Flurry to be honored Saturday

Published 12:01 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

NATCHEZ — Members of LSU’s 1961 SEC Championship team will gather in Baton Rouge Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tigers’ title.

One of those former Tigers will head to Baton Rouge from Natchez, where he currently resides.

Bob Flurry was a three-year letterman for the Bayou Bengals from 1960 to 1962. He was born and raised in Baker, La. but has lived in Natchez since 2000.

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Flurry and his teammates will take the field Saturday morning, along with the 1986 SEC Championship team, to be recognized by the fans in Tiger Stadium.

“Saturday we are going to get up early and be introduced prior to the game,” Flurry said. “I’m going to go out on the field and pick a little grass and see what it tastes like.”

Flurry said the experience would be different from his playing days, because he will actually take the time to recognize the huge crowd.

“The first time I played down there I got so preoccupied with what I was doing, I kind of disregarded the fans,” he said. “You have a lot of ‘rah, rah’ going on on the field now-a-days when they ought to be paying attention to what they are doing. I’m just not a ‘rah, rah’ guy, so it will be fun to do that and see the people.”

Flurry went to LSU as a quarterback, but head coach Paul Dietzel decided to move him to cornerback and tight end, Flurry said.

“I was a much better defensive guy than a quarterback,” he said. “I was really a guy that could play (quarterback) today, because I could throw, but I had no speed. Coach Dietzel asked me if I could try out other positions.”

Years later Dietzel questioned Flurry on whether the position change bothered him, he said.

“When we had (the anniversary) 25 years ago Coach Dietzel asked me, ‘will you ever forgive me for not playing you at quarterback?’

“I said, ‘Coach when I went to LSU, I wanted a college education. Football was important but not that important. I was just glad to get a good education.’”

Flurry did rack up some wins as a member of the LSU football team while he received his accounting degree, however. LSU went 24-6-2 from ’60 to ’62, and finished in the AP top 10 in ’61 and ’62.

“Playing Colorado in the Orange Bowl in January 1962 (was a highlight),” he said. “That was the first bowl game we went to. It was in Miami. I guess that’s one of the things about football, you get to travel places you never would have seen.”

LSU defeated Colorado 25-7 in the Orange Bowl in Dietzel’s final game.

After Flurry’s playing career, he became a CPA, and he worked in the financial field throughout his career. He is still active with Delta Bank in Vidalia.

It was work that brought Flurry to Natchez. He interviewed with Richard Campbell in the 1970s, and became Campbell’s chief financial officer for more than 20 years in his oil and gas business, Flurry said.

When Campbell became involved in the banking industry, Flurry became the president of Louisiana Central Bank, which preceded Delta Bank, he said.

Flurry stayed in Natchez until 1988 when his first wife died. Flurry would remarry before leaving Natchez to become president of a bank in Shreveport.

Years later Flurry and his wife Judy, from Woodville, decided they would retire back to Natchez, and did so in 2000.

“When I was ready to retire I decided I always liked Natchez,” he said. “My wife is from this area, and her sisters and family are here, and I had a lot of friends here.”

Looking back on his college career is something that Flurry enjoys, but he said he would not want to play for the Tigers now.

“It’s been fun, but I wouldn’t want to do it again. I couldn’t play with these guys,” he said.

Flurry said he likes what he sees from the 2011 Tigers.

“I’ve been surprised,” he said. “I really like this team. I think the defense is outstanding, and the offense is coming around too.”

The 1961 Tigers finished their season 10-1, and shared the SEC title with Alabama.