Gus Malzahn got a 1.5 million dollar raise and a contract extension yesterday. But he still doesn’t have his visor, at least not the one he wore at the Iron Bowl.
However Debbie Hart, mother of 15-year-old Hayden Hart, who admitted to and apologized for taking the hat in an email to TWER after his mother showed him a video that had captured the daring act, says it isn’t for lack of trying.
“He emailed his letter of apology”—he wrote it Monday after getting home from school, she says—”to Coach Malzahn and copied (Auburn Athletic Director) Jay Jacobs as well,” Hart says. “He got both email addresses from the Athletic Department website and they weren’t kicked back so I assumed they went ‘somewhere.'”
Yet when asked on his Thursday night radio show if he had heard from the person who took the hat, Malzahn replied “No. Somebody took that hat, but, hey, everybody was excited. That’s part of it.”
“My guess is it isn’t a big deal and they’ve been focusing on much bigger issues this week,” Hart says.
However, for the Harts, it’s been a far bigger week than they could have imagined, and they’re kind of ready for it to be over, for Hayden’s 15 minutes to be up. In other words they just want to give the hat back.
But unless they drive to Atlanta, and Hayden rushes the field before kickoff and places it back on Malzahn’s head, the visor he’ll be wearing during the SEC Championship Game will not be the visor he wore during the greatest football game ever, which is of course why Hayden wanted it in the first place. He’s really big into souvenirs, the one of a kind kind.
His prized acquisitions include a wristband that Nick Marshall wore during this year’s Georgia game (possibly on the hand that launched The Miracle) and one of Mike Dyer’s gloves. Those were given to him. The visor wasn’t.
After TWER put him in touch with ESPN, Hayden told the World Wide Leader that he had assumed Malzahn would eventually hurl the hat into the crowd of fans that swarmed the coach in the aftermath of the Iron Bowl—he says the same thing happened after the Georgia game—and that he took the hat just to make sure he was the person who wound up with it.
“This has been such a regrettable event in Hayden’s young life,” Hart says. “I’m afraid this visor has come to represent something totally different than a victory over the Crimson Tide or winning the SEC Division Championship. Just an acknowledgement of his apology from the coach would mean so much more than having the visor.
“Hayden was thinking they might want it back to keep it for their own memorabilia,” Hart says. “Or so that they could donate it for a charity auction. As soon as they tell us where to send it, it’ll be done.”
Related: Shug Jordan’s houndstooth hat is prized possession of former Auburn coed who caught it after ’69 Iron Bowl, claims it predates Bear’s.
More OMG Iron Bowl:
* Amazing girl lip synchs Rod Bramblett’s amazing Iron Bowl call
* Congrats, Auburn fans—you survived an earthquake
* Cremated remains found in Jordan-Hare Stadium after Iron Bowl
* Cam Newton ‘War Eagles’ throughout his post-game press conference Sunday after Iron Bowl
* New York Post: Iron Bowl ending ‘greatest in the history of sports’
* Pensacola bridge completely covered in Auburn graffiti after Iron Bowl
* Highlights, Iron Bowl, Highlights
* Watch Rod Bramblett, Stan White and the Auburn radio broadcast booth react to the final play
* Hear Rod and Eli back to back
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Debbie, if you were famous and someone stole your hat would you feel you owed them a personal, autographed letter in exchange for returning the stolen hat? You have the address; you sent them a letter to it. Mail the hat back quietly and humbly, and try to teach your child he is not entitled to a special autographed letter just because he stole something.