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Baumhower calls ‘College GameDay’ segment ‘one of those memories I’m just not going to forget’

Updated: 6 days ago

By Mark Heim

From left, ESPN's Rece Davis, Aloha Hospitality President Spencer Baumhower, chef Zack Compton and ESPN's Pat McAfee on the set of "College GameDay"
From left, ESPN's Rece Davis, Aloha Hospitality President Spencer Baumhower, chef Zack Compton and ESPN's Pat McAfee on the set of "College GameDay" on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Tuscaloosa. (Photo courtesy of Spencer Baumhower.)

On a sunny Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Bob Baumhower’s successes in life came together at the epicenter of the college football world.


For Baumhower, his legendary playing days at Alabama and his culinary empire blended together for the perfect day at the Capstone. It was there, in front of friends and family, he and the 1973 team were honored but only after he and his Victory Grill team were showcased as the ultimate food fest to a college football audience hungry for kickoff.


Baumhower, along with (President of Aloha Hospitality) Spencer Baumhower and chefs Zack Compton and Steve Zucker, presented ESPN’s “College GameDay” crew of Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee and Rece Davis a feast only suitable for the best of college football tailgates. Like all great players - before and after him – he credited his team.


“The biggest thrill for me being around that again, it had been a lot of years, is watching the guys Spencer, Steve and Zach work so hard to get it done,” Bob Baumhower told AL.com. “They just did a fantastic job. It was so much fun on ‘GameDay.’ It was just a joy. It was one of those memories I’m just not going to forget.”


So how did it all come about?


Spencer Baumhower, whose unofficial title in “Legendary Wing Man,” said they got a phone call the week of the show. They got to it, putting together a menu to present.


The feast included fire-roasted parmesan wings, Spencer’s gooey-fries, Char-Grilled Black + White Chicken, Yardbird Gumbo, shrimp, Fried Banana Pudding Ala’bama and Anne Katherine’s Blackberry Cobbler.


“They loved it,” Spencer Baumhower told AL.com. “The fans were loving the wings and the gooey fries. Those are items hard not to love. As soon as we got up there, Pat grabbed the wings first. He said something along the lines of ‘these are the best damn wings I’ve ever had.’ …


“They loved the food. The operational crew for ‘GameDay,’ they are very serious about the food segment, and they were saying this is some of the best food they have had all year.”

Howard dug into the blackberry cobbler and fried banana pudding, while Herbstreit was “fighting Pat for the wings,” Spencer Baumhower said.


“They actually made us leave them there,” he explained. “Usually, you take the food and take it back, but they told us to leave the wings and gooey fries, and Yardbird Gumbo. They cleaned their plates that’s for sure.”


The prep work started early Saturday morning.


“We had to transport our own fryer to fry on site,” Spencer Baumhower said. “They provide a Traeger grill. We grabbed one of our catering vans. We loaded it up. The team got on site around 6:30 a.m. to get going.”


The feedback was plentiful and immediate. Spencer Baumhower said his phone blew up. The official Baumhower social media accounts were tagged, and news of the event was shared.


Pat McAfee had an opinion about Baumhower's wings during "College GameDay" on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Tuscaloosa.


“All of us watch ‘GameDay’ from time to time,” Bob Baumhower said. “It’s fun to watch those guys do their stuff. I’ve been a Rece fan for a long time. He went to Alabama. He does a great job, so does the whole crew.”


In fact, “GameDay” representatives for McAfee ran by Victory Grill to place to-go orders from for the plane ride home, according to Spencer Baumhower.


Both Bob, who drafted by the Dolphins with the 40th overall pick in the 1977 NFL draft and went on to five Pro Bowls, and Spencer Baumhower compared an appearance on “GameDay” to hitting the field prior for a big game.


“Dad and I were actually talking about it,” Spencer Baumhower said. “You get in this zone. Your adrenaline is pumping with the fans there. You’re just trying not to drop the wings.

“It was definitely an experience. It’s like running out on the field before a game. People were screaming gooey. It was pretty surreal. It was fun.”


Bob Baumhower, who said he was a “lowly” freshman on the 1973 team, put the weekend in perspective as one he will not soon forget.


“Seeing all those folks from back in the day,” he said, “Richard Todd was there. Some of my buddies were there. It was just a joyful weekend. My kids were up. Leslie was there. It was just a wonderful time.”


Bob Baumhower has no plans of slowing down. He opened a Victory Grill in Troy in August, and the company is just weeks away from the opening of a Victory Grill in Foley, Alabama.

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