Okay, this is one of the slowest sports Saturdays of the year. The weather is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. Go out and do stuff! But first, read this incredible Dave Matter piece on Tony VanZant, who now coaches on the field that tore up his knee.
Every practice, every home game, VanZant would be back at Reed Stadium. He hadn’t been there since the all-star game.
"We’re sitting around talking, and (Jones) goes, ‘What are you looking at it?’ " VanZant said. "I said, ‘Man, that’s the field where I got hurt.’ Mike just dropped his head and said, ‘Are you kidding?’" […]
At some point during his time in Columbia, VanZant was in a grocery store and had what he described as a life-changing experience. An older man who never identified himself recognized VanZant.
"He said, ‘It happened for a reason,’" he said. "I didn’t understand what he was saying at the time because I was frustrated, just down and out. He said, ‘Maybe it’s not meant for you to play. … Maybe the Lord has something better for you to do.’"
VanZant never asked the man his name. He never saw him again. He never forgot his message.
"I went back home and got in that stage (of depression) again," he said. "But all I could hear was that man talking. It snapped me out of it. I started thinking about coaching. It got me going."
As the Blue Tigers prepare for their third season under Jones and his staff — they’ve gone 2-20 the last two years — VanZant believes he’s found his calling as a college coach. He’s a tireless recruiter, Frenchers said. Recruits don’t remember his time at Mizzou, but most recognize his name, especially in St. Louis.
"No one’s seen me since I’ve left," he said. "Some people say, ‘I thought you were dead.’"
And speaking of knees ... congrats to Laurence Bowers.