What do you miss the most about coaching?
"The players. The game is about the relationships more than anything, and I always like meeting people, including new people in Oklahoma and South Carolina."
Three favorite college stadium scenes?
"I loved coaching at Notre Dame. The sideline is so close to the fans, and the fans are so close to you that they can almost reach out and scratch your ear. I really enjoyed being at Tennessee in front of such a large crowd, and a crowd that appreciates football. And we enjoyed playing at BYU. If they're ahead, they're a tough group."
Air Force played in 12 bowl games in your 23 seasons as coach. How were you able to pull off such success at a service academy?
"First of all, we had great players and great coaches, and continuity on our coaching staff. We had a lot of players enamored with the Air Force and flying, and space and engineering. And then we had our option system, and we were able to recruit to that system with a pretty good network we had established throughout the entire United States."
What led you to choose single moms and their kids as your charity focus?
"I grew up in a single-parent family and I recognized the tremendous sacrifices my mother made for me. As I traveled around the country over the last several years in recruiting, it just seemed to me like I was going into more and more single-parent homes. And I saw situations where the older sibling was not able to do some things in life because he or she had to go to work to help momma. We felt like the foundation was the way to go."
What do you want to say about your South Carolina Coaches for Charity night on July 29?
"We started this in Colorado. We give the coaches a flat fee for coming in and they each pick a designated charity that gets a percentage of what we bring in. Steve, Dabo and Kevin are very excited about this, and we also will have Buddy Pough from South Carolina State, Mike Ayers from Wofford and Bobby Lamb from Furman. We just think it sends a great message about them wanting to give back to the community. We'll also have some live auctions and silent auctions from each school with a great meal."
Can you recommend a good book you recently read?
" 'The Last Lecture' (by Randy Pausch) I just finished was very good. The best book I read every day is the Bible -- great instruction for living. Another book I enjoyed reading was Josh Hamilton's book ("Beyond Belief"). I know people in Charleston remember Josh playing for the RiverDogs. And then I like my own book ("The Power of Influence"). I just wrote the opening chapter and the rest is the testimony of 35 or 36 former Air Force players and coaches as to who had the most influence on their lives. I conclude the book by asking people, 'What do we really want our legacy to be?' "
Bowl system or playoff system?
"The landscape of college football is dramatically changing and it's not over with. I see four mega- conferences down the road with conference playoffs, then semifinal games and then a national championship final game."
Do the bowls survive?
"I pray there will always be a bowl system. The game belongs to the players, and we tend to forget that. There are no bad bowls. Every bowl is a reward to players for a good season."
You succeeded Ken Hatfield as head coach at Air Force. Then he went to Arkansas and later Clemson, where I am sure you know it was a tough deal for him following Danny Ford. Your thoughts on Ken Hatfield's coaching legacy?
"I just talked to Kenny on the phone a minute ago. He did a wonderful job at Clemson. The last time they were ACC champions was when he was head coach (1991). I know the things they asked him to do, and he fulfilled all of those things. There is not a finer coach than Kenny Hatfield and he's still the same fine human being. The personalities were just different at Clemson and, unfortunately, things just didn't work out."
Do you have some favorite places to eat in the Lowcountry?
"I've never eaten at a bad restaurant in Charleston. When people come to visit us, I say, 'Boy, you are in for a treat.' We love Sullivan's on Sullivan's Island, High Cotton downtown, The Old Village Post House in Mount Pleasant … I love Melvin's for barbecue. Every one of them is five-star to me."
Best vacation ever?
"My best vacation was when we were able to take our entire family to Disney World for a week. We spent four days in the park and four days on the cruise line. To see the enthusiasm and excitement in our grand-children was just great, but nobody had a better time than I did. I'm 72 and I cannot wait to do it again."