The children and grandchildren of Tommy Lewis thinks Harvey Updyke is too full of s**t.
“For Updyke to compare his passion for Alabama to Tommy Lewis’s is heartbreaking to us,” wrote Kathy Lewis McCool, Lewis’ daughter, in a letter to the editor published last week in the Opelika-Auburn News.
Lewis, who played for the Crimson Tide in the 1950s, is best known for his off-the-bench tackle of Rice’s Dickey Moegle in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. Lewis said he couldn’t believe what he had done, but that he couldn’t help it— “I’m just too full of Bama.”
Updyke regularly uses the same language to explain his maybe-I-did poisoning of the Toomer’s oaks, and in ESPN’s new documentary on the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, he specifically cites Lewis as a kindred spirit.
Now the Lewis family is spiritually disowning him.
“Dad had an abundance of beloved Auburn friends,” McCool writes. “He had great respect for coach Shug Jordan and admonished us every season to “pull for Auburn when they are not playing us. Always be proud of your state schools.'”
“He was a stranger to the bitterness the rivalry has taken on in recent years, and would have been puzzled and disappointed by it. Updyke’s hateful act perpetrated upon Auburn’s proud old oaks at Toomer’s Corner would have appalled him, as it has stunned and horrified us all — Auburn and Alabama supporters alike.”
McCool says the family has no ill will toward Updyke and hope for “his continued healing and rehabilitation.”
“But mostly, we hope for the health of the beautiful oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Dad has long since lost his memory and lives in a nursing home, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, he would be the first to fight for those storied oaks at our proud state school — Auburn University.”
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