|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
Auburn fan Hayden Hart just wanted another souvenir. So when the 15-year-old was on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday and saw Gus Malzahn nearby, he figured he'd grab the Tigers coach's visor.
|Auburn coach Gus Malzahn had the visor swiped off his head after fans swarmed the field following the Tigers' dramatic victory over No. 1 Alabama.|
"It was a spur of the moment thing," Hart, a high school freshman from Perry, Ga., said Tuesday. "I reached to get it. It was a pretty epic item to get from the game. He was wearing that when the 109-yard return was made."
That return, by Auburn senior Chris Davis, toppled two-time defending national champion and No. 1 Alabama and changed the BCS landscape.
Davis fielded the ball not far from where Hart, his mother and other family members and friends were sitting, then made his memorable sprint down the field into Iron Bowl history.
Hart, who reached over a state trooper to grab the visor from Malzahn's head, said he did it because he figured Malzahn would throw the visor into the stands, which Hart said the coach did after the Tigers beat Georgia two weeks earlier.
Thanks to tickets in the front row behind the south end zone, Hart is in good position to receive objects from players after games. He has a wristband from quarterback Nick Marshall, and his favorite item is a glove from running back Michael Dyer from 2010, when Auburn won the BCS championship.
Those items, however, were given to Hart. Which is why, on Sunday, he felt remorse for snatching the visor off Malzahn's head.
"I was thinking I shouldn't have done it," Hart said.
Less than 24 hours later, video of Hart taking the visor was on the Internet. An Auburn fan site, The War Eagle Reader, posted the video and wondered who took the visor. Hayden's mom saw the post and sent it to her son.
"He was writing a letter when I got home the next day," Debbie Hart said. "He knew he shouldn't have taken it and he wants to get it back to Gus."
Hart emailed the website asking for help in returning the visor to Malzahn. He wrote directly to Malzahn in his email.
"Taking it right off your head was unbelievably rude," Hart wrote. "I should have asked for your visor or at least stayed a moment to see if it was OK. Anyway, I'm sorry for abducting your lucky visor and would like to return it."
No word yet from the Auburn athletic department or Malzahn on whether the coach accepts the apology or wants the visor returned.
Hart is hoping to get a chance to go to the SEC title game in Atlanta with family or friends and said he could return it to Malzahn there. He'd be happy to ship the visor, as well.
"I took it and I know I shouldn't have," Hart said.