Councilman finishes Utah sideline career
Dec 08, 2016 03:48PM
● By Greg James
West Valley City Councilman Steve Vincent and his family celebrate the final game of his career on the Utah football sidelines. (Greg James/City Journals)
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By Greg James | [email protected]
The 46 year Utah football sideline crew career of West Valley City Councilman Steve Vincent came to an end on Saturday Oct. 29 in a Utes loss to Washington. Vincent finished what has been a legacy part of his family.
“It is sort of bittersweet, not by my choice but the group has decided to get younger people in here to help out. It has always been a big part of my family starting with my dad and even my sons. I will always cherish the memories I have had,” said Vincent. “I think one of things I will certainly miss will be the national anthem. I always stood around the 50-yard line and the drum roll would start and it always gives me chills.”
Starting in 1970 Vincent began roaming the sidelines with his father. He shagged balls and hung out with his dad. His senior year in high school he began working with the chain crew. His initial job was the clip to mark the yardline. He eventually began working on the opponent’s sideline to mark the ball location.
“The quality of the teams that come in has dramatically increased. It has been fun to see the national brand of these coaches like Jim Harbaugh. I like to see how they handle their teams. I can tell the difference with these Pac-12 teams,” Vincent said.
His payment started as a hot dog at halftime and has evolved to Chick-fil-A. Vincent said there has never been a glamorous check.
The facility and game day atmosphere has changed in his time on the sideline. In the beginning Rice-Eccles Stadium had a track around the field and fans could walk around the field during the game. The 15,000-20,000 fans pales in comparison to today’s 45,000 screaming fans and the large video board and incredible sound system.
Vincent has seen five consensus all-Americans: Tom Hackett, Luther Eliss, Jordan Gross, Louie Sakoda and Eric Weddle. The Utes have compiled 308 wins 237 losses and three ties since 1970. The team’s leading passer during that time was Scott Mitchell and the leading rusher is Eddie Johnson.
“I do not interact with the players much. I remember Scott Mitchell throwing for more than 400 yards against BYU and how nice Coach (Ron) McBride was to my family,” Vincent said.
Being a Utah fan is in the genes for the Vincent family. He still holds two season tickets and his three boys (Anthony, Spencer and Michael) and one daughter (Analeese) take turns attending the games.
“The Oregon game a couple of years ago is one I will remember. The crowd was amazing and it was electric. Air Force was always one of my favorite teams. The players were always polite and well mannered. My least favorite part is the language that some of those guys get away with,” Vincent said.
Working on the westside since the mid 1980s he interacted more with the opposing teams, but Vincent remembers the fiery Wayne Howard yelling constantly. He was on the sideline with eight Utah head coaches: Howard, Chuck Stobart, Jim Fassel, Bill Meek, Tom Lovat, Ron McBride, Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham.
“I always liked to see the Hunter High kids like Matt Asiata, kids that went to school with my kids. I will miss it for sure; but I will always cheer for the Utes,” Vincent said.