For college football’s top two coaches, Boca Grande offers something even better than its elite fishing and Florida sunshine: unadulterated privacy.
Every Fourth of July, the citizens of Boca Grande, Fla., organize a golf cart parade. They decorate their carts with patriotic banners, flags and balloons, and the procession snakes its way through town. Some people bring speakers and blare music; others toss candy to the crowd of people lining the streets, cheering them on.
Last year, the Boca Beacon, the local newspaper, reported that about 120 golf carts participated in the parade. The paper ran a spread inside, on page 16, which included 10 pictures from the event. Buried in the lower-right corner, above an advertisement for a local plumber, was a picture of a man and his wife, smiling as they rode along in their cart. The woman wore a red-white-and-blue lei, and the man wore a furry hat and appeared to be holding a horn of some sort. They looked like any other couple in the parade. The newspaper made no mention that the man was the head coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney.
One local woman thought she might have spotted Alabama coach Nick Saban along the parade route, too, cheering people on. If he were there, the newspaper made no mention of him, either.
In Swinney’s case, the Beacon’s editor, Marcy Shortuse, actually made a conscious decision not to identify him. She didn’t feel as though it were necessary. “It’s like, you see them in the grocery store,” Shortuse says. “You don’t see Nick as much as you see Dabo, but they’re around. They’re always around.”