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Jackson, Orgel team up to fight ALS
Feb. 23, 2016

By Jeff Shearer

Auburn Heisman winner Bo Jackson and former Tigers defensive coordinator Frank Orgel will share the stage Wednesday at the second annual Changing the Game ALS Association of Alabama event in Birmingham.

Jackson and Orgel go back 35 years, when Bo played for the Tigers and Orgel was Pat Dye's defensive coordinator.

At Wednesday's event at The Club, Orgel, who was diagnosed with ALS a decade ago, will interview Jackson onstage, with the longtime friends sharing stories about football, hunting and whatever else comes up.

One of Orgel's first memories of Jackson occurred when Bo was a senior at McAdory High School in the spring of 1982.

"McAdory didn't have a track team. They didn't even have a track. The track team was Bo Jackson. He was the only track member they had. And he went to the state track meet in the decathlon," Orgel recalls.

"They did the whole decathlon. Bo did all the field events and jumped, high jump, triple jump and threw the javelin and the shot. In every one, he was first. He ran the 100 in 9.3 or 9.4. You get so many points for the time that you run.

"He hated the mile run. That was the last event, the mile run. His track coach was there close to us. Bo came over to the coach. He didn't want to run the mile. He said, "Have I got enough points to win without it?' He figured up all the points. He had more points than had ever been scored at that time, even in the Olympics.

"He was so far ahead, the first three guys who won the mile couldn't have caught him with their scores. So he didn't run the mile, the last event," Orgel says. "And the next day, he pitched, I think Bobby (Wallace, then Auburn assistant coach) told me, he pitched a one-hitter the next day in baseball. So that's just a typical day for Bo."

Orgel also remembers a quail hunting excursion near Albany, Georgia, during which Bo did not miss a shot.

"It's amazing, his hand-eye control. It's typical Bo Jackson, because every sport he's ever tried, he's been really good at it. Whether it be tennis or golf, hunting or fishing. It just seems to come easy to him," Orgel says.

"He's one of the most amazing people I've ever been around. But I'm going to tell you one thing about Bo Jackson. He's a better person than he is in football, fishing, hunting. Anything in athletics doesn't compare with the type of person he is."

Last year, Orgel and former Alabama football player Kevin Turner received the Spirit of Lou Gehrig Awards for their courageous fights against ALS.

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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