grateful I am to have experienced the coaching styles of two football legends. Coach Holtz was a great motivator who wanted you to become a better man beyond the football field. He wanted you to take advantage of this opportunity we were given and be ready for life after football. Coach Spurrier sees the game through a player's eyes. He has a mind that allows him to exploit the opposing team's weaknesses. All you need to do is carry out his game plan. It's really that simple. He is a winner. I am honored to have been coached by both men."
When you heard Jay Leno wanted to have you on "The Tonight Show," and David Letterman on "The Late Show," what did you think?
"The experience was something I will never forget. Actually, fans and people everywhere I travel will not let me forget it. I guess the array of programs I appeared on were quite amazing, in hindsight. To tell you the truth, it was quite shocking to experience how stars are treated. Sometimes I can look at a picture of Jay and me sitting there talking, and it still seems unreal."
So, what's "Pops" up to these days? What ever happened to the movie deal? Is that still a possibility?
"My wife is on active duty as a combat medic in the United States Army. She is currently stationed in Seoul, South Korea. Hopefully the family will join her there soon. I am as proud of her accomplishments as she is of mine. I am keeping myself busy as a freelance writer, and I'm still seeking an opportunity as a football analyst on (ESPN). Hopefully, you'll see the story on the big screen one day. We are trying to convince Will Smith that he is the man for the role, and I envision a soundtrack produced by Darius Rucker. I remain optimistic about the possibilities. For now, I am working on an untitled book about my experiences."
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